On Saturday afternoon, Holly and I went to the vet and picked up Monkey from the hospital. He had been there since Monday, so we were quite happy when we heard the news that we could bring our baby home. However, just because he’s home doesn’t mean he’s out of the woods just yet. His liver is beginning to respond to the treatment and that’s great news, but we still have a long way to go.
With his feeding tube still in place, we have been feeding him every 4 hours by injecting his food directly into his stomach with a syringe. The food is called A/D and it’s a canned food that you can only get from your vet. We mix it with water and then draw it into the syringe. In the morning we have to add antibiotics and supplements into the food. At night, we add just the antibiotics. The vet originally said that we had to do the feedings 4 times a day, but given the amounts of food that we have to give him, it’s worked out to 6 times a day and sometimes as many as 8. It seems every time I turn around, it’s time to give Monkey more food. 😛
Luckily, the procedure is fairly simple. First, I take an empty syringe and draw from his feeding tube. This lets me know how much food is in his stomach. If it’s mostly clear then it’s empty, if food comes out, then he’s still digesting. From there, I take a syringe of food and being injecting his dose. Originally I was using a large syringe that held about 65cc, but the plunger was so sticky that it was next to impossible to use, much less feel any resistance from the feeding tube itself. So I began using two 35cc tubes instead. I can always get the first tube injected, but I have to be careful with the second one, once I feel that he’s getting full. After the food, I have a smaller syringe filled with water and I flush the tube with about 5 – 10cc. This entire procedure takes around 5 to 10 minutes. If he becomes full during the second syringe, then I come back in an hour or two to complete the feeding.
This has thrown my daily routine into a bit of a chaos. With the constant feedings I can’t be away from the house for very long, so I’ve been squeezing client visits in between. Also sleep has been rather sparse as well. Take yesterday for example. I began Monkey’s feedings at 7am and throughout the day he had a total of 7 feedings with the last one starting at 1am. I had a client visit this morning, so his first feeding today was at 6:00am. I figure God is just giving me a taste of what having a newborn is like, so this is good practice. 🙂
So how is Monkey responding to all this treatment? Well, I’m happy to say that he’s doing quite well! We’ve kept him sequestered in the guest bedroom to limit is mobility – we don’t want the feeding tube to pull out of his stomach. He’s been using the litter box regularly and he’s even shown an interest in eating. He hasn’t eaten a lot, but he’s been eating a little more each day. This is fantastic news! On top of all this, he seems to be in good spirits and more like himself.
Today we have another appointment with the vet to check his blood work to make sure that he’s still getting better. There are two levels that they have been testing in his blood. His ALP was at 1037 when we admitted him to the hospital and it’s now at 592 as of Saturday. His ALT was at 658 upon admission and was at 224 when we picked him up. Both should be in the 100 range though for him to be back to normal. We’re hoping that they may be in the 400 range this afternoon.
So how much longer is the treatment? Well, that all depends on Monkey, but we’re expecting to continue this treatment for another 12 weeks. Hopefully it will not take as long since it really impacts what Holly and I can do. If we can’t maintain his feeding schedule, then we’ll have to re-admit him to the hospital. Given the fact that we’ve already spent more than $1000 in the past two weeks, we’re hoping that we can keep him at home as much as possible.
I want to thank everyone who has kept Monkey and our family in your prayers, not to mention the kind words that you have posted either here in comments, or via e-mail. Holly and I greatly appreciate it. Lastly, I took a few pictures over the weekend and you can find them on the moblog.