“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.”
Heeding Nature’s call, it is the time of the year for groundhogs to hunker down in their burrows to begin hibernation so there is nothing unusual about Joy going off her feed and spending even more time than usual snoozing in her self-made indoor burrow of old cat condo and towels and blankets. While she will not truly hibernate in captivity, she will lean heavily towards torpor as the days continue to grow shorter; rousing at regular intervals to take a short walkabout and perhaps eat a few bites.
What is unusual is that in the middle of her daily walkabout, she stops and throws up. Because she is not eating, there really isn’t anything to come up but white foam; what is concerning is the occasional streaks of green that, very simply put, indicate throwback of bile from her liver.
Once, you shrug it off. Twice, you make a note. When this became a daily pattern, it was time for a check by our vet. As if she understood the gravity of the situation, Joy walked into her carrier and we headed off to the vet’s office yesterday afternoon. Though naturally wary of the strange, danger-indicating sounds and smells, she was surprisingly calm and very cooperative. Our vet was able to get a good feel of her abdomen, resulting in finding a small, strange lump in her descending colon. Palpating it caused her discomfort; this was not a good sign. We took an x-ray and indications are that lump is some sort of blockage; while we could not see it due to the angle of the shot, the air pockets higher in her long mammalian digestive tract tell us things aren’t moving along and through as they should.
And when things don’t pass through us, even if we aren’t putting anything in, it makes us nauseous.
Being Joy, the odds of her having eaten something she shouldn’t eat are slim-to-none. Foraging just ain’t her thing; she only recently started eating any kind of fresh greens and she much prefers to have her few chosen foodstuffs handed to her, piece by piece. But NRs are NRs for a reason so, when all is said and done, being an NR may be the only explanation why she may now just be stopped up.
Through the weekend, Joy will be regularly dosed with things to help move along whatever is blocking her intestines. Not the most pleasant of tasks to get medicine into any animal but one that must be done so…bottoms up, baby. If nothing happens by Monday, it’s back to the vet for an ultrasound to get a good look at her guts, and perhaps an abdominal tap to ascertain the state of what appears to be fluid in her abdomen.
But right now, knowing she doesn’t feel good is a nagging worry. Making her unhappy by forcing her to take medication brings twinges of guilt. The alternatives to having a simple impaction are decidedly the most unwelcome of thoughts of all and they keep trying to rise, no matter how hard we keep shoving them down. Knowing it is best for Joy that the days pass in their normal rhythms is one thing; trying to maintain some semblance of those rhythms is another. The instinct is to hunker down in breathless, waiting silence; the only urge to move is to peek in on her every other moment. It’s all making it hard to concentrate for any length of time and therefore hard to get much done except in little fits and starts.
And so we wait.