Save Nermal








Who is Nermal?

NOT the short version

Nermal looking at camera
Nermal with his cast (blue thing on left) days after first surgery

24-Jun-2003: Nermal is a kitten of approximately 13 weeks of age. When he was about 9 weeks of age, I found him on a stretch of US Highway 27 between Tallahassee and Havana, Florida. He was laying in the middle of the south-bound slow-lane as we passed north-bound. Amazingly, I saw the little tuft of black furr no bigger than my hand in the opposite road way, across a wide median, while travelling a good 70MPH. After commenting to my passengers about how disgusted I was to see a kitten in the road, we debated for a few seconds on his possible condition. Not entirely convinced that he had yet been run over, I swung my car around and sped towards him.

I was behind a red car which, I can only imagine, narrowly missed hitting him. As we came closer we saw him lift up his head and look right at me. "Holy &*$!, he's alive!" was all I could say. I pulled up on his location, stopped my car, and had the hopes of reaching down to snatch him up, only he was no longer there. Fearing that I might have run him over, I first looked under my front tire, but found no trace. Then I noticed him running under my car towards to back. I raced around to my rear passenger wheel, into which he was now snugly confined. Of course, this had to be the side of the car with the exhaust pipe; I began fighting against his scratches and hisses, alternating burning myself on my hot brakes and hot exhaust.

All of this in the middle of the highway! I finally secured him and wrapped him in a shirt that I happened to have in my trunk. His face was bleeding, and it appeared to be coming out of his nose. This gave us all the impression that he had taken a fatal blow. Closer inspection revealed that his nose and forward jaw had deep lacerations, and these were the source of the bleeding.

Being that this occurred on a Sunday -- Memorial Day Weekend, no less -- the closest animal hospital was closed. We continued our travel to Bethel, Georgia, where students from the Florida State University Film School were waiting for us as additional cast in a film project. All the way I called around frantically on my cell phone in an attempt to reach any animal hospital which might be open. I discovered that my only choices were the emergency clinic on Thomasville Road or one just around the corner from my apartment; both a good 35 miles back in Tallahassee.

I coordinated with the director and producer to allow me to return to get the kitten medical attention. Such time was granted, and I proceeded to haul ass back to Tallahassee.

That day I learned that his leg had been broken at the knee. The growth plate had separated from his left femur. I had him scheduled for surgery that Wednesday, committing myself to adopting the poor animal, and assuming his bills. My girlfriend also agreed to this situation.

His surgery went well. He had two pins placed into his knee to reattach the separated growth plate. He would remain in a cast for five days, then have stitches removed at 14 days. The doctor commented that even as small and as soft as his kitten bones are, he was able to successfully set the pins, and he gave a high-spirited prognosis.

Nermal has since lived back and forth between the animal hospital and home. He has undergone physical therapy to help regain full range of motion in his leg. I have a two year old cat named Hermes, who is a bit of a loner. He was not too thrilled about our newest addition, and he really does not quite know how to play with a kitten -- least of all one as delicate as Nermal -- but he has come to warm up to the little bugger.

To prevent Nermal from injuring himself, and to prevent over-activeness with Hermes, we have kept him isolated, and supervise all interaction the two cats have together. Aside from the dismayingly slow progress with his physical therapy, we thought everything was going well... until yesterday.

When I came home for the afternoon to check on him, I found that he was limping on his left leg, and that it was suddenly able to bend to its fully-bent position. However, he was crying at every touch to his leg. Considering that just the evening prior he could barely bend his leg past 90-degrees, I called the vet. He expressed concern and asked me to bring Nermal in to see him.

After a couple of hours waiting, I was told that his tibial crest had detached from his tibia. This is to which the tendons and ligaments around his knee attach. To complicate matters further, the X-Ray showed an incredibly small piece of bone with which the doctor would have to work -- too small even for the smallest pins available. We theorized that the initial trauma which had broken his knee could have weakened this spot to be predisposed to such later breakage. Between the physical therapy necessary to restrengthen his muscles and other forces of just being a kitten, it finally just gave way.

So this leaves us where we are now. Nermal is due for surgery tomorrow. The doctor spoke with a specialist in Atlanta who has given us a glimmer of hope. He says that the crest is actually much larger than what shows in the X-Ray, a large portion of it being cartilage (which does not show up in the X-Ray.) That being said, there are a couple of procedures which may work on this situation.

The Leon County Humane Society has contributed $25 towards our plight, and the doctor has been performing his surgical services at reduced rates. But even with all of this, we, my girlfriend and I, are beginning to feel the twang of financial strain. She is a Ph.D. student who recently started working a state job, and I am an unemployed network administrator maintaining my bills by doing odd-jobs around town while trying to develop my own business.

Initially I invested $180 of money what I did not have (literally -- I wrote that on a bad check!) Afterwards we were able to qualify for “Care Credit,” which is a credit program for animal owners. Even though we have a high limit on this credit account, we realize that the bills are mounting, and chances are that between boarding, physical therapy, surgeries, medications, and visits, they will get much higher before this is all done.

Today I decided to give this on-line pan-handling a true cause. That is, I am not looking to just waste your money on whatever, and I do not need a boob-job. I do not have an incredible amount of credit card debt on expensive clothing or other items. I have a small kitten who, for all intents and purposes, could have wound up as yet another splotch mark on a highway. And I am asking anyone with a heart and an extra dollar to help him out.

All moneys contributed to Save Nermal will be used to pay off his medical bills, Nermal-related expenses incurred during this time, and the rest will be distributed between the animal hospital in recognition of all of their care, the Leon County Humane Society for their contribution towards his bill, and the Tallahassee Animal Shelter to fund their adoption programs instead of being forced to euthanize animals.

If you think this is a noble enough cause, then please take a moment to contribute whatever amount you can, even if it is just a single dollar.

Document last modified: Wednesday, 25 June 2003 09:40:49 AM EDT