Diaries of a fighter
On September 24th, Millie was hit by a car on Bridgeman Street in the Great Lever area of Bolton. The car fled the scene leaving Millie in the middle of the road with substantial, potentially life threatening, injuries. Millie is microchipped and wears 2 tags on her, which enabled two ladies to contact her when they ran to her aid 20 minutes after she was hit. Millie was quickly rushed to the vets who concluded she had a shattered pelvis, broken femur and had severely damaged her tail.
The following day, after vets had stabilised her a little, they operated on her femur and found she had severe nerve damage. They felt like she may have to lose her leg as a result.
Her owner Kayley was understandably distraught and, while concentrating on getting Millie to pull through, she also couldn't shake the anger that someone had hurt Millie and just fled the scene leaving her in the state that she was. Having enquired around the area, she found the incident happened just outside a mosque, so she made enquiries to have them check the footage in hope of finding out who did such a thing.
Due to Millie's tail being snapped, vets took the decision to amputate it. Millie got through the operate OK, but was having trouble going to the toilet herself afterwards so a catheter was inserted. The leg that the vets were concerned about sadly wasn't responding still either, so vets feared she might have to have her leg amputated as well in the future. Kayley was devastated when she went to visit Millie, but Millie was being so brave and was mithering for cuddles off both Kayley and the vets. Vets fell in love with Millie, but pulled Kayley aside to ask her a favour....Millie wasn't so keen on the hospital food, so they asked if Kayley could bring some of her fave in. Kayley didn't hesitate to bring in some chicken, which Millie lapped up of course.
Two days after her tail amputation, vets continued to be concerned about Millie's unresponsive leg, although their main concern was her not being able to go to the toilet herself. Unable to go to the toilet herself, vets were to show Kayley how to aid Millie to make her go once she was able to go home. This would happen for around 4 weeks and, if Millie could still not use her bladder herself within that time, decisions would have to made about her future. Kayley refused to give up on her so vets said Millie could have a hole in her stomach, which Kayley would have to wash every time Millie used it to go to the toilet, but explained it would be no quality of life for her and the best option in their eyes, should her bladder not return to normal functioning within the 4 weeks, would be to have her euthanized.
Kayley looked at Millie, so full of fight and will to survive, and easily made the decision to fight for Millie at all costs for as long as she was fighting. Kayley forgot she'd had her tail amputated, she barely noticed when she stood bedside.
Later that night, vets decided to remove her catheter and see if she was able to wee on her own. Nothing! Vets remained concerned.
The following morning, Kayley received a call from the vets. Millie had weed all by herself. It was also Kayley's birthday that day, and she joked about a wee being the best birthday present she could ever ask for...although it was no joke, she meant it! After vets talking about potentially putting Millie to sleep just a day earlier, Kayley was over the moon Millie was proving them wrong - she could do this, and was rising to every challenge she faced.
After Millie shown she was able to urinate herself, vets thought she might be able to continue her recovery at home with regular visits as she was clearly becoming distressed about being caged in unfamiliar surroundings. Staff noted to Kayley how she was very demanding and always wanted cuddles and reassurance and, with other animals to tend to, the love and attention Millie craved could only be found at home so they hoped to get her home as soon as possible. Millie was also being difficult with food, which made Kayley giggle because she knows what Millie is like with her picky eating.
Unfortunately vets later felt it best if Millie stayed an extra night in the end as she had not yet had a number2 since the catheter had been removed. They were still concerned about her unresponsive leg, but admitted it can take a few weeks to see significant change so it was not an immediate concern for them at that time.
All Kayley's attention had been diverted towards getting Millie through this and making sure she was OK, so obtaining the CCTV from the mosque had slipped from Kayley's mind initially. Almost a week later, once Millie had began stabilising more, she turned her attention back to the mosque and chasing up the person who had done this to Millie. Kayley spoke to the mosque, giving them dates, times and the exact location the incident had occurred, and the mosque got to work trying to see if they had captured the incident.
The same day as Kayley thought things had settled enough for her to focus some attention on finding the perpetrator, Millie suddenly took a turn for the worst. Somehow, unbeknown to Kayley or vets, Millie had managed to completely shatter the tendons and ligaments in her bad leg, and it had completely twisted around in her cage. Millie barely flinched as if she had no knowledge of what had happened, or felt a thing. Kayley had to make the decision to amputate the leg, with vets concerned it was now beginning to slow down her recovery and risked becoming infected. Whether due to pain, stress, or just generally being her usual picky eater self, Millie was now also refusing to eat. Kayley was not too worried, as Millie was eating for her and she knew what she could be like with her food. However, vets felt a feeding tube was necessary, especially when Kayley brought her favourite food in and she went towards it, but something seemed to stop her wanting to tuck in.
Kayley was a nervous wreck at the thought of Millie having another amputation and going through major surgery again, but vets reassured her that Millie could still lead a normal healthy life as a double amputee. Kayley felt sad Millie had already lost her big bushy beautiful tail, but was more concerned she made it through her operation. Millie had previously done some feline modelling so, appearance wise, she would look very different from her modelling days. Not that Kayley cared, she just wanted Millie to get through this and come out the end happy, healthy and alive.
Kayley left chicken with the vet, and Millie did eat it later that night. Kayley felt Millie was only being fussy and difficult with her food due to not being at home but vets still wanted Millie to have a feeding tube inserted after her leg amputation.
Her leg amputation seemed to go well, although both Kayley and vets were baffled as to how this had happened when they had already, as they thought, fixed the issue to a degree where it was best left for a few weeks to see if Millie gained any feeling back. The surgeon admitted he had never had such a complication before in all his career. Now, a week after Millie's accident, Kayley began continuously feeling up and down about things. One minute Millie was improving and ready to come home, the next there seemed to be a complication or something go wrong. Although forever grateful vets had saved Millie's life and seen her through 2 major operations safely, some concerns did arise in Kayley's mind over how could such a complication happen in the first place. Vets believed she had injured herself in the small cage she was in as the damage had not shown up on x-rays following the first operation she had to tend to her ligament damage.
After 3 days of being told each day Millie would be coming home, just for them to phone and say she has to stay another night, Kayley began worrying for Millie's wellbeing, especially as vets said she had been pining for Kayley when she left.
Kayley sent vets some chocolate and a massive card to say thank you for everything they had done for her thus far and, ready for Millie's homecoming, Kayley also went out and bought a cage ready for the dreaded cage rest Millie wold be ordered to take when home.
By September the 30th, vets felt the time was finally ready to end Millie home, and asked Kayley collect her around 2pm. Millie had a stable night, although vets were still concerned about her lack of food intake and still insisted she would need a feeding tube when discharged.
Just as Kayley was about to collect Millie to bring her home, she got the call Millie had taken a drastic turn for the worst again. Vets gave Millie a 50% chance of survival this time, and they were very concerned. Millie had ruptured a hernia in her diaphragm, and had been rushed down to surgery for them to operate on her immediately. Kayley later found out that vets had not spotted her hernia initially but, as she gagged when they were inserting the feeding tube, it caused it to rupture.
Millie was supposed to be home by now, but was instead fighting for her life in surgery. Kayley was devastated, and sat crying for 2 hours waiting for news. Finally she got the call - she'd survived! Although not Kayley or Millie's fault, another near thousand pounds was added to Millie's increasing bill, which Kayley didn't notice at that time in her upset and concern for Millie.
Now the 5th major operation in just a week, some people around Kayley and those who were following her story online, began to query if Kayley was doing the right thing when Millie had already been through so much. The last thing Kayley wanted to do was see Millie put through unnecessary suffering, but she knew her little girl. She knew Millie wanted to fight and live, and she knew Millie could do this. The thought she could be blinded by love and hope, to the point she maybe doing the wrong thing for Millie, did begin to haunt Kayley a little at this point.
Millie, yet again, had to stay another night at the vets.
October 1st rolled around, and Millie had had a stable night at last. Her heart rate was a little over what it should be, but vets weren't too concerned given the previous days operation. Kayley popped in to see Millie, but was told she would have to remain at the vets again another night.
On October 2nd she was finally discharged and ready to go home, and Millie seemed so happy to be back where she belonged. However, it would be short lived. Although restricted to her cage at home, Kayley noticed her stiches at the amputation sites looking a little off. After just 1 night at home, Millie was again rushed back to the vets where they were talking about skin grafts and infections, and again they kept Millie at the vets overnight.
Kayley began becoming concerned something wasn't right, so she thought about maybe getting a second opinion from another vets. The skin around her amputation site was struggling to close properly, and the surrounding skin had died and was falling off. Kayley noted Millie seemed in pain at this point too. Vets tried to help the wound heal, but her stitches kept falling out due to the dead tissue. Millie ended up again having to be rushed down to surgery with vets saying there had been a complication.
Through yet another operation, vets concluded she would need her wound dressing changing every 4 days from then on. Kayley had been charged for the complication, with the bill now coming up to £6000. It was suggested to Kayley she start a fundraiser, which she did.
It took vets another 3 days to attempt to close Millie's wound at her tail amputation site, which made Kayley begin to question if Millie was receiving the best treatment. It was felt there had been numerous 'complications', with Millie paying a heavy price each time. Numerous operations to attempt to close the wound afterwards, this was confirmed when Kayley noticed the wounds becoming infected, even though the vet said it was OK and normal. Kayley felt it was now time she needed to get another opinion from another vets as something just didn't feel right.
The new vets determined Millie shouldn't have been turned away as her wound was infected and smelt quite bad also, as Kayley suspected. The new vets reviewed her medication and got to work on planning how to help Millie's wound heal properly. Millie still had her feeding tube in at this point, so the new vets determined it was not needed as she was eating at home.
By the 10th October, Millie was evidently more content. She was eating well and stretching out comfortably in her cage. Just 2 days later, vets determined her wound was good enough to operate on once again and on the 14th she went in to theatre again. Whilst in her operation, surgeons noticed a major problem with the screws in Millie's pelvis. Two had come out, and one was just sticking up out of place. The new vets wondered if there had been any complications with her pelvis, to which the old vet claimed there hadn't been. Kayley wasn't so sure, and was sad to hear that it might cause Millie problems in the years to come but she felt pleased her gut feeling had been right and she went for that second opinion.
10 days later, vets would determine if this latest operation had been a success. It was almost as important as her initial life saving operations due to vets admitting they were running out of options on how to close her wound properly.
As day 10 crept in, Kayley started to notice a difference with the wound looking much cleaner and healthier. Millie also started to want to get out of the cage and have a roam about. Millie wasn't quite out of the woods just yet, but things were looking more positive than they had in previous weeks.
As Millie continued to go back to the vets for check ups and dressing changes, vets began feeling very hopeful about her wound healing perfectly well. Finally she was on the mend physically, but mentally she seemed to be suffering a little. She became well aware of her surroundings when she'd hear cars go by the house, as if it brought it all back to her what happened. She also began shaking in her sleep, which Kayley feared could be a result of all the trauma and stress. Vets put her on gabapentin to help with the shakes and calm her nerves, which seemed to help a little.
By October 27th, Millie was able to have her stitches out and allow the wound to finish it's healing naturally. Although strictly on cage rest for the next 3 weeks still, Millie's wound is healing very well and she seems to be getting her mojo back. She's even been for a small walk outside her cage, and seems to be coping with 3 legs and no tail perfectly well already. In fact, she barely seems to notice they have gone!
As Millie is now perking up more and wanting out of the cage, her sibling Mylah wants in the cage. Usually the two of them would play together, and it seemed they were both missing that. Kayley decided it would be good for both of them, especially for Millie's mental health, to see each other face to face. While Millie relaxed, Mylah would sit in with her to keep her company.
Millie's journey is not completely over yet, but we will certainly be staying in touch and look forward to the day Millie's fur has grown back, and she's running around the house as if nothing ever happened - and she will.
If you would also like to contribute to Millie's extensive treatment, you can do so on this link here.