Broken

Back when Cinny was 2 she had a bad accident when she was startled by a very loud noise from my old Landlord’s place. It happened at night when the cats and I were all settled into bed.  Both cats had scattered off the bed running out of the bedroom door and Cinnamon must have been running blindly and crazed as she always does whether scared or not frankly… and ended up whacking herself hard, my guess is on the oak tabled I used to have. Before heading back to bed I saw both cats were in the living room, Cinny was peeking out from behind a recliner, glowing eyed but seemingly ok. Nutmeg was under the kitchen table. I figured all was well so I went back to bed.

Next morning as I was getting ready for work I noticed the absence of my audience. Cinny would sit on the bathroom counter and watch me put my make-up on every morning. It wasn’t like her to not be there, so I started hunting for her. I eventually found her up on the top bunk in the boy’s room and she didn’t look quite right so I thought maybe she was sick. I picked her up and she just stared at me with glassy eyes. I put her down on the ground and watched as she just seemed to collapse like a marionette with no strings. I picked her up again and tried again, same thing… then I noticed her back leg. I touched her foot and noticed that the lower half of her leg was dangling and realized that her foot was loose and only attached by flesh and fur. FREAKING out I ran her right to the vets and waiting for them to call.

Turns out she had smashed her rear left leg, the Tibia the larger of the two bones was pulverized in one area and she had also snapped the thinner Fibula badly. They asked me what happened and they sounded a wee bit doubtful that was what happened but the didn’t say so at the time. They quoted me the cost for fixing her up, a surgical plate was necessary and they figured that would fix her up good as new. 4-6 weeks and she would be up and around as if nothing happened.

Famous last words. Cinnamon was enclosed in a large dog travel kennel for her healing and she would beat her leg on the wall and tumble around in the enclosure royally pissed she wasn’t allowed to do what she wanted. This is a cat who THINKS, I mean really thinks. She plans how to be naughty and watches our reactions. Trust me, under that sweet is the devil. I noticed her leg seemed not to be straight and rushed her back to the vets after a few days.

She bent that steel plate.

The vet bent it back and splinted her leg to hold it steady. She kept beating her leg on the PLASTIC walls of her kennel.

She broke the steel plate.

Docs were stunned. Ok, another surgery this time with a steel rod. MUCH stronger they said and would be wired in place around the bone. This would do it. They said they had guaranteed they would fix her with the first surgery so all I had to pay for was the X-rays and meds etc but not the surgical time. I said ok.

More splints which she would chew off, once she pulled the whole thing off and it was laying in her litter box. I had gone to check on her in the middle of the night as I had been and saw it there. I thought she had chewed her leg off I got such a shock. Then I noticed her sitting calmly licking her wounded leg. Gawd.

Back and forth to the vets for torn up, chewed, splits that caused swollen legs we’re talking months of back and forth. Then one day she was in obvious pain, her toes were swollen out of the splint and I noticed a foul odor and rushed her back to the vets. He removed the splint and her lower leg flopped at an angel.

She broke the steel rod.

All the bone growth she had started had once again broken.  Nothing had worked. The vet was at a loss it seemed nothing was working, no matter what they tried no matter how much care was taken, she would NOT cooperate she was the worst patient ever.

After all this they believed me on how she broke her leg. They got to know Cinnamon over the months very VERY well.

I burst into tears, the vet  and assistant were near tears themselves and he just didn’t know what to do. He prepped her for an amputation as a last resort but asked my permission to try one more time.  I didn’t like the thought of more surgery that may just fail again but I reluctantly agreed, we had to give her one last chance to save her leg. This time they cut down and inserted a pin meant for a dog. Thicker and stronger. Into her tiny tiny leg it was placed.

This one finally took. Not without a lot of stress, mess and fight from missy but this one took. She had her leg back to use.. ONE YEAR LATER. Yes one year she had spent in a box.  By then Tom had moved up here for good and was living with us and had taken her out for exercise through the days here and there but she had spent the better part of a year in a plastic prison.  It had been an awful experience for both of us.

We have always been worried about her as she is reckless. She runs around like a mad cat, jumps fearlessly and seemingly impervious to NORMAL pain. She would occasionally catch her leg wrong and limp, hopping or running on three legs like a pro (she had to get used to that when she wore the splint) and then a day later she was back to using all four. We would hold our breaths and grab her during these times feeling her leg check if she can extend it and everything always was ok.

On Friday Tom and I were settling down to have a drink after he got home from work (he worked the late shift at the station) and the cats were horsing around. Next thing we knew Cinny had jumped on Tom’s shins and started to roll on her back and lick herself. I laughed at first because she looked really weird with her leg all curled up and then it hit me. THIS WAS HER BAD LEG.

Shit shit.

So I picked her up and started to gently feel her leg and she GROWLED very loudly. This girl doesn’t do that. She then yowled and bit me HARD on my thumb and wouldn’t let go. I put her down on the couch and she just rolled around in pain.  Nutmeg had wandered back in to the room to check out what was going on. Tom and I looked at each other realizing this was not good. We looked up the emergency vet and hauled ass over there. Too much money later we had X-rays and blood samples and her in a splint on drugs. He thought maybe there was a fracture there but wasn’t sure…. he wasn’t familiar with how her leg looked before her surgery as it didn’t look NORMAL on the X-ray he would let the diagnosis be made by our own vet but he had ruled out any other new injury or dislocation.  As this was something like 4:00 am in the morning before we were finally out of there we had him keep her so we could grab a tiny bit of sleep before picking her up before 8:00 am  when they closed and drive her up to our own vet who didn’t open until  9:00 am. Very LONG HOUR in the car with a cat who is MAD about wearing a splint and on some mood altering drugs. He said it wasn’t pain that was making her so angry.

Cinny after seeing the overnight emergency vet...
Taken in the exam room waiting for our wonderful Vet

When our Vet saw her his face was grim. He called us into the exam room and showed us the X-rays. Yes indeed her leg was broken again and then he pointed out the rod and asked if we had been told about this. This what? He pointed to a line on the rod and showed us a defined line across it which lined up with the fracture on the bone, the bone that had formed to fill in the pulverized space that had been there 7 years previously.

She had broken the Mother-effing steel rod made for a dog.

We all exchanged looks. This wasn’t good.

Doc then said he could MAYBE be able to pull out the top part of the broken Pin and would be able to shove several smaller pins in to replace it, but they would need to be pushed further down than the break. He didn’t know how much room there would be and if he would be able to get in enough pins. He knew she wouldn’t tolerate a splint, or a cast or anything a normal animal would.  She would make it worse. He told us that he had kept that original plate on his desk for several years and wondered over it, trying to figure out how a cat enclosed in a plastic dog kennel could break steel. A cat that weighed less than 8 lbs. Cinny had made such a lasting impression with the Staff there. They all loved her, she is extremely likeable and exasperating at the same time. They all knew her almost as well as we do. Cinnamon wasn’t normal. She is one for the record books.

Most likely Cinnamon would end up going through this surgery, he would most likely not be successful in getting enough pins in… and would end up amputating,  if he was by a slim chance able to get the pins in there he didn’t know how they would hold if she wouldn’t take a splint (which she won’t she had already started to gnaw off the temporary one and cause herself more pain) and after that he would then have to operate again and amputate. The other option was to amputate right away.

We agonized over this, oh boy you have no idea. Did we try with a slim chance it would work, put her through perhaps more multiple surgeries with the amputation being the end result anyway or just go right there. Part of me wished that she had already had that amputation 7 years ago… I was somehow more prepared then but then I thought to myself that at least she had 7 good years on a leg nobody though would be saved. Cinny’s luck had finally run out. I cried like a baby on the phone with my Vet.  He had called and talked to me several times over the weekend as we all worked our way emotionally through this.

Today Cinnamon lost her hind left leg.  We had gone there in the morning to sign the consent forms and visited with her. She was in a much better frame of mind and meowed with SO MUCH JOY to see me. When the cage was opened she launched herself into my arms. I had to really bite my cheek to not start bawling again. Tom then also came back (he didn’t realize both of us could go) and we both stood and patted her and talked to her and she was rubbing her head on us and patting at us with her paw. Was the hardest thing ever to leave her and go back home. I tried really hard to concentrate on my work. Tom had to leave before we heard and head to his job.

Around 3:00 pm the phone rang.

The surgery went well Doc said, she was being kept sedated as this was Cinnamon after all, and it was better to keep her quiet than to have her do damage to her incision. She was resting comfortably and said the worst with the surgery was over, no complications and she came out of anesthetic very well. Now was the healing part.  I thanked him and said yeah.. this was now the time  to see how she would cooperate. He said, well this is Cinnamon we are talking about, we will need to see how far she will take it.

He’s not sure how long he wants to keep her yet, he will take it day to day until he feels she’s safe as possible to go home. In a couple of weeks she will be all healed up medically but she will take some time I’m sure to get used to being a tripod permanently this time. We’re all going to be there to help her through it.

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