There were two crises while Caroline had her feeding tube: she puked during a feeding and the end port broke off her feeding tube. Let me explain.
When Caroline was discharged from the hospital, the doctor was very adamant that if Caroline puked during a feeding that I needed to call the hospital IMMEDIATELY. At the time of discharge (Sunday), Caroline had not defecated. This greatly concerned me because of her megacolon. I had explained multiple times to multiple people prior to her surgery that the change of food would cause severe constipation. I thought they should consider putting her a stool softener right away in order to avoid any complications of having her whole digestive system filled with feces. Unfortunately, the doctors kept saying “we’ll get to that bridge when we cross it.” Well, Tuesday morning, when Caroline threw up 1/4 way through the feeding, I knew that we were at the bridge. But I was ignored when I explained this to the doctor on call when I explained Caroline had thrown up (it happened outside of normal operating hours so I had to have the doctor on call paged). She blew me off and told me to see how next feeding went and just go slower. And guess what? She threw up again that night and still hadn’t defecated.
I finally got a hold of surgeon on Wednesday and told her that she HAD to do something-Caroline was not tolerating her feedings and was on day 8 of not pooping. They FINALLY prescribed lacculose (a stool softener). Caroline defected 24 hours after her first dose. I’ve never been so excited to scoop cat poop in my whole life.
Friday was our next crisis. Of course it happened on the night I was supposed to attend an Army event with my husband-he was one of the soldiers being “farewelled.” I needed to be there. But I walked into foster room right after work to fit in a feeding before we went to the event and I could distinctly hear a gurgling noise (keep in mind, I was, as usual, running late and was probably going to make us late to his event). When I got to the cage it became obvious what the noise was-Caroline’s hungry belly gurgling noises going straight through the open end of her feeding tube!! The very end attachment to the tube, known as the port, had snapped off at some point in the day and was in the litter box. I had no idea how long the tube had been open and left her stomach exposed to the outside environment.
I immediately threw her in a carrier, yelled at my husband what was happening and told him he had to go to his event without me. So I managed to make him late and then not even attend. Great. I called the hospital on my way there. The doctor on call was great-she completely understood what had happened and believed it was something she could fix right in the waiting room. She was waiting for us at the front desk when we got there. She looked at Caroline’s tube, confirmed her suspicion, and retrieved a new port from her supply closet. Within 5 minutes she had removed the old one out of the tube and installed the new one. Hallelujah! She reassured me that Caroline shouldn’t have really gotten anything terrible in the tube since the opening was small and it was well wrapped. She also did not think that any gas that had gotten into Caroline’s system should be a problem. I took Caroline home, relieved that this crisis has been quickly resolved. I fed her, and she acted like her normal self. It seemed that there was no damage done by not having her feeding tube open that day! Just a near-heart attack for her foster mom.
We continued our schedule of feedings for another week, uneventfully, until I left for vacation with my husband and his side of the family. All the other cats were so sweet to her. Maverick would even curl up with her while she was getting fed. It was so heartwarming. I had been worried the other cats might pick on her after she came back from the hospital because she would be sick and smell different. I shouldn’t have underestimated their kindness!
We dropped Caroline at the hospital on our way out of town to be medically boarded because she still had her feeding tube. I would have to be satisfied with updates via phone for the next week!