During surgery the doctor placed an esophageal feeding tube. This was a necessity due to the fact that the doctor did not want food or water in Caroline’s mouth for at least the first 10 days of her recovery. I knew before she had the surgery that this was part of the recovery that I would have to deal with, but I definitely did not realize how often I would have to feed her. She had to be fed 4 times a day at least 3-4 hours between feedings. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, I work full-time about 40 minutes from our house, which meant there was no way I could do a feeding in the middle of the day. This meant her feedings were at 7pm, 11pm, 3am, and 7am. And each feeding, beginning to end including mixing the food and clean-up, took about an hour. So if you do the math, I only got 3 hours of sleep at a time. To say I was grouchy those days is an understatement.
But every time I came into the foster room and saw Caroline, I knew it was worth it. I kept her in one of our cages in order to keep her out of the other fosters’ food (Henri, Sweeney, Maverick and Ebony were all in the room with Caroline). She hated being in the cage, but she dealt with it well. I bought a high sided foam bed to put her in while I fed her in order to help me keep her contained. I didn’t want her running around while I had a syringe full of food attached to her feeding tube! She purred and kneaded when I fed her-she was so happy at the end of feedings when she had a full belly.
The other part about her having a feeding tube that made me nervous was the daily dressing changes. I had to remove the wrap from her neck, clean the entry point and stitches around tube, put antibiotic ointment on, and then wrap her back up. I had to do all of this with no help and 4 other cats milling around! I was dreading it and was not sure how successful I would be. I should have just trusted that Caroline would be her normal calm self. And she was. She sat SO still for the dressing changes and never got impatient with how long it took me to cut bandages and apply ointment. Even with other kitties coming over to see what was going on, she remained still and focused. She had to be sitting up the whole time so I could access the whole way around her neck for the wrapping. She was the best kitty patient I can imagine. I was relieved that she was so cooperative.
Even though I carefully followed doctor instructions and Caroline was extremely cooperative, there were some unexpected problems that arose while Caroline recovered at our house.
Caroline in her special bed, happy with a full belly from an evening feeding.