Izzy's big day
Today is the day Isadora's finally going to have her ear amputated. The chronic infections have gotten to be so bad that her quality of life is severely impacted, and continuing along the same path has become untenable.
The vets are going to begin by amputating her pinna (outer ear), and performing a lateral resection, or cutting away that portion around the ear canal on the outside. Once they get the deformed pinna out of the way, they will actually be able to see down inside and get a better idea of what is going on, something that's been impossible until now because of the extent of deformity of the cauliflower ear.
The vet expects that once she gets in, she is going to find damage all the way down into the inner ear. She expects that the eardrum is ruptured, and that evaluation at that point will indicate that the best course is to make the surgery even more radical, proceeding from the vertical canal into the horizontal canal, and removing the entire middle and inner ear as well.
I'm worried about Izzy--she's currently at a local maximum healthwise, which is why we've decided to go ahead and seize the day surgically--but even with the anemia and elevated white blood count under control at the moment, no one thinks she's an outstanding surgical candidate. They're going to take extra precautions, like putting a catheter in in advance, so if there's an emergency and they need to give her drugs to get her heart rate up, they don't lose minutes looking for a vein. But she's an old cat, with chronic health problems, and she's got the pug nose of a Maine coon cat, so there are just some realities we can't do anything about. I'm worried about the anesthetic risk, and I'm going to be on pins and needles all day until I get the word that she came through surgery ok.
I'm worried that she's going to die on the table, and I so do not want that to happen. I'm really nervous about putting her through surgery. But Mr. thalarctos and I have discussed this at length with both vets, and everyone sees it this way: the only chance for Izzy to have any quality of life at all in her remaining years is to get rid of the source of chronic infection that is causing her such distress. Her ear is so bad, and causing her so many problems, that--as drastic as this surgery is--it is the right thing to do.
I love you, Isadora, and I hope this is going to be all right.
UPDATE, Tuesday evening. It was a long day, with running errands, work, and a project management class at the end. I got the news right before going into class that Isadora had done well in surgery and is recovering. They're keeping her sedated because of the pain from the amputated ear. Once the vet got in, she found that, past the pinna, things were better than she expected, so rather than fully ablating the ear, she just took off the pinna, then cleaned up the ear inside. Izzy considerately spared them the trouble of having to take out her IV by removing it herself. After that long day, I came home and fell asleep. More later about the anatomical details, but it looks like Izzy has set out on a long road to recovery.