Monday afternoon, after we were safe at my folks' house, I knew I was coming down with something. My mom gave me some extra C vitamins, and we crossed our fingers.
Wednesday night as I prepped for work the next day, I started to have vertigo. At first I thought it was just some temporary light-headedness, and joked a little about it. By the time I retired to bed, it was pretty nasty.
Also on Wednesday, I called the vet and scheduled Inkwell's annual wellness visit. He was due for his annual rabies vaccine and sometimes they give other needed medications, like deworming and such. Because I would be at work, we decided that Eric would take Inky in.
When I woke up on Thursday, I had serious vertigo. I had forgotten to set my alarm, so Eric came up and woke me about 6 a.m. and as soon as I sat up the entire room slanted to the right. Terrifyingly. After several tries, I managed to get to the bathroom and deal with morning stuff. I thought maybe a shower will help and took my shower. By the end of it I was so nauseated I couldn't stand. I fell back into bed. Once the room stopped moving, I called my boss to tell him the bad news. I hoped it would go away quickly, but it didn't.
When Eric took Inkwell off to the vet, I struggled downstairs, nearly falling in the process which would've made me feel really stupid for waiting until Eric was gone. I needed to have something for breakfast, so I scooped up a bowl of yogurt and sat in my chair. It took a good ten minutes before I could eat the yogurt, and then I didn't want anything else.
Inkwell and Eric came back, Inkwell looking distressed. Eric said the check-up had gone fine, so we let the cat wander the house as usual. A little while later I noticed Inkwell was drooling heavily. I stumbled over to him and wiped the drool away and checked him, he didn't seem too upset. After the third time I wiped drool off his chin, I called the vet. They said the topical dewormer that they gave him tastes very bitter, but is harmless, and drooling would be an expected response. If I was worried, I could bring him in so they could monitor him. I knew he would be more comfortable at home, so I watched him carefully while I was awake.
Which wasn't much of the afternoon. Once I figured out the vertigo wasn't going away, I took myself to bed (with difficulty: the stairs kept moving when I tried to climb them). I ended up sleeping for several hours, but when I woke up the vertigo was much less intense. I decided that if I still had any vertigo in the morning, I'd go to the doctor. If not, I'd go to work. I could feel some pressure in my right ear, so I figured it was a minor sinus or inner ear infection. I've had both before, and what usually happens is either: wait and see, you'll heal yourself or here's some antibiotics, make sure to use them all. I'm not keen on using antibiotics unless they are strictly necessary, so I hoped it would be wait and see.
Inkwell seemed a bit better last night. He was clearly disturbed by the drool, but he ate his dinner and seemed mostly ok. In retrospect, he was showing definite signs of anxiety. I was just too preoccupied with my own problems to notice.
This morning I got up and felt... well, not fine. I had a terrible stomach-ache and that head pressure was still there, but otherwise I was ok to go. So I got ready for work. I noticed Inkwell looking confused. He seemed to have vertigo himself. I tried to comfort him as much as possible. He wasn't drooling, so I just assumed it would pass off.
I spent about two and a half hours at work before my stomach said no, no more! and I headed home for what I thought would be a long lunch. But when I got home, Inkwell was crying. No, he was sobbing. He was giving that deep, throaty cry that he only gives when he's truly upset. And it sounded desperate. He was upstairs, wandering in the Doctor Who room, and seemed surprised when I came and picked him up. I told Eric that I was taking him to the vet RIGHT NOW because he was drooling again and shaking. I got him into his carrier, and he was shaking so hard I couldn't carry it by the handle.
Eric called the vet to let them know I was coming and I zipped over there as fast as I could safely drive. Once inside, the doctor examined him, noting his panicked breathing, shaking and drool. She also did an eye test and told me that Inkwell has gone blind.
I was thunderstruck. I felt like a horrible cat mom. I should have taken him to the vet yesterday when they said. I should have taken him in this morning when he looked like he had vertigo. I should have worried more. The poor cat.
She said they would put Inkwell on IVs for fluids and run some tests. The doctor also wanted to check with the maker of the topical dewormer and see if there were any known side effects that could cause this. I was superfluous in the relatively tiny vets office... besides, I was feeling like I was going to throw up from my own illness... so I reluctantly left him there and went home. Then I felt absolutely miserable for quite some time while waiting for an update call.
Eventually the vet called to let us know that they had Inkwell on IVs and medication, and the x-rays were normal except for a lot of air in his stomach from his panicked panting. The bloodwork was normal, too. The maker of the dewormer said that when cats were tested with full tubes of the stuff given orally, they sometimes reacted with drooling and tremors, which were never fatal and usually passed within 24 hours. Blindness was not a side-effect.
The vet said she was going to put Inkwell on a blood pressure monitoring system as soon as another cat, which was under anesthesia, was done using it. She suspected hypertension, possibly set off by the reaction to the dewormer, was causing the blindness. She didn't tell me whether or not it would be temporary.
So after, I started feeling really awful again. My stomach and my head are screaming in pain. I called in sick for the rest of the day. Fortunately, there wasn't much to do. Unfortunately, there was one assignment that sounded kind of fun. If only it were next week.
Now I'm waiting for the vet to call again. From what she said, Inkwell may be spending more time at the vet's office than here. I don't know if he'll be home this weekend. She also said not to worry about the financial side, that she's sure the makers of the dewormer will compensate the vet for Inkwell's stay. I suppose that's great, but I really just want my cat back, happy and goofy.
I'll update this post when I hear more.
Update, 3:25 p.m.: Inkwell is responding well to muscle relaxant and IV fluids. He seems to be getting some of his sight back, as he's growled a little at other cats in the room. I'm allowed to visit him before 5:30 p.m., but he's probably going to have to stay overnight to keep up the fluids and medication and let the bad stuff he reacted to get out of his system.