Bad news - can anything make the wait any easier?
June 25, 2008 9:01 PM Subscribe
Hints on easing the wait for bad news. With complications, and a story about my cat.
posted by MadMage to health & fitness (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My cat Livingstone was hit by a car yesterday. At least, that's what the vet thinks. What I know is that instead of bounding up like his playful furry self, demanding pats and food when I got home from work about 5:30pm, he was hiding out in his safe place (under our bed).
About 7pm he came out into the loungeroom, where I was watching TV, and vomited twice on the carpet. I cleaned it up, and moved him to a comfy spot. He stayed there a while, without moving, washing or doing much of anything, and then went back under the bed. There was no sign of any physical injury.
This morning he was still very lethargic. He'd moved twice during the night, but not more than 3 feet from our bed. During the night he also made a few whining/gurgling noises which were slightly unusual. I got up and patted him, but he didn't respond very much.
I was really worried that he had eaten something poisonous, and took him to the vet as soon as it opened (8am). The vet thought that was probably right, took obs, and said that he looked really sick (pale, low core temperature, depressed breathing) and would start him on maintenance immediately and call me back.
When he did, about 10:00am, he told me that he hadn't eaten anything, but that he'd suffered a severe impact (probably been hit by a car), had a large inguinal hernia, and was very unstable. He said he would almost certainly need surgical repair, but couldn't tell me exactly what until he had opened him up to see what damage had been done - and that there was no prospect of doing that today, given his condition, because the surgery would kill him.
He's going to call me back this afternoon in a few hours to tell me whether Livingstone is stable enough to be operated upon.
I'm going out of my mind while I wait to know whether he will live or die.
I understand that he is probably suffering from (at least) hemorrhagic shock. I understand that there's no way to know, at this point, whether he's going to make it.
I'm extremely familiar with the symptoms of anxiety, because I've had chronic anxiety for years. I've been on Lexapro for about two years now, and have some Xanax for controlling panic attacks (long term panic disorder). I can feel myself trying *really* hard to panic, and equally feel myself reflexively shutting it down. It's getting harder and harder to do.
I've also lost a much-loved cat before in the same way, and that flattened me for a good four months while I dealt with the concomitant grief and depression.
I know I have to wait. I know I've done everything I can for Livingstone. I know that grief and pathological depression / anxiety/ panic are not the same. I know that if it's really bad, I'll have to go back and see my doctor again.
Does anyone have any advice on easing the burden of waiting? Similarly, if he doesn't make it, can anyone suggest ways I could start preparing myself to deal with that, that might help ease the pain?
I'm not out of control. But I know what's down there, and I don't want to go down there again.
Any advice appreciated.