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Micole Khemarrica
Oh no, not *again*
I got to assist Tokaneke deal with a ferret emergency.

Sk'tepa, aka Skittles, was not doing well (possible problem with a missed medicine dosage) and as humans don't have prehensile tails like khromatai, she needed a spare pair of hands.  I rode up to Ridgefield Park with her and the vet figured Skittles had ECE brought on by stress (ECE, also known as the 'green slime', is a digestive tract ailment in ferrets).  As Skittle was also insulinomic (an unfortunately common ailment in older ferrets) Toka had to really keep at her meds which just doubled. Whee.

In the second day of convalescence, Skittles crashed. The ECE or urinary tract infection or whatever had caused her to fall over in the first place was probably too much for her already ill body, as it set off the insulinoma, resulting in the horrific "screaming siezures". The good news is by the time the siezures start, the brain has died (the ferret isn't feeling pain) and the body is just reacting to internal stimulus -- that doesn't stop your heart from wrenching everytime the ferret screams and twitches like an epileptic.  So, once again I had to be a spare pair of hands and hold this stiff-but-thrashing slinky in a towel (during a seizure, they vacuate their bowels, scent glands, and can bite, so it's best to have them bundled up) while Tokaneke drove the car to the nearest vet who would be open.  At this point, it's not to save the ferret, it's to mercifully end the body's trauma -- and the owner's.  Skittles was a stubborn thing to the very end; the injection of  'happy pink stuff' (as Toka called it) didn't stop the heart completely, much to the surprise of the vet, who went to get a second dose. By the time the vet returned, though, it was all over.  The last of the original menagerie had passed on.

The subject title is in reference to what I got in the mail today. 

My right thumb had been acting up, the base joint feeling tender in certain situations, for a week or two before I woke up to the pain of a swollen thumb that didn't want to bend.  The normal treatment of ice and pain killers didn't seem to help and I slept poorly that night and decided it was time for the doctor first thing in the morning, whether or not Dr. K was in.  As expected, she wasn't and the doc that saw me did an x-ray and initially didn't find anything so she dubbed it a 'sprain', bound it up in a hard splint, and gave me perscriptions for a heavier dose of anti-inflammatory and a few tabs of Vicodin to use at night if I still couldn't sleep from the pain.

Apparently, a radiologist took a closer look at the digital x-ray images and did see something, and I got a copy of the report which indicated calcification around the first joint.  His guess on the cause was either arthritic or acute fracture.  Considering that this is the hand I fell on back in 2002 which eventually resulted in Carpal Tunnel Release surgery, I'm pretty certain that this calcification originates from the initial trauma.

What disturbs me is that the nurse talking to me on the phone about it said that my x-ray "looks similar to the one in 2004" -- which was the last time my thumb was acting up.  That resulted in a visit to the orthopedic surgeon who did the release surgery, who gave me a local shot of cortizone and that was that.  If the new image looks just like the image in 2004, does that mean I'm just going to get another cortizone shot (which HURT) and a wrap? Or does it mean that the problem never went away in the first place and the cortizone just relieved the symptoms for a year and something else may need to be done.... like surgery again.  I don't think cortizone removes calcification, just inflammation.  And my bunion surgery was to 'scrape the calcification off' the bone and stick a screw in to keep the bones aligned, so logically I might need surgery to remove the calcification in my thumb.  I hope not.  Another surgery would keep me out of school ... again.

Current Mood: worried worried

8 comments or Leave a comment
chefmongoose From: chefmongoose Date: June 18th, 2005 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry to hear about the poor ferret.. and the Khromat thumb. I hope it won't tkae surgery again for you. :(

kagur From: kagur Date: June 18th, 2005 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very sorry to hear about Skittles..may she pass over the rainbow bridge in peace.
I'll send good wishes your way, hoping the thumb doesn't need more surgery, so you can go back to school.
wyattkelly From: wyattkelly Date: June 18th, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Erf...I know we've not talked much lately, but I still feel bad for what you have gone through. Good luck, darlin!
twentythoughts From: twentythoughts Date: June 18th, 2005 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mrrf. S'always sad to lose a pet... I'm sorry to hear that. At least she wasn't in pain when she went away.

And here's hoping your thumb isn't quite as serious as that!
darklilith69 From: darklilith69 Date: June 19th, 2005 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)
SO sorry about the trauma you had to experience with Skittles. I'm glad she'd already passed though visually, it had to be very difficult for you both.

May she 'walk and meet you there.
lionmage From: lionmage Date: August 10th, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
This reminds me too much of how my last ferret died. The "screaming seizures" you describe brought back some vivid, unpleasant memories. Unfortunately, my little girl went through a few episodes of this before Krissy and I decided to euthanize her. By that point, you could tell she'd given up. I'm sure the brain damage from the last insulinomic seizure or two was too much, because whatever personality had been there was just gone.

Anyway, extremely sorry to hear that the last of your ferrets has passed on, and the manner of her passing. I may never own another pet ferret because their lives never seem to end peacefully or well.
khromat From: khromat Date: August 11th, 2005 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
The last of the original menagerie of ferrets has passed on.... Toka picked up Fugley during the Great Christmas Rescue, and as she didn't want him to be alone, she picked up 3 more ferrets. Marigold is a pretty cinnamon, Cloe is a sable, and Rupert is a black-eyed white... they're all 'older ferrets', not kits, and they seem to get along with Fugley pretty well.

We've had a few ferrets die peacefully; but one should never choose a pet based on how well or ill they will die. The point of owning a pet is to enjoy life, isn't it?

I've enjoyed the time I've had with all my pets; I feel little reason to mourn their passing. Remembering the joy they brought in life is far better than reliving the anxiety and sorrow of how they died.
lionmage From: lionmage Date: August 12th, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suppose you're right. (Was a little down when I wrote that, dwelling on the bad instead of remembering the good.) I just think it's phenomenally cruel that some animals have to suffer so much in their lives, and I hate the feeling of helplessness that accompanies a pet's terminal illness. Part of the reason ferrets have such a raw deal is the manner in which they are bred (lack of genetic diversity in the American ferret population) and the early age at which they are neutered/spayed and descented in preparation for sale at pet stores.

Luckily, there are ferret breeders in Arizona, and when we get a bigger house, we can talk to a reputable breeder about getting a couple healthy ferrets. We'll get them neutered/spayed once they're sexually mature, so as not to traumatize them. Of course, that's no guarantee of anything, but I'd rather give an animal a fighting chance at a good, long life. Well, relatively long.
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