Apr. 1st, 2010

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Tinker went back into the hospital Tuesday night because he had started to not eat again and had really not come out much from under the china cabinet. He was looking kind of spacey and slightly jaundiced, which turned into really spacey and extremely jaundiced by the time he was admitted.

At this point, it is evident that the drug treatment we were using in case it was a liver infection is doing absolutely nothing, which means this is not a liver infection that is being dealt with and is, instead, lymphoma.

As I've said before, to treat the lymphoma, we would have to have a definitive diagnosis and to do so, biopsies would have to be performed on each organ that's being affected. That kind of surgery is way more invasive than I and the vet are comfortable with, given Tinker's age and his relative condition at the moment. And treating the lymphoma would be a crap shoot even beyond that because this just wasn't caught early enough. Putting him through the hell of chemo for what would most likely only be a handful of extra months is senseless and selfish. It just wouldn't be right.

As much as it pains me to admit it, and Lord knows that this seriously fucking hurts to make this call, I'm going to let him go. He's still at the vet's office, getting fluids and eating like a champ and probably being cooed over by the vet techs because he's such a ladykiller. And I'll be picking him up tomorrow to bring home, where he will only receive palliative care. When he goes into another decline, which I'm thinking won't be long, I'll make the call to have him euthanized.

Making this decision is probably one of the harder things I've had to do. The other two cats, Misty and Mittens, died on their own (and Mittens did it at the vet's, while we were waiting for test results to come back). Nympho being put to sleep was a sudden, no turning back he's dying on the table, kind of thing. All of those deaths hurt me like the loss of very dear friends, but they were all so expected. And I never in a thousand years ever expected Baby to outlive them all. I thought it was going to be me and Tinker for the long haul, that he was going to be an only cat for a stretch of time and he would revel in being the Only One To Get Love And Belly Rubs.

The idea of him not in my life leaves me cold.

No more morning headbutt hellos and birdy trills. No more hearing him hollering in the background to be picked up and paid attention to whenever the Engineer called me. No more tail jitters when he was so happy he could do nothing but dance in place. No more mean drunk catnip benders or having to file my nails in the bathroom because the nail file freaked him out. No begging for cereal milk. No finding him curled against me in the mornings and dozing with my arm wrapped around his fuzzy, warm bulk. No more waiting for his single white eyebrow to grow back in or trying to touch the black spot on his tongue when he yawned. No Tinker songs as performed by the Engineer and no marching on Poland in the middle of the night.

His personality was so large that it seemed as if there was always another person who lived in the apartment. And even though you're not supposed to play favorites, out of all the cats I grew up with, he was the one who always had a slightly bigger place in my heart. He was sometimes bad and slightly misunderstood. He raised hell and got into a lot of trouble.

I've written and deleted the same paragraph over and over just now because I sound so incredibly wanky. It boils down to something very simple that the Engineer said to me on the phone tonight: he was my special guy and I was his favorite person.

I don't want to do this and it's going to break my heart, but it's my responsibility and it's Just What Should Be Done. It's just selfishness at this point, after knowing there really isn't any hope of recovery.

So, the next few days or however long this takes, are going to be hard. We're stopping all medication except for one pill, which is only meant to keep him relatively comfortable and maybe help his appetite a little. When the next decline comes, and given the past pattern, I'm thinking maybe a week before I start to see a noticeable difference, I'll make the appointment and bring him in.

I keep kicking myself for not having a cancer panel ran back in February, when we were thinking it was probably his teeth that were causing him to not eat. The vet had suggested it as a vaguely possible cause, but given the shape Tinker's mouth was in (it was apparently pretty bad), he was fairly convinced it wasn't the cause of everything. If I had asked for those tests to be run, we would have caught the lymphoma early enough to be able to treat it. But since I didn't do that, it went for so long that now it's too late. The Engineer told me that I shouldn't think like that, and so does the doctor, because we were just going with the most obvious answer that had all the road signs pointing at it. A common thing to happen to cats his age, their teeth going bad and causing them to not eat. It also could have been any number of other things causing the not eating that we also didn't test for.

I hear all that and I agree, I really do. But, I still have this little worm in my brain telling me otherwise. I feel helpless in the face of this disease and spun by the whole situation because we had a good few years where nobody died and everything was great.

I keep pinwheeling between being incredibly despondent over the entire thing and then feeling like a giant douche for being so moribundly maudlin.

I hate this. Everything about it.

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thejunipertree

January 2011

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