Friday, December 11, 2009
Just got back from spending the entire day at the vet's office. My oldest cat, who is around 16 years old, hasn't been looking good lately, so I wanted to get him checked out. I figured maybe he had asthma or high blood pressure or something. Something he needed a pill for.
So the vet looks at him and says she needs to run a battery of tests. That unless it's worst-case scenario, they'll just go slow and gently give him tests and X-rays throughout the day. You know, unless he's got that big tumor in his lung or an enlarged heart or something catastrophic like that, in which case they'll contact us right away and have a Talk.
Within twenty minutes of leaving him there, we get the call to come back to the vet's office.
He has congestive heart failure. We can keep optimistic, give him some pills and see if they make a difference in the short-term. An emergency cardiologist will give a more specific prognosis, with a list of suggestions. But the overall idea is: he's quickly nearing the end of his life.
I have so much history bound up with this cat (Thomas). He's been such a good cat. I have three cats, and none of them purrs as loud or as strong as this one. It's ironic that he's dying of an overly large heart.
Sometimes you have conflicting emotions regarding pets. Part of you is like: this is an animal. This is not a human. This animal is old. This is the natural process of life. Be rational about this.
And then part of you is like falling apart. It's all about the cat. And it's all about all those years of life you've spent with the cat. It's about an era of your life quickly closing up. It's all about one of the few consistent elements of a large section of your life possibly disappearing.
He's lying down now on a pile of comic books. Cats love lying down on comic books. They're smooth and cool. I've prepared him a bowl of food. He's not eating it. He looks completely drained and exhausted. He's been looking utterly exhausted for a while now, for weeks. The most spry I've seen him was when we came to pick him up today, while he was in the oxygen tank. He was like: here I am! Take me home, please. Let me gesture more so you don't miss me and perhaps forget to take me home.
I had adopted him as a baby from a man giving away kittens on a street corner. The old man cautioned as he handed me the gray kitten: "Don't be one of those people who'll take home a kitten and then abandon it when it's no longer cute." Now, the issue is how to make Thomas's end-of-life the most comfortable and secure.
I'm glad me and Thomas have made this journey with each other.
Posted by Verge at 5:29 PM