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More Waiting

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Continued directly from previous post…

Monday arrived. We woke up early to call around and find a vet that would be able to help Nando. The lack of insurance made the process very difficult. It is uncommon for vets to offer payment plans, and our lack of knowledge surrounding what precisely was wrong with Nando, possible management plans, and costs involved made the process incredibly stressful.

Finally we found the perfect vet. It was a long and arduous search. Even after making the initial call to this veterinary centre, the wait continued. I am not sure of how much the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to our difficulties in being able to find a vet that was willing to operate on Nando, but I do hope that in normal circumstances it is not so difficult.

We had to wait for a call back whilst they established whether our description of Nando’s injuries demanded urgent care and we would be eligible for their services. Unfortunately another day of waiting went by. Eventually we received a call back confirming that Nando would be able to be brought in that afternoon for an initial consultation.

The relief was huge, and my partner left work immediately to come home and drive us to the vet. On arrival, the Lockdown restrictions meant we had to wait outside and call to announce our arrival. The vet came to get Nando and we waited in the car for her return.

Note

I again wanted to take a moment to stress that with hindsight, not having Nando insured was a huge lapse in judgement on my part. Since this event all three of my cats have been put on insurance plans. The current system does little to support pet owners who do not have their pets insured, and it can be a frightening situation.

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Nando, waiting, vet

Here is a photo of Nando, as she seemingly endlessly waited for treatment.

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The Vet who let Nando down

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Directly continued from previous post…

Calling the vet did nothing to put my mind at ease. I wanted to find out whether Nando would need any more pain relief. It was going to run out at 11pm Sunday evening and I wouldn’t be able to find a vet to perform any surgery she may need until Monday when they would be open. This left an unknown number of hours where Nando could potentially be in a lot of pain.

I also wanted to find out whether it was common practice to splint a broken leg as this was something that my research kept suggesting.

However the vet made me feel like I was overreacting. She said that I was putting my cat through unnneccessary pain by taking her into the vet and that if I really had her best interests at heart then I would just leave her be until I could find a vet that would be able to perform surgery. She then also said that most likely the cats leg wasn’t even broken which is why the vet didn’t splint it. She also made unnecesary comments about our lack of pet insurance and questioned our financial ability to look after her.

After this phone call I was very upset and frustrated.

I made Nando as comfortable as possible and we sat together waiting for Monday to arrive. Nando was so brave. She was obviously in pain and discomfort and struggled to eat, drink and use the toilet. But she tried hard. And after every trip to the toilet or her dish, she always returned to lay next to me, and still managed to purr every time I stroked her.

A note…

After this whole ordeal was over I did file a formal complaint against the vet as I do believe the clinic didn’t look after us very thoroughly, especially in contrast to the amazing care we were about to receive.

I felt like the phone call was rude and unprofesional to say the least. Nando should have been on constant pain relief and I shouldn’t have been made to feel bad for asking after this. It is not common practice to splint broken legs on cats, but asking whether it is doesn’t require a rude answer. Nothing was said or done to prepare us for an amputation. In fact Nando’s situation was downplayed with one member of staff claiming it probably “isn’t even broken”. The second vet we went to examined Nando’s leg and immediately prepared us for the fact that an amputation was most likely, before she had x-rayed, etc. She also put Nando on constant pain relief as she said this was a necessity.

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splint, pain, pain relief, vet

This is how Nando ‘slept’ whilst we waited to be able to take her to another vet. She only stayed in a very light sleep with her eyes never fully closed. Her third eyelid was almost always showing which research taught me is a common sign that cats aren’t feeling well.

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Broken Bones

Continued directly from previous post…

 

The vet knocked on the car window and we wound it down. Nando wasn’t with him. He cut straight to the point, telling us that her leg was broken and she needed surgery. He was certain of a tarsal fracture, and suspected additional breaks in her metatarsals. Apart from the administration of pain relief, he informed us that there was nothing else that could be done that night. Orthopaedic procedures aren’t classed as emergencies, so we would have to take Nando to our usual vet on Monday. It was Saturday night.

There was also no point in X-raying the leg as whoever carried out the surgery would take the same X-ray, meaning we would pay for the same scan twice.

After confirming we understood and were happy, the vet went back inside to give Nando the drugs. She received one opioid injection that was to last 6 hours, and one NSAID that was to last 24.

Nando’s leg was broken

At this point my mind was so busy it seemed blank, and I was at a loss. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that Nando’s leg was broken, and realised I had subconsciously been telling myself that I was overreacting. Now I had to tell myself something else: Okay. So Nando’s leg is broken. This isn’t a big deal, cats probably break their legs all the time. Monday will come, Nando will have surgery, and everything will go back to normal.

We paid, and the amount was justifiable. We had done the right thing. It was a good thing we didn’t wait till morning. Nando had been in a lot of pain, and now that pain was relieved.

When Nando returned to us, she was very still and sleepy. She didn’t seem awake for the entire journey.

When we arrived home, we set up our bedroom so that it would have all she needed. It was important to keep her separate from the other cats and limit her movements. We set Nando down in the room, and she was happy to be home. She settled down for an uneventful night, whilst I stayed awake, thoughts racing.

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A diagram depicting the bones of a cats leg to help show where Nando’s leg was broken

Here is a picture that I found on google, depicting the tarsals and metatarsals of a cat. I have included a video on instagram that shows Nando’s broken leg; it can be found in the ‘Blog: Nando’ highlight.

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The First Vet

continued directly from previous post…

Getting Nando into her carrier was relatively easy. To us, this was another sign that she needed to go to the vet. I don’t know anything about claustrophobia in cats but Nando passionately hates being confined. One of our theories is that she may have been kept against her will in a small space before she was re-homed. In the first few months since taking her home, she wouldn’t even go into the bathroom. For her not to fuss and fight about going into her carrier was definitely unusual.

The car ride to the vet was uneventful but still vivid in my memory. There was a weight on my mind that this was a huge overreaction, and we were about to spend £300 for nothing. But these thoughts were pacified by the realisation that it was a GOOD thing if this money was being paid for nothing – to hope that this wasn’t a waste of time and money would also be to hope that Nando needed emergency treatment. So I actually found myself praying that there was nothing wrong with Nando and I was about to part with money for no reason other than panic.

arrival

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, on arrival at the vet’s you stay in your car and call to announce your arrival. The vet  will then come and collect your pet to be taken inside and bring them out again when ready.

When I had passed Nando to the vet, the carrier had swung by his side as he walked back into the clinic; a sharp contrast to the protective and careful hold I had used when holding Nando had been my responsibility. At every bump in the road, Calvin had slowed as much as possible to prevent Nando being jolted.

But the vet wasn’t being careless, this was just us being over-protective, right?

I hated being parted from Nando. Unreasonable fears kept disturbing my mind. For example – what if the vet was causing further damage to Nando? What if he was being careless and hurting her unnecessarily? What if she really was fine when she went into the vet, but when she came out it was a different story? I am not suggesting that any of these things happened, simply highlighting how distressing the wait was and illustrating our anxiety. Nando’s life was in the hands of a stranger.

Another car pulled up to the clinic, and we watched them call in to announce their arrival. They were cradling the tiniest little puppy, bundled up in some blankets.

A few minutes later, the vet came back out.

This is a recent picture of Nando from before her accident.

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The first difficult decision

directly continued from previous  post…

 

It didn’t seem like an unusual cry – just a normal “I’m here, can you let me in now” sound; but there was still an urgency to answer the door. Perhaps because Nando had been gone for so long, or maybe it was intuition.

My partner, Calvin, jumped up and opened the door. And there was Nando. She slowly limped her way inside. It was so surreal. We were all just watching her. She had made it across the room and into her bed before anyone reacted. I think nobody knew what to do. Then she started squirming, unable to get comfortable, and crying. That’s when it really hit us that something bad had happened and it was time to act.

I can’t remember who said what. It was stated that Nando was hurt. What should we do? How bad do you think it is?

After numerous unsuccessful attempts to get comfortable, Nando got up again. We watched her try to walk. “Calvin we need to call the vet.”

I looked up the number of our usual vet on my phone and called it. Closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. An automated voice directed us to a local emergency clinic. Calvin called them and told the lady on the other end of the line what had happened. She agreed that we should bring Nando in and told us it would be a jaw-dropping £300 to see Nando out of hours. Excluding any further treatment Nando may need.

Calvin and I looked at each other. At that moment I felt so lost, I had no idea what to do – what was best for Nando? Were we overreacting? Is this an emergency? Can it wait till the morning when the prices may be more reasonable?

I heard Calvin call his mum, asking for her advice. She said to leave it till the morning. If Nando still isn’t putting any weight on it then go to the vet.

There was a thumping on the stairs and I looked to see Nando jumping up them, not putting any weight on her left back leg. When she finally got to the top, she let out a little cry and collapsed in a tiny heap. She looked so small and fragile. It reminded me of the day we brought her home from the shelter. Since then she had grown in health and personality, but today she was once again a small, precious little creature that needed rescuing.

“Call the vets back, we need to go.”

Calvin rushed to where I was, cradling and comforting Nanna. One look at her and he was back on the phone to the vet – yes the price is fine, yes we will be there before 11 pm. The first of many difficult decisions had been made.

This picture was taken before I met Nando. It was the one used on the Rescue website to advertise she was available to be rehomed. This was the first picture we ever saw of Nando, that made us fall in love with her.

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