Eight days after I found Van Gogh on my windowsill, we returned to the vet. I was like a new mother, insecure and overly anxious about every little thing. The still frightful wound terrified me.
Tim came into the examining room and asked, "Okay, what are you doing here?"
I replied, "He doesn't seem to be improving very much."
He laughed and put the purring cat on the scales, "Well, he's gained almost three pounds in one week so you must be doing something right."
Tim manhandled Van Gogh, examining him thoroughly. "The second bit of good news is that we've saved his ear."
A burden I hadn't even realized I was carrying fell off my shoulders. "But the wound looks as bad as it did a week ago."
He shook his head. "You're looking, but not seeing." He angled Van Gogh so I was staring into that cavern of blood and mucus. "What do you see?"
"The wound just keeps weeping," I complained. "It's every bit as big as it was before."
"As wide, but not as deep. It's filling in from the bottom up."
I squinted. He was right. The walls of the pit on Van Gogh's head were not as deep or as steep as they had been. At the base, the perimeter of the wound was narrower than at the top. "What about all the goo?"
He grabbed a piece of gauze and swabbed the wound. "Before you apply the antibiotic, wipe it out." Then he turned and gave me a stern look. "Do not use water, peroxide or alcohol on this wound. I don't want anything interfering with the antibiotic's bond."
I nodded, without telling him how often I'd been tempted to apply alcohol--just to dry out the bleeding wound.
"And use only a tiny, tiny bit of the topical antibiotic."
"What happens if I use too much?" I asked anxiously.
"You'll have to pay for more. As it is, I'm going to have the tech mix up another bottle of oral antibiotic. I want you to keep him on it for two weeks total."
He smiled. "You're doing a great job. Come back whenever you need a pep talk. By mid-January, Vincent here will be ready to be neutered." He gave me a rough hug. "Merry Christmas."
Tim charged me just $15 for the antibiotic, no office visit charge. Van Gogh's total medical expenses so far had come to just over $100.
Over the next week, the wound began to close up almost magically fast. It started as a tiny white line of scar tissue where the narrowest part of the wound had sealed together behind Van Gogh's ear. Each day that white line grew by another quarter inch. At ten days, the white line ran the entire width of Van Gogh's right ear.
As he began to feel better, the problems between Van Gogh and Bob multiplied. Bob had stopped throwing himself on the bathroom door, but now Van Gogh was battering the door from the inside. Bob was more subtle. He'd cautiously test the door to see if he could push it open.
More later ...