Friday, February 15, 2013

Ellie Belly

I don't talk much about my pets. Which, in and of itself, is horrible. Before Alice, they were my children. Now they are the reason I vacuum. I have two cats and a dog. The cats I've had since I was 18 and the dog I acquired jointly with Hatta. I suppose it would be proper to say they are our pets, but in reality the dog goes where I go and the cats listen best when I call them.

Today I would like to talk about Ellie Belly. Some of you may remember a story I told back on the darkside of blogging. In said story, Ellie was stuck walking in circles, forced to walk to the left (or was it the right?) regardless of what was in her path, never able to rest. It turned out to be an ear infection, something that has plagued Ellie since as long as I can remember. If she was a toddler for sure the pediatrician would be mentioning tubes. But in Ellie's case it runs a little deeper.

Early on in Ellie's life, after many rounds of antibiotics and inacurate diagnoses, it was determined she had polyps deep in her ear. Two surgeries and thousands of dollars later, she was a happy cat. Finally for the first time in her life she wasn't on antibiotics. She was living the good life, until 2001 when she had her first seizure, followed by a few more in the weeks to come. We had her checked out by our vet and carried on. Not much thought was given to those seizures. They were merely another roadblock for Ellie to overcome, another bullet point in the list of reasons Ellie was my special needs cat.

Until last Sunday.

In one twenty four hour period Ellie had six seizures, four of them in two hours. The months leading up to Sunday Ellie had two serious ear infections and it seemed she never fully recovered from them. And, then the seizures started. One followed by four days seizure free, and then another with a few days without seizures, and then another. We knew it wasn't as simple as it was in 2001. Her appearance had changed and so had her demeanor. We knew it was finally time to visit the vet.

You may be thinking to yourself, "Seriously? Your cat had several seizures and you didn't take her to the vet?" Don't judge. We'd been there, done bills and seizure pamphlets to prove it. They discovered nothing in 2001. Speculated as likely to be a brain tumor. We've already invested hundreds and thousands of dollars attempting to give Ellie a good life. In all honesty, we knew we weren't going to pay this time to run the gauntlet of tests the vet would suggest to determine why Ellie was seizing. We just wanted Ellie to enjoy life or not have to suffer another moment. Putting a price tag on your pets well being is a difficult situation to be in, and frankly we weren't looking forward to it.

And then, there was Sunday.

I don't know if you've ever been unfortunate enough to witness an animal having a seizure, but it has to be the most helpless feeling. There is literally nothing you can do and it breaks your heart every agonizing second of it. You just want to pick up the flailing body and try to comfort the seizure away, knowing you can't you just watch...helpless and sad. And when the poor body is done twitching and shaking and spinning, it's still not over. There are after affects that last and linger for many minutes, where you sit trying to comfort an animal that's still not in this realm, still gone to this world. Try experiencing that four times in two hours. And during the last three seizures Ellie urinated, spinning and shaking her body throughout her urine. Poor Alice was there to witness a few of the seizures, her feelings of fear neglected in the moment when the safety of Ellie was more pressing. It has been a very difficult time.

Sweet Ellie was taken Sunday night to the animal ER where they allowed her to rest comfortably on Valium. She spent several nights at the vets, they ran extensive blood tests and determined she's blind (hopefully temporary) but healthy. Again, most likely a brain tumor. She's now permanently on daily anti seizure medication and hasn't had a seizure since. It seems, after a few rocky days at home adjusting to the narcotics, she's resembling her old happy self again. In fact, just today I found her on the dining table attempting to wreak havoc on my Valentine's flowers.


  1. Oh, how scary. I hope she recovers and tortures more flowers.

  2. Oh the poor thing. It is so hard to deal with pet health issues. Our boxer is 10 1/2. She just had half her ear removed because of a tumor. We opted not to biopsy the tumor because boxers average 10-12 years for their lifespan. It's an awful thing to think of, but we just want her to be happy and comfortable for as long as we have her. :( I'll be thinking of your poor Ellie!

  3. Oh no! I'm so sorry, I can't imagine having to witness that. I'm glad that she's back to her old happy self and will hopefully stay that way!!!