This past Friday, I lost my furry-kid Gacy.
Getting ready for work, I am interrupted by Companion yelling for me to "get in here!". I can sense the fear in his voice, so I immediately bolt into the baby's room. He yelled for me again. Was he in the kitchen? Was there a fire? What the hell was happening?
I ran into the kitchen to find Gacy laying on the floor, Companion knelt beside him, saying "he just..."fell over!"
I can see that Gacy's belly is massively distended. He is breathing, but not trying to get up or anything else. His belly is growing right in front of my eyes. I call Sissy (my sister) in a panic. She tells me there is an emergency vet nearby. Take him there and she'll meet me. I wake up Dollface (my best friend who is visiting from Texas). She comes with me for support.
We enter the veterinary hospital- this is the most beautiful hospital I've ever been in. Way nicer than people-hospitals, and everyone was so compassionate and concerned. We check Gacy in while the triage nurse takes him back to the exam room.
Waiting...waiting...the nurse emerges and brings us back to the room. The doctor comes in and explains that she can't palpitate anything wrong, but his belly is extremely distended (really? I thought my kitty just had a muffin-top. He looks like he swallowed a flippin' grapefruit, lady!), he's hypothermic, and in shock. Since he didn't ingenst anything out of the ordinary, she recommended x-rays, bloodwork, and a variety of lab panels. $450. Doctor knows I'm in a financial situation, and says the most important would be the x-rays. Start there, and we'll see. I need this to sink in. Dollface and I go for a cigarette.
Doctor comes outside and explains that although it is an extremely rare condition (even rarer in cats), Gacy's stomach had flipped over itself. Nothing coming in, nothing going out. His belly was filling up with stomach gas, and he was suffering. I didn't have much time to make a decision- $3,000-$5,000 for surgery, or put him to sleep. Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod ...I am sobbing at this point.
Aside from the fact that I don't have that kind of money, Gacy is about 15 years old, and I didn't want to put him through all of that. He had a wonderful life and is dearly loved. He was my baby before I had babies. I told Doctor to just stop his suffering. She looked relieved, and told me that was the decision she would have made herself.
They went to prep Gacy. Dollface and I went to smoke again. When we returned, they brought Gacy into the room, with his little IV in his arm. We spent a minute with him, and Sissy volunteered to hold him (I didn't want him to sense my distress).
They let me take him home afterward. The whole drive home, I'm thinking how should I explain this to Jaysen? Would he understand? This could be a great lesson to him about death and dying, and be a valuable tool in understanding safety issues like not running into the street because you don't just get a "boo-boo" from cars. I wanted him to know that although death is a part of life, it is very real, and final.
This was going to take some thought of the best way to approach it.