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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Laudable Pus

Warning: if the post title didn't tip you off, be aware that there is a pretty high gross-out factor in the following account. You Have Been Warned.

I'm a great re-reader -- always have been. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of summer afternoons spent re-reading Paul Gallico's Thomasina or Nancy Drew books. Lately, I've been re-reading the Aubrey-Maturin series, which is easily on my list of most beloved books. I've lost track of how often I've read the series (all 20 books, plus one unfinished tale) but by now it's 8 or 9 times. Reading them again feels like visiting with old friends, deeply comforting and thoroughly satisfying.

So it's not too surprising, given that context, that "laudable pus" would be the phrase that immediately came to mind when we took Butchie back to the vet today. The swelling in her face had seemed to stabilize, until this morning. Overnight, all the fur on the swollen area had either fallen off or been rubbed off, and the entire area of her cheek was turgid and a little scabby. It looked pretty horrible, and I wasn't sure what other options we might have at the vet, but it seemed to me that such a dramatic change in so little time definitely needed looking at. I didn't see the kitty rubbing or pawing at her face, so I'm not sure what happened.

But when the vet saw it she seemed pleased, told me that it now looked like an abcess that was trying to burst, and said she would like to drain it. We talked about possibly sedating Butchie, but given her age and the risks involved, and the fact that she seemed pretty cooperative, the vet decided to try to do the procedure without anesthetic. So they took poor boo kitty out of the examining room, and about ten minutes later they brought her back with a gaping incision on her cheek. They said she was a really, really good kitty for everything. They were able to remove a lot of yucky pus and junk from the swollen area, and while the open wound and bald skin was certainly not attractive, Butchie seemed much more comfortable without the enormous swelling on her face.

We're still not sure what caused the abcess -- doesn't seem to be a tooth, no sign of a wound -- and we're not sure if it will come back, but the vet had hopes that it would heal without incident. I've been instructed to apply a hot, wet saline compress to Butchie's face several times a day for as long as she will let me, at least a minute at a time. And if you think that's an easy thing to do, well then you're welcome to come and give it a try! But the vet wants to keep the incision open to help it drain, and let out any remaining pus.

Laudable pus! I'm certainly no Stephen Maturin, but doing my little layperson's medical treatment is definitely interesting. But mostly it's such a relief to think that the poor kitty might heal up OK after all.


cath c said...

a great expression! so fitting. gladd kitty is feeling better.

tierramor said...

yergh! Poor bun, and poor you! You probably the tips and tricks to compress applying (namely: sitting on kitty, scruffing, and otherwise trying to make said compress seem inevitable and not optional) but good luck and let me know if there's anything I can do.

tierramor said...

And for submitting to various uncomfortablenesses, a laudable Puss as well!