January 30, 2012. The night we adopted "Cheetoh" (Now Chester) Love from the very start
But we started to worry. He couldn't lay in any other position, never played, never ate, and was always sick. We'd been taking him to a vet since the day we got him, but they were never helpful. (Note the little heart shape on the top of his head)
4 months later, we switched vets and found out Chester had been hit by a car sometime in the past. He had a chronic diaphragmatic hernia and he needed expensive and risky surgery to live a full life, so we packed up and drove to Washington State University
The surgery went alright, but he crashed soon after. His blood pressure dropped to near dead levels, and he was in the ICU for six terrifying days with someone literally watching only him for 24hrs/day. We camped in a park/in our car while we waited. Visiting twice a day.
If anyone has a similar issue and it's possible, go to WSU. They are probably the best people in the world and damn good vets. They fell in love with Chester instantly, and made him a custom eye mask out of gauze so he could get some sleep and recover.
The surgeon told us that based on Chester's cracked pelvis and the way it was fused, he'd been hit by a car at least a year before the surgery. So he was living on the streets in this condition for at least 7 months. The strength it took to stay alive for that long while being basically paralyzed, I will never understand.
Finally got to come home. Lots of heat packs for faster recovery. He weighed basically nothing at this point and was so feeble. It was equal parts adorable and heartbreaking.
His strength started to come back, but because of the blood pressure crash, blood couldn't get to his back right foot, and a week later, the foot started to die
We were able to save most of his foot, but the outside toes had to come off. We couldn't afford more surgery, so we held an online fundraiser.
three weeks later, the surgery was paid for and Chester had two less toes. Edit: This was done back home with equally awesome vets.
I had to change his bandage alone sometimes, so Chester ended up angry and in a towel while I cleaned his foot and made a new bandage three times a week.
Sometimes he got to clean it himself.
Because of his car accident, his organs were smashed against his lungs, making it impossible for him to lay on his back before the first surgery. Now, he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants.
His foot is fully healed, he can sleep comfortably, and he's gained 2 kg since his stomach can now expand properly.
He can even be a big bully when other cats come to stay for a week.
A year later, healthier than ever, happy and loved. We made him an adoption day pillow as a present and as homage to the AMAZING people who saved his life at WSU.