Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pharmacy for Cats

One of the nicer American stereotypes is that we're optimists, or have the 'can-do spirit,' as one of my friends put it. Clearly I'm very American in this way (or have a stunning lack of insight, take your pick) since most French people would have picked up on the veterinarian's tone when he said, "And make sure the pharmacists separate the medicine into smaller pills for you -- it's their job." I just thought, "Okay, right, I just need to ask the pharmacist to do this, no problem."

I scrounged up our leftover Mopral and toddled on down to the pharmacy where the nice lady told me it was very tedious, mind-numbing work and would cost me twice as much as the medicine itself. It would take at least an hour, she said, and would be very expensive but she would sell me the gel capsules and I could take it home and do it myself. That would be much better, in her opinion.

Do you know those change-counting machines at supermarkets, where you just dump your change in and it counts and organizes your change for you? I had imagined that pharmacists have the same kind of magic machine in back where they dump medicine in and it comes out the other end in an appropriate format. Apparently they don't have one of those things. So I toddled right back home and made a photo journal of my experience, which is perhaps not the most fascinating of subjects but at least you'll know what you missed out on by not going to pharmacy school.

Gather the medicine as well as the gel capsules.

Open up the original medicine capsule and start counting. The prescription said to divide it into four parts.

I won't bore you with my method, but I ended up with 4 groups of 17 with a remainder of 3. This came in useful for replacing the ones that fell on the floor, never to be seen again.

The hardest part was obviously getting the appropriate number of beads into the smaller capsule. Originally I had intended to use a paper funnel, but it immediately proved impossible to remove an entire set of medicine without causing all the other beads to roll off the paper. My next tactic was to just try to shovel them in using the capsule itself:

which worked okay but the beads tended to dart off in different directions. It was kind of like the world's smallest game of pool, with lots of frustration.

Finally I decided to just jam the beads with my finger in hopes that they would stick, and then scrape them off individually into the capsule. I'm pretty sure this violates your basic standards of hygiene, so I sincerely hope this isn't what the pharmacists are doing.

I managed to finish half of the treatment before I turned into Scarlett O'Hara and decided to put the rest off until much, much later.

Now I'll just have to figure out how to trick the cat into taking the stupid pills. Tonight's first treatment of antibiotics was a complete disaster. I've only had to give her pills once before...tranquilizers for the flight over, and I just put them into some hairball treatment and she gobbled it right up. The antibiotics apparently taste much worse, so this technique was a flop and we had to revert to the tried and true technique of trying to shove it down her throat.

The problem was that the damn pill was covered in hairball goop and kept sticking to my fingers. The cat obviously was not being cooperative at this point so the pill would get stuck to her fur, my husband would let go of her and then I'd have to chase the cat down, find the pill, remove the largest clumps of attached fur and try again. I don't know how many times we did this until I managed to successfully fling the pill into her mouth and rub her throat to get her to swallow. Although I did technically manage to get the pill in her mouth, I apparently didn't get it far enough back as she immediately started foaming at the mouth and running around the apartment in distress. Who needs TV when you've got this kind of excitement at home? Tomorrow I think I'm just going to open up a can of tuna and be done with it. Sheesh.


Chris said...

OMG! Sounds tedious!

Anonymous said...

My word no wonder you are stressed out sure hope you don't come down with an ulcer too.
Hope everything else goes better and you have a wonderful weekend.