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Eye-ing Buffy 2

Dec. 2006

On a mid-August late Sunday afternoon while I was watching a Cubs game & Buffy was resting on the window shelf behind me, I noticed with alarm some clear tears coming from the eye. She was keeping it half-closed & still the tears were oozing out. The tears continued through the evening & into the night.

Neither of us slept much that night. It was apparent to me that not only was the tearing due to an ongoing irritation, she was also in some degree of pain. Because as she curled close by my side, eyes closed & seemingly resting, her tail was in continuous motion, twitching & waving & swishing, up & down & sideways, beating on the bed. MOST abnormal behavior.

May 2007

See, the thing about cats (& dogs) is that while tail wagging is indicative of some kind of excitement, it's not necessarily happy excitement — it can also indicate anger or distress. I had no doubt Buffy's tail was telling me she was feeling considerable discomfort, at the least. And when toward morning she began to emit seconds-apart & sotto voce'd "mehs," I knew it was serious.

So I got an appointment at the vet's & off we went. But even after peering closely into her eye, he was unable to discern what was wrong. He speculated there might be a detached lens or retina or something, but said there were cataracts that obscured his view and unfortunately he lacked the specialized instruments to see better. Which meant our only chance for diagnosis & cure was a visit with the animal ophthalmologist. In Lansing.

May 2007

Now I could have no hesitation about making that 2-hr. trip. Not given poor, stoic Buffy's obvious pain. The vet gave us some all-purpose eyedrops to alleviate her immediate distress & the reference I needed to contact the eye vet. So I made the earliest appointment possible, administered the eyedrops & waited. Fingers crossed.

And got prepared as best I could by thoroughly exploring the eye vet's very informative website, The Animal Ophthalmology Center, memorizing the map & directions to Lansing, as well as Googling animal ophthalmologists & detached lens/retinas & anything else eye-related I could think of. Also sorted through & printed out various photos I'd taken of Buffy over 3½ yrs., closeups that I hoped could assist in making a diagnosis. And anxiously watched her as the eyedrops seemed to work just enough to make her eye tolerable over the next 2-3 days.

May 2007

Early Thursday morning Mac, who had volunteered to drive, picked us up & off we went. Buffy was not thrilled. She mewed off & on. Periodically tried to claw her way out of the carrier I held on my lap throughout the long drive. And once we got there, really, really, really DID NOT WANT to leave its shelter. But considering her ill condition, the length of the journey & her confinement, she did much, much better than I'd feared.

It helped that the veterinary technician who saw us first was welcoming and able to carefully & gently extract Buffy for some preliminary tests. And then David Ramsey, the eye vet — a gentle & personable guy — examined her. Using a Slit-Lamp Biomicroscope to peer into the eye & a Tonometer to detect eye pressure (for Glaucoma), in all-too-short order he had a diagnosis.

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