Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pre-empting Nature

The Patient Patient

The decision had been made, but we still had to wait until he was old enough to undergo the neutering operation. And so life went on at our house. Quint continued to give us joy and entertain us with his explorations and fascinations. As the holidays approached we had another decision to make. Not as serious a decision as surgery, but a decision nonetheless: Do we dare put up a Christmas tree with a curious and very active kitten in the house? The visions I had of tree decorations scattered and broken all over the living room were probably somewhat exaggerated, but I felt that some damage was inevitable if we put all those tempting little objects anywhere that Quint could reach them. What I needed was a solution that would allow us to enjoy some holiday decorations, but would keep Quint from getting himself in trouble. After much consideration, I came up with an idea that may well border on genius: I would decorate the ceiling! It was the perfect solution. Our living room has a high, beamed ceiling, so I strung bead garlands across the room and hung the glittery stuff ten feet in the air. It was perfect. Everybody won. Quint had a great holiday helping unwrap gifts and playing with the ribbons and the living room got a lovely, if unconventional holiday makeover. Actually, we liked the decorated ceiling so much that we left it like that. There was no reason not to.

We figured we'd wait until after the new year rolled around to take Quint in for his operation, so early in the morning of January 19, 2009, I loaded him back into the carrier, lugged him out to the car and drove over to Highland Park. We had an appointment, so when we got there he was admitted right away. For Quint it would be a strange, busy morning, but for me there was just the waiting until later in day when we would get the call to come and pick him up. If everything went okay, he would be ready to go home after 5:00 p.m.

A couple of hours later I got a call. The vet who was working on him had discovered in the course of the pre-surgery exam that Quint had a problem with his gums. Apparently, he was allergic to the plaque on his teeth and this was causing his gums be become inflamed. If the condition wasn't remedied or controlled it could mean that he would have to have all his teeth pulled. The first step was to do a thorough cleaning, and the vet wanted permission do the cleaning while he was knocked out for the neutering. Of course, I said, "Yes, do whatever you need to do." That's just what they did, cleaned his teeth and removed his, well, you know.

Carol took off from work early so we could both go over and pick Quint up to bring him home. We had a meeting with the vet when we got there and found out what our part of dealing with Quint's gum and tooth problem would be. We were told that if we could get the plaque under control and get his gum inflammation handled, he might grow out of his allergy. Our part of that was to brush his teeth to remove the plaque and start him on food that would help scrub the teeth and gums. In addition to the brushing, we would have to spread antibiotic gel on his gums after we had brushed away the plaque. We left the hospital with a bag of the new food, a tube of poultry-flavored toothpaste, and some liquid antibiotics that we were to give him twice a day while he healed from his surgery. We were warned that the liquid antibiotic medicine did not taste good and that Quint would, no doubt, not care for it at all. That turned out to be an understatement.

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