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4 years ago

Repost from Anna Ubarra

Recalling Marco's Accident

Ayear ago, when Marco and Vanna’s kittens were just a few days old, hubby and i had to reluctantly go on an urgent, three-day business trip out of town. Ordinarily, we would either have brought the cats with us (they are such quiet, well-behaved cats, that we had been able to smuggle them into several hotels in the past) or brought them to the home of one of our siblings. However, since Vanna had just given birth, we thought it would be less stressful for her and her brood not to be taken out of familiar surroundings. Our sister agreed to visit them at noon each day to make sure they were fed, watered and had clean litter boxes and a bit of human company. However, our second day away from home, i received a frantic call from my sister informing me (between sobs) that Marco is at the hospital as he had apparently fallen out of our window (we live on the fifth floor of a bilevel condominium, so that's approximately a ten-floor drop) during the night. 
The guard notified our sister about the accident when she returned that noon to visit the cats. Although Marco had no nametag, the guards thankfully knew Marco was ours because i would alternately bring Marco or Vanna with me when i go out to buy pan de sal. Apparently, the previous midnight, a vigilant roving guard on duty heard a faint meowing in the parking lot and soon found a bloodied cat weakly trying to drag itself from the ground. Knowing that several veterinarians from Vets in Practice (VIP) Hospital lived in the condominium, the guards sought their help. Thankfully, the kind-hearted Dr. Maurice, though already tucked in for the night, did not hesitate to bring Marco to the VIP Hospital. (He did not even change from his pajamas) for prompt medical attention.

I hurriedly returned to Manila and fervently prayed to God during the seven-hour bus trip to spare my beautiful baby boy. I went straight to VIP Hospital where i met my sisters and talked to the veterinarians. When i went in to see Marco, he feebly tried to stand up and wag his tail at me. He looked like he was run down by a truck, with only one fang visible, bandaged limbs and mangled jaw hanging limp, stained with dried blood (although i could see there had been diligent efforts to clean him). Based on the x-rays and laboratory examinations, Marco's jaw was broken in two places. Two of his paws were fractured. He also sustained internal injuries. He was running a fever. He had a tube inserted into his nose, and there were several pouches of liquid dripping through IVs, hanging by his cage. His eyes had lost their luster and he was evidently struggling not to fall asleep while i was there. I called up hubby and held my celphone to Marco's ear so he could hear him sing his own song. (Yes, Marco and Vanna each have their own original songs that we sing to them.) Marco noticeably perked up as much as a severely injured cat could when he heard hubby's voice. 

The doctors and staff were honest but hopeful. There was no certainty that Marco can be saved. The tests made were preliminary. We would know in a few days the extent of the internal injuries. From another vet, we learned of the possibility that Marco's sight might also be affected, or that he might have neurological deficits due to the accident. His paws would likely heal in time. As for the jaw, the hospital has previously successfully repaired broken jaws, but so far, they have dealt with only single breaks. Marco could not eat and will get weaker as the trauma sets in. He must be confined to the hospital until he musters enough strength to undergo surgery. 

I went home to Vanna and her kittens, whose eyes were still shut tight. I could not help but cry. Should the worst happen, these babies would not even have the chance to see their daddy. 

For the next month, hubby and i would meet daily at the hospital direct from work and spend as much time as we can with Marco (until the end of visiting hours), grooming him, telling him stories, singing to him, and even showing him pictures of Vanna and the kittens. Later, when he was able to eat, we would take turns feeding him. Members of our extended family also took time to visit Marco at the hospital and prayed with us for him to live.

Marco was given antibiotics, steroids, vitamins, liver tonics, pain medicines, etc. He occasionally had ice packs under his bed to bring down his on and off fever. Every few days, he would undergo laboratory tests to monitor his condition. Still, he seemed to be worsening and the doctors could not say when he could finally undergo surgery. They also could not assure us that the proposed surgery would be successful, let alone safe. Marco meanwhile would no longer stand up and barely responded to stimuli. This prompted hubby to have a heart-to-heart talk with the vet. 
4 years ago

If Marco is in so much pain and if there was no assurance of a successful surgery, then wouldn't it be more merciful to put him to sleep? Thankfully, the vet managed hubby's expectations by explaining how slow the recovery period is for the kinds of injuries Marco suffered. Given time, Marco might just be able to recover well enough for him to have a decent quality of life.Uttering a prayer, we decided that Marco deserved a chance, however vague that was. Although the whole matter was a very expensive proposition (i had never spent anywhere near that much money for my own health), nevertheless, we reasoned that money can be earned, a life cannot. 

Miraculously, Marco eventually improved enough for him to undergo surgery. Dr. Nielsen Donato performed the surgery. I witnessed only the tail-end of it, with Marco's jaw being sutured already. When they wheeled him out of surgery, he was still asleep. i was told that i needn't stay yet, since it would take another two hours before he wakes up. I dared not leave him because i didn't want him to wake up without a friendly face to greet him. Twenty minutes later, Marco began to stir, and, after opening his eyes to find me, he rested his head on my palm and went back to sleep. 

About a week after his surgery, Marco was cleared for discharge to further recuperate at home. Although it was a very difficult job taking care of Marco (he had half a dozen medicines to take, had to have his temperature taken every day, force-fed with a syringe, plus his bed liner had to be changed regularly as he could not stand up yet to poop and pee. In addition, he needed cleaning every time he eats and takes medicine), we thought he would be less stressed if he was surrounded by the comforting sights and sounds of home (not the least of which are his sons, who lovingly groomed him and slept beside him throughout his recovery period at home), so i took several days off work to take care of Marco. 

We had to take Marco back to the hospital after a week as he looked like he had taken a turn for the worse. His fur was falling in clumps and his paws were swollen. He was also bleeding in places because as he tried to remove the fur from his body (mostly his paws), the wires on his jaw would wound him. As if he wasn't miserable looking enough in the first place with his bony body (he had lost half his weight during confinement), shrivelled dry nose, chinky eyes (he could barely open them as they were always crusted with discharge despite diligent cleaning), he had to lose his fur and look disfigured with his swollen paws!

The vet told us that Marco suffered from allergic reaction to one of his medicines and recommended that he be confined again. It took another week before Marco was cleared once more to recuperate at home. We called him "kitty burrito" as we had to wrap him in a blanket so he wouldn't struggle so much while taking his medicines. We also teased that he was a new cat breed - a chinese sphinx - because he was hairless and chinky-eyed. He reeked of medicines, and Vanna was constantly hissing at him because she didn't recognize his scent. 

In time, Marco began to tentatively use his fractured paws and to eat kibbles. We were so heartened to see that he was putting every effort to get well. Every time we would go back for follow up consultation, Marco showed steady improvement, gaining back the pounds he lost, growing back the fur that fell and recapturing the vitality he had prior to his accident.

After several follow up consults, it was such a relief to hear Dr. Nielsen declare that Marco need only to finish his remaining medicines and that was his last consultation. Marco's recovery had begun! 

Dr. Nielsen is such a blessing to us. This brilliant vet had not only been able to successfully repair Marco's jaw, he also gave us a discount for the surgery, waived his consultation fees, and looked genuinely happy when Marco took his few tentative steps with his paws. He had fondly called Marco "Evil Knievel" for his stunt and "Miracle Cat" for having survived his accident. 

Dr. Maurice is also very dear to us. Aside from having rushed Marco to the hospital, it was Dr. Maurice who had taken the risk to give us hope that Marco might just be able to recover from his accident. He also asked his fellow vet, Dr. Dan, to visit Marco at home in the middle of the night when hubby thought he was at the brink of death. (Well, apparently, it was playacting on Marco's part to hoard more attention - Marco started acting normal the moment we let Dr. Dan see him. What a pretender!)

The other vets, nurses and handlers at VIP all worked so diligently to ensure that Marco would recover, but there was one special nurse that Marco favored most of all. Her name is Clarisse. Clarisse is a registered nurse who used to work for a tertiary hospital for humans. Like her colleagues at VIP, she is a genuine animal lover who sees her work not only as a means to earn a living but an advocacy and a calling. For instance, when Marco unfortunately had to spend his first birthday at the hospital, Clarisse had made (with latex gloves) makeshift balloons with "happy birthday" greetings and placed them on Marco's cage. During his recovery period, she also let Marco out of his cage a few minutes each day so that he could have some exercise. Clarisse also made the extra effort to see that Marco remained interested in food to aid his recovery - even bringing him Ensure and sometimes, sharing her chicken or fish meal with Marco whenever he refuses to eat his AD Hill's Prescription food. Even after Marco's treatment officially ended, Clarisse would visit Marco at home to see how he was doing. She calls him "bestfriend marco". 

4 years ago

Today, Marco is such a beautiful, sweet, happy, healthy cat. Unless one looks closely at his mouth, one would never guess that he ever encountered such a life-threatening accident. Looking at him, no one could doubt that spending the time, money and other resources we had to give him a chance to survive had been worth it!

4 years ago

Oh no, what a horrible thing to have happened.  I am so tore up reading this.  I was so sorry to hear about the heart-to-heart talk.  I'm guessing you did what you thought best for him.  Dern, life has so many heartbreaking events.  I'm so sorry and wish things could have been different.



4 years ago

Sorry I posted before the rest of your post showed up.


I'm so sorry he had to suffer as long as he did, but so happy it turned out he recovered.  What a miracle love and medicine made..



4 years ago

What a miraculous recovery! Thank you for sharing your story of Marco.

4 years ago

A happy ending...

4 years ago

thanks for sharing your story Anna, Marco was a brave cat, who lost one of his 9 lives, but was nursed back to health by caring vets, nurses , yourself and your husband, and Marco's own little family, Marco is a beautiful cat with a happy long life in front of him, xwendy kx

4 years ago

Thank you for sharing that story. It was very heartbreaking to hear he had to go through this and a long process of healing but it was so touching to know the many people that wanted to help Marco. It is also something we can learn from, never give up and the power of love our beloved pets can show.

4 years ago

thank you for this, it made me cry but glad you didn't give up on him. give him a headbutt from stripes & me.

4 years ago

thank you all for the post>>>> you were all right just never ever give up..... im too was so touched by the story of marco that i think i must share to other (and this was the perfect group)..... anna was right money was nothing compared to the life of your beloved family member.... living in a third world country i was amazed that there were these people who were willing to help and save a life of a dying cat.... from the efforts of the guard on duty, the nurse and vets and his owners truly no thing was impossible and im sure that's the reason why marco hold on in his life.... he realized he was not alone in his battle to survive.... 

marco recovering at home

marco during confinement

marco a year after his accident 

Thanks and Godbless 

4 years ago

This was a very touching story Anna, so glad that Marco has made a full recovery and that now you would have never known what happened. So sorry he had to suffer in the beginning but looking at his picture now he looks very happy. Long live Marco!!!!

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