Friday, July 2, 2010


I will be leaving this blog in its original state for people to read about Neala and our experience with PRAA. I am simply heartbroken over all of this and appreciate all of your support.

After much thought, I have decided to send a letter to the vet hospital about her care. There is one key thing that should not have happened and I feel inevitably led to her death- and that was feeding her a rather solid wet canned food immediately after this delicate surgery. Since her breathing was not compromised before the surgery, it is evident this compaction of food in her esophagus that led to her death occured while at the Center. This compaction of food probably would have been avoided if they had fed her the appropriate Science Diet A/D, watered down, versus regular Science Diet Kitten Food. I cannot allow this mistake to happen again to someone else's baby further down the road.

Here is the follow-up blog to Gotta Have Faith...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

At the Bridge

"Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,

I am the the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there, I did not die."

At 2:17 AM this morning, I received a call from the Veterinarian Surgical Center of Utah. I knew it was bad before I answered the phone because you don't receive pre-dawn phone calls for no apparent reason.

The tech said quickly in hushed tones that Neala's breathing had worsened and they were trying to intubate her, but they were having a difficult time doing so. As she spoke, I think the situation changed for she said they were beginning CPR on Neala.

She asked if I could drive down there immediately and I did.

Neala was gone before I arrived... Her tiny body simply could take no more. They tried CPR, but her heart would not restart. She was ready to go to the Rainbow Bridge and like any other tortie, she decided when she was ready and she did it.

There are a million things I could say... Out of all of the outpouring of support, it is still a uniquely singular feeling to lose a pet you have loved. I was all alone in that room, the room we had visited Neala in before, holding her and rocking her, our little baby girl.

I asked on my drive back to the hotel why didn't we get any miracles? Why couldn't we simply get a miracle?

And yet, the answer came to me- we did. Neala and I had you. All of you.

From Amanda, Coury, and Szandora, to the Jacki, to Sammi, who talked to me incessantly on my cell phone as I held her tiny body and rocked, to the Catblogosphere who enveloped Neala, no questions asked, from the moment they read of her plight. To the people who volunteered their money for her surgery, to the people who volunteered their time looking for surgeons, to the people who sent us their love and prayers. We had our miracle- and it was found it all of you.

For you, the unknown people, to wrap Neala, not a stray found on the streets, but a baby Sphynx born into my hands, into your hearts- for you to wrap her into your lives as all of you have done- that was our miracle.

Thank you, from me, and from my little angel... Thank you all.

What can we ask of you in this time of need? Remember the symptoms of Persistent Right Aortic Arch, for those who breed- remember, these are lives we chose to bring into this world and we are responsible for them.

To my Neala... My little spunky, funny, sweet girl... Thank you for giving me the gift of your purr. Thank you for touching so many hearts. Thank you, sweet little girl, for reminding us all to continue to fight the good fight for all animals on this earth.

"Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there. I did not die."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Post-post Surgery Evening Update

We went up to visit tonight- didn't get a good photo since it was just me and the crazy four year old (who did get a nice picture of my butt and my legs, but not of the kitten!).

Neala's temp is GOOD as of right now. It is 101.5 or so, which is normal for a cat. They took her off of the external heating system about half an hour before I visited. She FELT normal, which is so much more important to me. You can feel when a Sphynx is doing very badly- they feel cool and abnormal once you are used to the warmth of their skin.

The staff was very sweet- they mentioned that she looks completely different from last night. She is much quieter tonight then she was last night, but that is because she's struggling to breathe due to that food sitting on her lungs. The vet who saw her today tried to pass a tube down her esophagus to draw some of it off of her lungs, but she was not interested in allowing this to happen. Poor girl- it would have relieved so much of that labored breathing, I am sure!
To ensure people understand- the kitten food was IN her esophagus, but it had formed into a pocket that was then pushing into her lungs, making it hard to breathe. She did not have kitten food in her lungs- her esophagus had ballooned out from the kitten food and was taking up space her lungs needed to fill with air.

She just cuddled, for the most part. She doesn't have the energy to do anything else.

But she's fighting this- she wants to go home safe and sound as much as we want her to...

Update tomorrow morning- promise!

Evening Update

I may go in to see her once the younger kids are sleeping...

Her temp is up to 99 degrees- that is wonderful since it was 97.5 earlier! They are still giving her fluids- they seem to be helping.

She just vomitted a decent amount of food. As horrible as that sounds, that too may be a good thing because she may have just moved that lodged food off of her lungs, at least some of it.

The surgeon who did her PRAA surgery is going to insert the feeding tube in the morning. There was a reason given for this, but heck if I can remember it now.

Just to make sure everyone understands- the staff at this hospital has been wonderful. The surgeon did a kickbutt job at fixing her PRAA and she did survive the surgery and the initial recovery. I DO question them feeding her the wrong food last night- mistakes do happen, but they shouldn't happen at this level of hospitalization.

Will keep you posted!

Updated AGAIN

Neala's temperature has crashed even further, so the vet took new xrays. It showed a sack of food, basically, over the PRAA 'fix' which is pushing into her lungs, which explains why her breathing looked labored to me.

They are going to put her on IV fluids asap as well as insert a feeding tube directly so she can be fed that way.

I am sad and mad and afraid, all bundled into one. I wonder if the techs feeding her regular wet kitten food, without any water, caused this. I don't know how much more this is going to cost- I thought we would break even- but it doesn't look possible. Even moreso- I was told my kitten SURVIVED surgery and now what???

I am very upset. And worried.

Checked Out... Checked In...

I'm near my breaking point, so don't mind me...

Today started great. We got up around 8 AM, called the vet hospital and we were told Neala is doing great- can we pick her up at 10 AM? No problem!

We eat breakfast, we pack up the hotel room, pack up the car. We almost checked out, but I wanted to be able to come back if needed- for whatever reason, so we didn't.

We drove down to the vet and waited for Neala. The vet tech that was checking her out said that they were feeding her kitten food, without watering it down, and she was still vomitting some of it up, but that was to be expected. I asked if she wasn't receiving Science Diet A/D and pointed out that everything I have read said it needed to be watered down to allow the esophagus to heal. The tech said that nope, they were giving her the SD Kitten and it wasn't being watered down.

I chalked it up to different opinions and took Neala and got in the car.

The moment I put my hand in her carrier to check on her, I began to worry. She felt COOL to me. Sphynxes should NEVER feel COOL to the touch. This is a very warm breed of cat. They should feel like a warm water bottle.

I was also shocked that she looked like a skeleton- I thought while on the IV and while being fed that she would at least maintain the weight she came in with, but I chalked it up to major surgery and figured things would be okay.

We went back to the hotel room since the tech said it was time for her to eat and I put her on my heating pad and fixed up Science Diet, A/D, with water mixed in. She came out and ate a little, but she just looked... bad. Her breathing seemed labored- to ME- she was open mouthed breathing from time to time.

I hate to say this, but I have seen kittens die and to me, she looked like a kitten that was going to die.

I called MY vet to ask if this was normal- my vet said no, call the surgical center. I called the surgical center and they said to bring her back in.

So we rushed her back in and I sat in the waiting room... And waited... And waited...

I will cut through the suspense for you- basically, her body temperature is 97.5 degrees. The vet did not think that was too low- I do. I've owned this breed for over five years now. Normal body temperature for a cat seems to be between 99 degrees and 101.5 degrees. So this WAS a low temperature in a VERY small kitten.

I mentioned that she was being fed SD Kitten and wasn't keeping it down- the vet said she should be receiving A/D. I told him she wasn't- per the tech- and per the open can of food they sent home with me. So then I asked for her glucose to be checked- it was a little high, but the vet did not seem concerned.

I asked about her labored breathing- he said he didn't think it was labored, but that the open mouthed breathing was probably due to basically heart burn from the esophagus being enflamed.

I asked what he would do if she was his kitten- he said he'd err on the side of caution and leave her overnight.

Bottom line- Neala was checked out and then she was checked right back in. We are leaving her there until tomorrow morning. She sounds stable, but not stable enough for ME to make a 7 hour drive with her.

So I worry... I KNOW this is major surgery and I'm sure if I was just bringing her straight home and keeping her warm, I might not be so paranoid, but I am. Oh, I am.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Post Op Update

We went to visit Neala after dinner tonight... The staff at this surgical center is wonderful and I can tell Neala already has them wrapped around her little naked paw.

I think I'm back to being nervous again. After the surgery, I started feeling light hearted and like she was definitely going to be okay, but then after seeing her, I'm back to being nervous. I don't know what I expected- she just had major surgery and who of us has had major surgery and looked wonderful six hours later?

The staff must have great faith in her since they let us see her in the 'visiting room' versus bringing us back into the ICU. She was wrapped in a blankie, but I pushed it aside to snap this photo really quick.

She was purring constantly and I'm sure it was a combination of nerves, pain, and 'take me home!'. I was told that everytime a staff member comes within 10 feet of the cage, she is up and crying, "Come see me! Come see me!" So she is getting plenty of attention.

I'm glad I saw pictures of other Sphynx who have had this surgery before Neala had hers. Yes, you heard me right- two Sphynx in Holland needed this exact same surgery THIS year. Which makes me think it may be something within the breed that we just haven't realized yet- maybe babies pass away before it's diagnosed, maybe we mislabel it and never realize the situation for what it is. I just cannot believe three kittens of the same breed in the same year have had this condition and yet it is so 'rare'. We just haven't connected the dots yet, I think.

Anyways, those pictures made me prepared for the sutures. They look horrendous, I know! She also had a tiny IV in her front paw, but that's all I saw because I was trying to keep her as bundled and warm as I could.

She seemed to get cool too fast, so I sent her back to her nice warmed cage and heating pad...

Now just have to make it through the night and see how she is tomorrow.