Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Life Goes On. For Some.

My brother had a stroke Saturday.  His wife found him quickly and he went to a very good hospital.

They strung something up through a blood vessel and quickly broke up that clot.  However, he had another small stroke Sunday.  So they risked him bleeding and put him on high doses of heparin.  By yesterday he was talking like nothing happened.  However I am told his left side is weak and they didn't know yet if he could walk ok.  I still don't know on that, have not had an update today.

I am very relieved!  Two local people contacted me to say he survived because he lives in the city.  One person said her mother had a stroke and got no care really, except letting her die, at the local hospitals.  She thinks it may have been because she was upper middle aged and overweight.  I don't know if that is a factor on whether someone is given good care or not.  They thought she'd had a heart attack but she'd really had a stroke, the woman said.

Another person told me when her mother had a stroke, the local ER doctor said there was nothing they could do and walked out of the room.  Her mother survived but is severely disabled as a result of the stroke and requires constant care.   I don't know when these events happened or the circumstances or if local hospitals have since upgraded equipment and expert staff since then.

 But maybe it matters a whole lot where you live when you have your stroke.  That's scary.

But I'm really happy about my brother doing better.  Just so relieved!

And then there are the Albany business cats Rogue and Cougie.

They both have bad teeth.  I'm hoping they each just have a couple of bad teeth, but since they are related and from the same lousy place,  that darn business that dumped them on me, and relatively young, they may have genetic allergies to their own teeth, which would mean they all would need pulled.

They are feral, which complicates matters.

Today I called around, pricing dentals with extractions.  I asked for the bare bones, anesthesia and pulling any tooth that needed pulled.  Prices were unbelievable.   Basic prices from a couple of clinics were $200 to $250, basically just to knock them out for the procedure.  Everything else the cats then would need, once out, would cost more, from X-rays, to pain meds, to antibiotics to extractions and extractions run from $10 apiece for incisors, to $50 to $70 each for molars.

When I had to have my own molar pulled, after trying to find somewhere I could get it done for six months, in terrible pain, I think it cost somewhere around $300 and took all of five minutes.

Cat teeth often require a drill to pull, as torque to pull a multi rooted tooth can break a cats' frail jaw.  The teeth usually need split and taken out in pieces and to get the roots you need some special tools, and often a hand held X-ray to make sure all root pieces are removed.

But who can afford $500 to $700 per cat, the price range all the vets I called who gave me an estimate, quoted?  I mean, are you kidding me?

So, I've got a few more places to try calling.  Heartland may help.  They have been so kind to me.  They're the local animal entity/ that "helps me back" by helping where they can, for helping so many local cats myself.  But they have no dental instruments.

All they can do is knock them out and take a look and pull out really loose teeth.  But I took them up on this offer, gratefully, for their next surgery day, and if their mouths are too awful, if they are allergic to their own teeth and would need all of their teeth pulled, unfortunately, they won't wake up to come home.  They will be euthanized.  They can't live here in bad mouth pain that I can't afford to alleviate.  That's not a life.

I could barely stand one bad tooth for six months.  I would be at red light, stopped, with that tooth just throbbing like a red hot ember, and I'd reach for pliers I keep for emergency repairs in the door pocket on the car, hold the pliers on my lap, wanting to yank out that throbbing tooth right then and there, while sitting at that red light.  I couldn't though, it being on the upper rear of my mouth.  I'd need specially shaped pliers to reach that.  I suppose that was good.  I finally found someone to pull it.

Tooth pain is terrible!

That one year, Valentino and Gretal both had to have three dentals, all in one year.  That's because with Valentino, who was drooling pus, I took him to a cut rate dental vet clinic in Portland who only pulled, if they did that, four little front incisors, and I have doubts he had those left to begin with.  In other words, they charged the money and did nothing.  The vet who ordered records from them to give him his second dental, only a month later, was appalled.

In Gretal's case, the vet just broke the teeth off and left roots.  I had to go to different vets then to get the roots pulled.  The costs for those two cats that year laid me low and I could not have survived the finances without help from friends and strangers.  Thank you again friends and strangers.  Valentino got a home in the end and Gretal is fat, happy and healthy now here and nine years old.

Miss Daisy was once diagnosed with the same problem, allergic to the membrane lining her teeth, and yet, they didn't pull them all.  I can't tell you how many dentals she's had in her life and I want to scream at times, because I think her allergy problems now are related to that tooth issue she has.  She has only a few left and I want to find someone who will remove her remaining teeth.  But she is 14 now and much more frail than she used to be.

Rogue and Cougie, let's hope we can find some way to get your bad teeth pulled.   It's a shame vet care is so expensive but the reasons why are fairly clear.  Labor costs, health insurance, building maintenance and insurance, taxes, school loans, supplies....all these things have to be paid off by making money off seeing sick animals.  And there are only so many hours in a day.

These two short clips show a bit of Rogue's mouth issues, while the third shows Cougie's, which evidenced to view very recently.  They are feral, so sorry for the grainy videos, taken on zoom, from a distance.  It was just yesterday I saw she was drooling, and I began calling clinics to see if I could possibly afford to get her seen somewhere.  Today I will call more clinics and if I can't find something I can afford, she will be seen at Heartland, along with Rogue.  If they can't help her or I can't find a clinic I can afford, she will be euthanized.

I called Banfield in Salem this morning.  Before they could even have an appointment to pull bad teeth, they would require an exam appointment.  Exams are $40 apiece, and since feral, sedated for the exam, another $60 each for sedation.  So at least and probably more than $200 at Banfield, before they could even go in to have their bad teeth pulled.  I didn't even get to how much that might cost.

I'm really grateful that Heartland will at least knock them out for me, and if the teeth are loose, pull them out and put them out of their misery if they can't help.   The allergy to the lining of the teeth seems to run in genetic lines, and the fact the two cats are under five and related, makes me think it will be that issue.  It seems like such a common ailment in cats, makes me wonder.  But it seems more common in cats who have suffered parasites and terrible starvation and malnutrition in early life.

These cats suffered intensely where they lived, on the grounds of an Albany business.  They were given no food, except some people tossed them lunch scraps.  There was no mercy or kindness exhibited to these cats at that Albany business.  The business then called the city and wanted them gone, only I was told they could just be fixed and returned.  I got scammed and the business wouldn't even check traps, so I'd have to get up at 4:30 every morning to be there when they opened.  It was outrageous.  They did not donate a dime either.  It got all laid on me.   Still makes me angry.  I flip them off in my mind every time I drive by.

There's a big need for a cut rate mobile nonprofit bare bones clinic that could fill this need, for cats who will die otherwise, because of the high price of most vet clinic care.

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