Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Never Know when You'll Need it...

Fair warning, this post is super long, I'm sorry in advance for it, but I felt the story that goes with it is so important that it had to be, so I'm sharing this extremely valuable link today in the hopes that it will help you as much as it did me. I'm also going to include it at the top of my blog for easy access. 

The SPCA offers a very helpful website for pet owners to go to and find out what plants are toxic for their pets. Please, if you have pets, keep it handy. This site saved Nibbler's life last summer, and it makes me shudder to think what could have happened if I wasn't aware of it.

One of my facebook friends posted the link on her wall a few months prior to me needing it, and I remember saving it as a just in case. I noticed one of the toxic plants for cats was lilies, which I had in my front garden. I never thought much about it because Nibs and Squish don't go outside unsupervised so I figured having it in my garden wasn't a big deal.

Last July I brought Nibbler outside with me, he loves being out in the sun and normally just follows me around chewing on the grass as we walk around. I decided to pluck the pollen off my Stargazer Lillies in my garden because I heard doing that would make them last longer. As usual, Nibbler was next to me just chilling in the garden, helpfully eating the grass I needed to weed out. I turned away for a moment and when I looked down Nibbler had taken a bite out of one of the lily leaves. I scooped him up right away and tried to take the leaf out of his mouth but he had swallowed it. I took him back inside and vaguely remembered seeing lilies on the website so I pulled it up again and saw it on there. I called the poison hot line that the SPCA has set up for situations like this and was told to get him to the hospital, NOW.

I took him to the local emergency vet and they took him back right away and I sat in the waiting room with Dave fearing the worst. If you aren't already aware of my insane love for my cats, Nibbler is my heart and soul. He is the first thing I see in the morning, the first one to greet me with his soft purr and cuddles, my day doesn't start without him. We fall asleep curled up into each other, my day doesn't end without him. And in between? We are inseparable, if I'm home and he isn't dozing on Dave's lap, he's with me, following me around. What if I just lost one of the few things in this world that I have a connection to? Terrible thoughts kept racing through my head: this was all my fault; if I had been paying attention...; if only I had made him get out of the garden; what am I going to tell Squishee if we lose Nibbler?

About an hour later the vet came out and told us that they gave Nibbler some charcoal and made him throw up the leaf but that we weren't out of the woods yet because the toxin from the lily plant could already be coursing through his body and shutting down his liver. She told us they had  to keep him for three days and take daily blood tests. She said we had a 50/50 shot of Nibbler being ok but that if he wasn't we would have to decide between getting him very expensive dialysis, which only has a 50% shot of working or putting him down. It was one of the absolute worst moments of my life. I would lose everything, my house, my car, my job, EVERYTHING, to save Nibbler if I had to.

We had to go home without our Nibsy and there was a hole in my heart. I felt so empty and lifeless. I cried everyday, all day. When I was home Squish could tell something was up, he wouldn't leave my side. Dave and I went to the vet everyday and sat with Nibbler in one of the rooms for a few hours. Nibbler would just lay there sleeping on my lap or cuddling with Dave. You could tell he wanted to go home but he was being strong for us, he was so calm when he was there. He wasn't jumpy or jittery, like he normally is, he would just lay there and melt himself into our arms while we were there.

On the third day they gave us the good news, Nibs would be ok, all his tests came back good and we could take him home. First thing we did when we brought him home was give him a bath to get all the charcoal off of him (thank God he doesn't mind water). He wasn't happy but was super quiet the whole time. About an hour after we had him out of the bath he walked up to Dave and I and just dropped on his side (he does that as a greeting, it's kinda like the fainting goats), rolled on his back and purred. It was the best sound I ever heard in my life. I will never forget that moment or the sweet melody of his purr. It filled the emptiness in my soul that was caused by this whole mess and made me feel like everything was really going to be ok.

The vet told us that it was the quickness of getting Nibbler to the hospital that saved him. She said if we had waited any longer than an hour or two we probably would have lost him.

Timing is everything

I hope you'll never need to use the link, but keep it handy for just in case.

He is my North, my South, my East, my West; my working week, my Sunday rest