Lyra’s drawer

April 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

A while back, I was going to clean out a drawer in my dresser that’s a jumble of jewelry and accessories. When I opened the drawer, our tuxedo cat Sergei came running. He shows up whenever he hears a drawer opening; drawers are where we keep cat treats, and toys that he might chew to bits were they left out. He jumped onto the top of the dresser and meowed. I don’t keep treats or toys in that drawer, but there are usually treats in the other top drawer. While petting Sergei, I opened the drawer and reached in for treats; what my hand found first was the bag of needles.

That’s when I began to cry.

The needles were for giving subcutaneous fluids to our cat Lyra, whom we lost to kidney failure induced anemia last June. We administered fluids to her on top of the dresser, and stored subq fluid supplies, the other drugs that kept her going for six months after her diagnosis, and many bags of pill pockets and kitty treats, in that dresser drawer.

After Lyra died, I threw away meds that had to be refrigerated and partially used subq fluid supplies. I packed all of her special prescription food into a bag, and moved it out of the kitchen. We took the sharps container of used needles to the drugstore. But I didn’t touch a thing in Lyra’s drawer, as I’d come to think of it, just tossed new bags of treats and cat toys for our remaining cats Sasha and Sergei on top of the remnants of Lyra’s sickroom.

When my hand found those needles, months after her death, I knew it was time to clean out Lyra’s drawer.

After I’d had a good long cry, I gathered up the contents of the drawer, as well as the cat food from the basement. Here’s what we had:

  • 12 cans of “renal health” cat food
  • most of a 10-lb bag of “renal health” dry cat food
  • Tub of aluminum hydroxide phosphate binder (cats with renal failure don’t properly excrete phosphorus)
  • 6 tablets fomotadine, aka pepcid (cats with renal failure often have excess stomach acid)
  • 13 needles for subcutaneous fluids
  • 3 small self-adhesive compression bandages (peeled off her legs after transfusions or blood draws)
  • Insulin syringe (escapee from a 10-count bag, used for Epogen and darbapoetin injections for anemia)
  • 2 intrabuccal syringes of bupenorphrine, an opiate, prescribed when she appeared to be in pain after her last transfusion (in the blue vial)
  • 3 tablets prednisilone (to control asthma symptoms, which were not related to CRF, but worsened as she got sicker)
  • AeroKat feline asthma inhaler (never used, as she wouldn’t let me get it near her face)
  • Tub of lysine used to treat an upper respiratory infection (cheaper made for humans and sold in huge tubs at Super Supplements than when prescribed by vet)
  • A pill cutter

We’re keeping the pill cutter. The dry food will be tossed; we’ll dispose of the meds and syringes at our neighborhood drugstore, along with human meds. I’ll take the inhaler to our vet, in hopes that he might know someone who could give it a try with their asthmatic cat.

Today I took the canned cat food, along with the towels from the linen closet unstuffing, to the Seattle Humane Society. They were happy to have both. While I was there, I petted and talked to several very friendly cats (it was quiet at the time), including a sweet soft gray cat who reminded me just a little of Lyra. (Happily, she was adopted today.)

And then I came home and snuggled Sasha and Sergei… and gave them and Maisie a few extra treats.


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