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Saturday, August 25, 2007  

Turning Turtle Part IV

Turtle's been maintaining fairly well, but only as a result of the prodigious amount of drugs I keep jamming down her throat on a daily basis. Every time we reduce something, her red blood cell count drops correspondingly and we have to try something else. M. Small and I have been at the vet so many times this summer that the front desk people know us by sight. Or at least him.

Meanwhile, her weight just keeps increasing. She long ago passed Strat, and now whenever I pick her up it takes both arms, and bits of her still kind of spill out. Our goal is for her to keep ballooning out until she has diabetes in addition to the severe anemia she's already got, so that whenever Strat dies I never have to skip a day of giving a cat a shot. That would be just stellar.

im on yr sofa, garding yr londree

We were supposed to have her on her current meds for a month before we brought her back in for a checkup. But last week, a few alarming puddles on the floor near the kitty boxes suggested that we might not want to wait that long.

Our current vet, Dr. M., is out of town at the moment. For a year. The guy filling in for her, Dr. P., seems competent and caring, and he's all caught up on Turtle's history. After we got Turtle's blood checked (which has happened so many times that at this point we might as well have them install a spigot on her), he called me a couple of days later with a few options.

Option number one was a referral to a specialist, like at the University of Minnesota where God knows how many people would do God knows what to her and put her on God knows how many medicines. Dr. P. was talking about shit like "marrow scoops," whatever that is, and we're really not out to make this worse for Turtle than it is.

Option two was to try something we haven't really done before, which is to abruptly jack up her steroid intake in an effort to kickstart her red blood cell production. This, however, might have "side effects." In the sense of things to the "side" of her catbox that made my previous discovery seem minor. Plus she'd gain even more weight, probably so quickly that we'd be able to observe her visibly inflating. Not to mention kitty 'roid rage, which does not go well with an active toddler.

So we went with option number three, a drug called Luparin that's used in chemotherapy. Now, before you freak out, it's only a small dose, not a chemo-sized dose. She won't go bald or anything. But it is a drug that we couldn't get at the vet; Dr. P. had to call it in for us at a human pharmacy.

M. Small and I went to get it this morning. We never go to the closest Walgreens to our house for prescriptions, because the people at that pharmacy are idiots. When we got to the second-closest Walgreens to our house, they didn't have any and weren't getting any until Monday. But they called around, and dispatched us to the third-closest Walgreens to our house.

We got there, and there was already a woman waiting at the counter. I gave our last name and said we were there to pick up a prescription.

"First name?" the pharmacist asked.

"Turtle," I said.

The woman already waiting at the counter gave me a double-take. She didn't look like an Entourage fan, not that it probably would have made a difference.

I thought about saying that Turtle was my cat's name, but why bother? Instead I just paid for the pills, scooped up M. Small, and said, "Come on, Turtle, let's go home."

If she did another double-take, I didn't see it.

posted by M. Giant 9:05 PM 5 comments


Oddly enough I have a human friend with a very similar sounding problem.

Best wishes to both her, and Turtle.

And having worked at a pharmacy myself, I very much doubt if that was the oddest thing the clerk heard that day. It's an enlightening line of work.

By Blogger Sarah, at August 26, 2007 at 10:20 AM  

My dog was recently diagnosed with the very very rare diabetes insipidus. This means she drinks more water than she needs and has the resultant issues you'd expect. Treatment? A human drug. Witness the following conversation at Walgreens:

Me: Pick up for MyLastName.
Confused Clerk: First name?
Me: Milady deWinter.
CC: ... (staring at my son in his carseat)
Me: It may say Milady Dog MyLastName.
CC: ...
Me: The address is 9999 SuchAndSo.
CC: Oh... yes... here it... is...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 27, 2007 at 6:40 AM  

Yes, we've had that experience at a pharmacy picking up some insulin for a diabetic cat.

"I'm here to picky up a prescription for Puffy MyLastName"

Unfortunately, this was very pre-Puff Daddy...or PDiddy...or whatever he's called now.

And also, I named the cat when I was 6.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 27, 2007 at 9:37 AM  

Similarly to Jennifer who commented above about her dog, I once had to pick up that same prescription at a human pharmacy for a horse I'd just bought. I believe the drug in question is actually used as an antidepressant in humans. My horse wasn't diabetic, but due to psychological issues (was starved, dehydrated and neglected as a baby) drank about 2 to 3 times more than an average horse, and I'm sure you can imagine the volume of the corresponding resultant issues.

There was some confusion finding the prescription, though, because the vet had called it in under the horse's registered name and my mother's last name (she was covering the bill, bless her). We did eventually locate it, but I wish I could have seen the face of the pharm tech who took down the prescription for "Sweet Baby James Rosenberg."

I think I may be the proud owner of the only known Jewish horse with a drinking problem.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 27, 2007 at 11:46 AM  

Apropos of nothing, the first-closest Walgreen's to me is less than a mile away, and the second-closest Walgreen's is less than a mile away in the other direction. Consequently, all the directions I give to my house include the warning: "If you pass a second Walgreen's, you've gone a little too far."

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 29, 2007 at 10:03 AM  

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