thejunipertree: (Default)
Also, after Timothy's vet visit this week, I was given the cremated remains of Baby and Tinker, which the vet's office had been holding for me since April. I hadn't been able to bring myself to pick them up, but I couldn't ignore it any longer.

Their loss screams at me every day whenever I see Timothy or Henry Lee. Every time I wake up without Baby's warm, purring bulk smashed against the side of my head; every time I take a bath without Tinker hunting for imaginary fish in the water.


It's amusing that Tinker's box is so much larger than Baby's. I put his teeth in there with his cremains.
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Baby's appointment for euthanization is tonight at 6:30.

I'm not happy about it by any means, but he deserves peace. In another couple of days, as his organs start to fail even worse, it's going to get painful for him and I really don't want to inflict that on his poor, sweet soul. He's always been the most lovingest cat, full of loud purrs and belly rubs and big owl eyes. Making him endure certain further pain does him a disservice.
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Eff you, Petfinder. Seriously.

I had thought I found a good match for me. All black, fairly adult, male. The blurb under his photo said he's sweet and loves to be picked up. Named Hercules. I got quite excited and after some run around about whether he was at the actual shelter, or at the PetSmart hosting the shelter's cats, I was finally able to meet him yesterday.

He seemed cool, very friendly. Started purring as soon as I started petting him, but he seemed a small bit standoffish, almost as if he really couldn't care that there was a potentially devoted skinjob giving him skritches. He flopped over onto his side several times and swatted at my hand, pulling it down to mouth at, but it seemed as if it was done in a playful manner, so I didn't think much about it. I told the shelter I wanted him and we set up a Sunday afternoon pick-up date.

During the same visit, my attention was drawn to another cat there named Linus. He was black and white, mostly white, and was so pointy that he looked as if there was a bit of Siamese or another similar breed in his blood. He was quite gregarious and affectionate, giving me headbutts and pawing at my scarf through the bars of his cage inbetween bouts of raising hell with his newspaper and water dish. I thought about maybe adopting him as well, despite his majority white fur. I pushed away thoughts of investing stock in whoever invented the lint tape roller.

This gets long. )
thejunipertree: (Default)
After an anxiety-ridden night, we took Tinker to the vet this morning as soon as they opened. On the way there, the Engineer sung the Tinker ABCs as he drove and we tried to laugh through our tears about how utterly bad he could sometimes be and how much of a hellraiser he was. The doctor's office was so good to us when we arrived completely unannounced, as they always are, and took me in without an appointment and put us in a quiet room away from the other clients and their shrilly barking dogs.

He passed away quietly and peacefully bare moments after the injection. I feel as if someone has punched me in the chest, but somehow- I am at work. There is an emptiness roaring in my ears. Out of all the pet deaths I have endured over the years, this one is hurting me the most.

Thank you, every one of you, who has allowed me to prattle on endlessly about this. And thank you for all of your thoughts and well wishes, verbalized or not. I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

I may post photos from his long life when I get home tonight, if I'm up for digging them out and scanning them in. I didn't do it for Nympho when he died because I had so few photographs and, at the time, no scanner to speak of. But until then, he's an image of during the evening of Battlecats:

That was supposed to be a helmet, by the way. But, he wrecked it.
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The decline has started.

I'm thinking Monday or Tuesday is going to be the day. It sucks to think about it, but it's breaking my heart to see him like this. His eating has dwindled down again and he just kind of lies around in various parts of the apartment. He doesn't look comfortable, because he's not curling up like a cat does when it sleeps or even lying on his side. He's usually kind of in the same position he is in my icon, only doing paws under, and when he falls asleep, his head dips down to the carpet. Friday night, I contemplated bringing him in Saturday morning, but he ate a bit for me and lapped up some Cat-Sure, so I felt ok about keeping him with me over the weekend. More time to say goodbye and yes, a bit of selfishness. I wasn't ready.

I don't know if I'll ever be truly ready for this, but I know it's undeniable and I know there's no hope. It has to be done and can't be drawn out any more than it already has. He deserves to no longer feel like this, my poor guy.

One thing that's come up out of this has been seriously irritating me though, just absolutely chafing my ass.

See, I started out with five cats. Four were inherited from my mother, so even though I grew up with them (and brought three of the four home myself, over the years), they were technically her cats. Only one was truly mine. And I somehow got the reputation as someone who would take in strays. I don't know how or why, because once I had the five- that was it. We didn't go over that number. But, the knowledge of me having any cats someone gave people the idea that I would want more, so they always came to me first whenever they had, or knew of someone who had, cats needing a home.

Over the years, my five dwindled away to the two I currently have. And people still ask me if I want to take in whatever poor Scarlet Letters of someone else's lack of responsibility that come across their radar. Fine. I get that. I accept the title of She Who Takes In Strays, even I don't actually do that.

But when it's common knowledge that one of my cats is dying and the other isn't too far behind, the proper protocol is certainly not to ask if I want to take in some of the cast offs I've turned down in the recent past.

For one, my cats aren't even fucking dead yet, for Christ's sake. And secondly, when I do get more, I am going to make sure that they are animals that are a good match for me. My mom's cats were a rag tag bunch of felines who absolutely fucking hated each other and in a small, two bedroom apartment, that creates a lot of stress and drama. And pee. Oh god, the pee.

Me being me, I've thought a lot about how I'm going to go about finding new ones and I'd like to actually pick out who I'm going to adopt, rather then just take in any stray that falls into my lap. I've never done that in my entire life, it's always just been an array of cats who made their way into our household through happenstance. Growing up, and even as an adult, we've picked some up off the street and taken them in from other people. I've never gone anywhere to select what I want.

I used to always say that I was going to get a pair of Siamese one day. When I was little, about five years old, we had a Siamese cat named Ming and I remember him being awesome. I love their snakey bodies and how smart and vocal they can be. But, the idea of putting down serious money to a breeder for a cat when there are already so many in shelters that desperately need homes doesn't make me feel all that good. So, I would definitely go the route of a shelter. In the grand scheme of things, taking two or three cats from a shelter is drop in the bucket, but it's something. Some small good I can accomplish in this world is better than no good at all.

In theory, I would also like to try to find a pair that already know each other, that get along. I know cats who need to be adopted in a set have a harder time being placed, so in addition to rescuing from a shelter, I can go the extra step and get ones that are less likely to find a good home. I've even thought about adopting one with diabetes, because I already have so much experience dealing with it and I know they are harder to get adopted as well, but I really don't know if I'm up for living with that type of issue again. It's seriously hard. So, I decided to not rule that out if I found a cat I fell in love with who had the diabeetus, but I'm not going to actively pursue it either.

An all black cat would be cool, as well. They're also hard to place in homes because people, in 2010 nonetheless, still hold absolutely ridiculous superstitions and the shelters in my area are crawling with black cats. Also, they have the added bonus of their fur not showing up quite as badly on my clothes as Baby's fur (he's marmalade and sheds like he's getting a paycheck for it) or like when I still had Nympho (who was a Russian Blue and very heavy-coated).

Boy cats would be preferable too, as I've always had better luck with them being social and non-reclusive. Polydactyl would be pretty sweet too, I've wanted a cat with too many toes just about my entire life. But either of those aren't deal breakers, by any means. Neither is the all black thing. Or the already knowing each other aspect. They're just things I would like.

So, starting from shelter cat and working down to polydactyl, in order of necessity to me, will be how I go about this. Coming from a shelter is paramount and probably the only thing I won't waver on, unless an absolutely dire circumstance presents itself. But, God. If I could find an already bonded pair of all black, male cats and one (or both) of them had too many toes? It would be like winning the goddamn lottery for me.

It might seem a bit strange to already be thinking about this, but it's allowing me to inject something slightly optimistic on the situation. Something to at least kind of look forward to, instead of all this death death and impending death. I did something similar after my mother died when I almost immediately began donating her clothes and getting rid of her interior furnishings from the apartment. Out of practicality, I needed to make room for my own belongings (and to not be forced to live in an apartment decorated solely in her completely horrendous taste). But, I also needed to have some kind of small focus to look forward to, to keep from going completely insane with grief.

I don't know if that's weird or not, or if it's not properly processing the grief. In all of my books on bereavement and death education, the subject isn't touched on so much. The other direction, in which one clings to the memory of the lost loved one for too long to be healthy, yeah. But, not an almost immediate desire to move on. It feels slightly callous almost, to think like this. But, I'm not erasing the person (or in this case, the pets) from my life. I'm simply making room for the next chapter. I would prefer to not have to do these types of things; I'd much rather have the original loved person (or pet) actually remain in my life and not be forced to face their death and the subsequent grief. But, I can't change the fact that mothers usually die before their children and pets normally die before their owners do.

Is that strange for someone to do? Already being emotionally and mentally bent, I'm never quite sure if how I react to situations is the way I should be reacting, or the way most people do. It's confusing and I feel kind of like an asshole for it.
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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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Gods and fucking monsters, today was a huge waste of a day off.

Drove up to the school with the Engineer, when all of this does actually happen, that drive is going to be annoying. The campus seems to be quite nice, notwithstanding its lack of SIGNS on BUILDINGS, but it's not at all like I was thinking it was going to be.

I began the application/transfer process and then fell into a meeting with the head of the department, accidentally. During this brief meeting, I found out two things:

1. I own, and have read more than once, most of the books he had behind his desk. hah.

2. I am missing two classes to get into the program.

Godspit. Chemistry for Society most likely won't qualify for a chemistry prerequisite and my A&P I and Human Biology don't qualify for two years of A&P. This is despite the fact that the Mercer webpage states that the need for A&P I and II can be met with Human Anatomy I, which is the same goddamn class as CCC's Human Biology, which I took.

It wasn't all doom and thunder, however. If I need these classes, I can try to take them over the summer (I think I'm already much too late for Spring) and I won't be hurt by this end-of-March deadline, as it apparently is only a stated means to get students to turn their shit in in a timely fashion. Means nothing.

I was also worried that if I missed the Autumn enrollment, I'd have to wait until Autumn 2011, because the website said part time classes only start in September, as opposed to spring and autumn. But, the department head told me that wasn't true.

After all of this, I came home and passed out on the couch until 10 o'clock this evening. I'm sure I needed it, but it totally wasted my night. Now I'm wide awake at three in the morning, which is rather irritating because I had wanted to get up early and go to the farmer's market for olives, and the market CLOSES at noon.

In never-ending cat news: Tinker has taken up hiding under the china cabinet and not coming out except to eat minuscule amounts of food and to pee. The peeing, thankfully, is happening where it should. Small favors, I reckon. I feel horrible because every time I pet him, it seems like it's followed up with shoving pills down his throat. I keep trying to give him attention when it's not medication time, but he appears to want no parts of me.

Baby is being Baby and seems to be largely unaffected by what's going on with his health. He wobbles like a sailor on leave, but he's been doing that for so many years that's not a surprise or a concern. He's old, what am I to expect? He's not eating as much as I would like, but he's still taking in a good amount. And he's been climbing into the bed with us again lately. I am suspecting that all of this just gives credence to our theory that Baby is somehow ingesting the life energy of those around him and will live forever, purely on souls.

If this were a film, it would close with me and the Engineer dying by way of slow soul sucking. Our corpses would be found dessicated and withered by maintenance, and as the screen goes black- you hear a tiny meow and then a voiceover saying, "Oh, this poor little kitten! We must take him home to live with our family immediately!"

dun dun dun.
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Tinker was allowed to come home Friday night, which made me extraordinarily happy.

We're still not entirely sure what the hell is exactly going on. The sono results came showing no tumors or lesions, which is awesome. But, everyone is still all CANCER CANCER CANCER because he has lymphocytes in the core sample they took from his belly, his liver is enlarged, his pancreas is enlarged, and one of his lymphnodes is slightly enlarged. White blood count is up.

The problem with this diagnosis, no matter how tentative it may be, is two-fold:

1. to definitively find out if this is cancer, a biopsy would have to be performed on each affected organ. Putting a cat his age under for such an invasive surgery (and it would be) is not the wisest decision.

2. All of his symptoms also point towards just a liver infection.

If it is truly lymphoma, the treatment for that is fairly simple and not all that earth-shattering. Steroids and a chemo drug, three times a week. No specialist, unless I had money lying about in great, vast piles, just begging to be spent. And the chemo drug isn't that expensive.

However, to treat for the cancer and thus, get the script for those chemo pills, there has to be a balls to the wall diagnosis. To get a full-on diagnosis of lymphoma, we would have to do the biopsy.

I'm of the mind that this is really some kind of liver infection, or at least- I'm trying to convince myself of that. And maybe he does actually have lymphoma. But, who's to say that this is what his current problem is? Maybe an infection just really has him down and if this had never happened, we wouldn't have found the lymphoma for a couple more years. I don't know. It's as nice of a thought as I get right now.

At the moment, we are just giving him some meds. Antibiotics, in case it really is an infection; a vitamin supplement, and something else that is currently escaping me. For the next two weeks, I have to make sure he eats, drinks, and uses the litterbox. Then, we'll retest his levels and see what they say. After that, I haven't put a lot of thought into yet. Bridges needing to be crossed when we reach them and all that sunshine.

He's currently out in the living room, lying in front of my altar. He's been chilling in a number of weird places in the apartment, and has been ever since all of this originally started back in January with that damn head cold. He hangs out in places that he never did before and almost totally ignores my and the Engineer presences unless we pick him up or pet him. That's just not like him. He was always glued to my side and when I wasn't home, he would torture the Engineer for attention. He doesn't sleep with us any more and hardly ever makes a peep.

Baby is also acting like he got dropped into Bizarro World. If Tinker was affectionate, then that would have made Baby a downright stalker. You couldn't sit down or recline anywhere in this place, including the bathtub, without him up in your grill and looking for love. And at night, he would curl so close to the Engineer's back, that he was frequently in danger of being squished due to a middle of the night changing of sleep position. Now, he spends all his time under the ottoman (although when I went out into the living room just now, he was lying on the recliner, which is weird in and of itself).

I know they're both elderly and not feeling well, but the personality changes freak me the fuck out. I'm not a person who has the strongest grasp on her perception of reality to begin with and I'm very much a creature of habit and ritual. I have a hard time coping with shifts in my environment. Taking away these two's normal behavior in my day-to-day is upsetting me almost as much as their illnesses themselves.

It's like they're already not here, which is a mournful concept I had to deal with during my mother's illness and subsequent death, and not something I really feel comfortable with in handling all over again. It's bad enough I have to process their respective looming demises; that's a hard row to hoe right out the gate. But, taking them away from me before they are actually taken away from me is just fucking cruel.

The cherry on top is that it's both at once. How is that fair?
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Things have been completely in the shitter this week.

After my declaration in my previous entry that I would get a vet appointment for Tinker, I did. And everything went downhill from there.

Once we went into the room to see the vet, I saw that Tinker had urinated all over himself in his carrier, something he never ever does as he is fastidious in his habits. Further, the urine was a startlingly bright orange color that stained his white paws and the scale the doctor put him in. This is indicative of high levels of bilirubin. The first sign of NOT GOOD.

During the examination, I pointed out to the vet that even though Tinker had lost quite a bit of weight and had a spine you could feel, he seemed to be suddenly sporting his old goat belly. She felt it, declared that it seemed to be retained fluid, and took him into the back to get a sample for testing.

When she returned and showed me the fluid-filled needle, I almost fell over. It was also bright orange. And the worst sentence ever constructed in the history of sentences was uttered from her lips: "This doesn't look good."

Long story short: his liver is enlarged, he has high levels of bilirubin. X-rays showed nothing out of the ordinary, other than the big liver. Cytology reports say he has lymphocytes in the retained fluid. We're waiting on sono reports to say if the x-rays missed anything. But, the signs are currently pointing towards lymphosarcoma.

He's been in the hospital all week, since I took him in. Hooked up to IV fluids, getting antibiotics (in case this is just a liver infection), being fed the stinky A/D prescription food he loves so much. He's alert, uses the litter box, and is generally the same cat he has been for the past couple of weeks. Which is to say: not him. Not a bad cat at all, but not him. And he had a small seizure last night after the Engineer and I had left, but they think it could have been just over-excited from our visit or from the sudden influx of protein from eating better giving him a headache.

If this is cancer, I really don't know what I'm going to do. On one side of it, they don't recommend doing any extensive surgeries on him because of his age and would recommend medical treatments with a specialist, which I absolutely can not afford. My resources are already stretched beyond hope, particularly after this past weekend's spectacle at the emergency vet with Baby. And a specialist, much like the goddamn emergency clinic, will want payment up front and is (of fucking course) quite expensive.

I would go to hell and back for my pets, Tinker in particular. But when I say my resources are shot, I am not casually throwing words around. I have no savings (never have), my meager credit cards are all close to their limits (which I have been steadily working on paying them down, but it's a slow process) and even if they weren't, I have no large limit cards. I don't even want to think about what the last few days are costing me, but I decided I didn't care because it's all going to be post-dated checks regardless. As long as I can keep the treatment to the regular vet, things will be golden.

If it's not cancer, he'll get antibiotics to beat whatever nasty infection is doing this to him and retest all his levels at a later date. And maybe steriods? I can't remember what the vet told me on the phone earlier this afternoon. My brain is fried sunny-side most assuredly down at the moment.

Tuesday night, I was desolate and inconsolable. I don't even know how I got home from the vet, as I was by myself and had to drive on my own. I don't remember the trip home. The Engineer saw me pull up to the apartment and waited for me at the front door, where I promptly burst into wracking sobs that didn't stop for an hour.

Wednesday, I ghosted around work like the living dead. Couldn't concentrate, kept fading out, didn't eat anything all day and kept forgetting to drink water. We went to the vet in the evening to visit and Tinker was a bit brighter. He headbutted me, something he hasn't done in a long time and sprawled in my arms and across my shoulder like some deranged monkey baby. I felt a little better after the visit and after talking to the other vet there (who is normally our reptile vet, but he does see other animals) about what little test results we had back, but coming home to a Tinker-less apartment crashed me again.

Today, I waffle back and forth between calm acceptance of the situation and despair. I spoke to Dr. Joe again, who gave me the news about the lymphocytes. He's a good one, our Dr. Joe. He talks me out of my tree without giving me false hope, but he also doesn't prepare me for sackcloth and ashes, like the vet on Tuesday did (I'd never dealt with her before and I'm hesitant to do so again).

At this point, we just have to wait for the sono results to come back. Maybe tomorrow? I don't know. What I do know is that I want to scream. Baby's end drawing nigh doesn't weigh on me as much as Tinker's because he's so old. He's had such a great life and I made peace a long time ago about how he probably wouldn't see 2011 (most likely, he won't even see this June or July). I'm ok with it.

But, Tinker? It's not his time yet, goddamnit. It's not his fucking time.
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I'm going to blow up the moon.

Baby is home, and wobbling all over the apartment in search of food. He's not even close to 100%, but I honestly and truly believe that I just spent a ridiculous amount of money because my little old man cat was fucking constipated.

Sure, we found nodules in his chest that are likely to be malignant, but what is that information going to really accomplish? If they are cancer, I'm not going to treat him for it. He's twenty-two years old, for Christ's sake. Twenty-three in June! How much would that treatment likely extend his life and what sort of quality would it be, at that point? I only want him to spend the rest of his limited days on this earth comfortable and happy and procuring as many belly rubs as possible. When the time comes, he will know it and so will I.

Tinker, on the other hand, seems to have hit a down patch. He stopped eating yesterday, didn't eat this morning, and only had a couple licks of food this evening when I came home from work. He's hiding from us again, currently ensconced in the Engineer's closet in the computer room as I write this. All of this is an enormous change from his behavior on Saturday, which I grew cautiously optimistic about. He was eating semi-decently and had even started being a little affectionate again. Now, it's like we're back to his behavior before the surgery. I have no idea what to think.

I'm calling the vet first thing in the morning and come hell or high water, I'm getting an appointment for some point that day. The office had called me on Friday, to see how he was recovering, and I had explained that he had been eating well, but that his personality had not come back yet. They told me to keep an eye on him and call if he doesn't bounce back in the next couple of days.

It's like they're deliberately conspiring to make me as crazy as possible or something. None of this make any sense whatsoever.


Mar. 14th, 2010 02:15 pm
thejunipertree: (Default)
Baby is still at the vet and I am exhausted, having not gotten home until 6 in the morning.

He has 3 nodules in his chest that the doctor thinks are cancer, and she believes that his legs going wonky was from being constipated, of all things. Measures to keep him comfortable are really all that's being done right now.

I'm disgusted at the cost of, even though I knew it was going to suck. No payment plans accepted, unlike my regular vet. And Care Credit would only clear me for $500. Unfortunately, I had to tell them to cap all of this at a certain amount, which makes me sick to my stomach. Making these kinds of decisions based upon money tears me up inside, but I don't have any choice. I don't have any savings, I make bullshittery money at my job, and I've been taking steps to clear what debt I have. My debt would make serious debters laugh their assessing off in some kind of sick Poor Olympics, but because I don't make rolling in naked kind of money, it's a concern of mine that I'm slowly getting rid of.

And it all disheartens me because I have to use one of the credit cards I just paid off. I recently paid off two cards and had yet to cancel them. Now I'm right back to square one with debt because what I paid off is.pretty much what this is costing me. I worked so hard to clear that debt and I'm looking right at it again. I hate this. I keep getting weepy out of sheer frustration.

I want to bring him home today or tonight, then bring him to my regular vet on Monday. But, I can't get through to get an update because they're busy with a surgery for someone else and setting up oxygen.

The vet I dealt with isn't back in until 8. And it's killing me to think of Baby, who is a sensitive soul who only wants his belly rubbed all day, stuck in this place of weird noises,.bad smells and no ottoman to hide under. My poor old man.

Thank you, everyone who had extended their well wishes and good thoughts. It's all so greatly appreciated.
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At the emergency vet after all.

Waiting and trying not to lose my nut.

This place echoes too much.


Mar. 13th, 2010 08:21 pm
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I think the bells are finally tolling for Baby. How loud, I couldn't possibly say. But, he was lying on my chest a moment ago, then got up and laid down at the foot of the couch. Shortly after that, he got up again and seemed to not quite be able to get his legs moving properly.

He stood up and rocked alarmingly in place, then laid down on his side. Every time I stood him up, he did the same thing. Then he wobbled his way to his normal haunt under the ottoman and hasn't come out.

It's all so weird because he was perfectly fine all day, but given his advanced age, I shouldn't be surprised. Yet, I still am.

Of course, my regular vet is closed until Monday and the idea of trucking him out of the apartment and to an emergency vet doesn't seem wise. Because he's always been relatively healthy, he hasn't been out of the apartment or in the carrier for quite some time and to suddenly drag him out strikes me as unnecessary stress.

He doesn't seem to be in any pain right now, so if I can keep him here, it would be preferable.

Other than that, I don't really know what else to do. I've known this day was on the horizon, an acute awareness of it, but now that it's actually here, I don't know what to do or think.

This sucks so very, very much.
thejunipertree: (Default)
Tinker is home and doing ok. Wobbly and still stoned, but I reckon we've all had days like that.

Now, you'll have to excuse me while I spend the rest of the night getting heavily inebriated.

Relieved doesn't even begin to describe.
thejunipertree: (Default)
I should really go to bed.

But, if I don't, then I can just continue pretending that everything is fine and Tinker won't be going in for surgery tomorrow. If I stay in the computer room, I can convince myself that nothing is amiss and this is like any other night when I stay up far past my bedtime. Right?

Problem is, I'm far too pragmatic for that.

Well, pragmatic on one side of my brain and completely batshit paranoid and obsessive on the other side. Guess which one is winning the fight right now?

I'll give you a hint: it's currently the one hopping madly up and down, while shrieking about how even though we know all the statistics and the vet has reassured us a thousand times, that everything is going to go wrong and this knot in our gut is just an oracle for coming death.

He ate a little bit tonight, and this morning as well. I had bought some small jars of baby food on my way home from work this evening in the hopes I could entice him. He ate maybe three quarters of a teaspoon. Baby ate the rest when I wasn't looking. Later, I held him in my lap as I sat in the dad recliner, watching Battlestar Galatica with Wemble and the Engineer. But, after about fifteen minutes, he wasn't so much into that game anymore and went to lie down next to one of the bookshelves.

I'm dropping him off tomorrow at the vet's before I head into work. I wish I could ask the Engineer to go with me, as it is his day off and I could really use the emotional support, but then I would have to go back to the apartment before I could go to work and it would just take too much time. I know he would do it if I asked it of him, but logistically it just won't work.

...gah. This sucks so much.
thejunipertree: (Default)
Tinker had another vet visit today because I'd noticed he really wasn't eating all that much and was looking a bit thinner. I also cottoned on to how he was chewing kind of oddly when he ate hard things like kibble or treats. He'd just gotten over the headcolds to end all headcolds and now this.

Verdict: SIX of his back teeth are bad and need to be removed.

The idea of putting my 17-year old, overweight cat with a slight heart murmur under sedation does not fill me full of joy and song. In fact, it's got me on the verge of weepy-style breakdowns.

Also, he's down to 10 pounds and some change. Ordinarily, I would be happy about that turn of events because I've been trying to get his weight down from the horrible heights my mother had gotten it to. However- a year ago, he weighed 16 pounds. A month ago, thirteen.

I've started him on canned food for the time being, so that he's actually able to eat his food and dear god, was he into that idea. It's not that he doesn't want to eat, he can't because it hurts him. The soft food helps tremendously. Right now, I'm under strict orders of "if he wants it, give it to him", which I am quite certain will brook no disagreement from his end.

I'm trying very hard to be optimistic about this entire thing, but I really need to fully grasp that he is quite old and going under sedation is a big risk. He's been so deeply intertwined in my life for so long that whenever I start thinking about the possibility of life without him, my head gets kind of swimmy.
thejunipertree: (Default)
Ever give nose drops to a cat?

I wouldn't recommend it.

Tinker had another vet visit earlier this week because his cold wasn't going away, despite the copius amounts of sticky orange antibiotics me, him, a towel, the floors, and my boots got covered in every evening. He was walking around the apartment making the most horrendous snorkeling sounds, I started to get really worried.

As it turns out, it's just a bad head cold. Nothing in his lungs whatsoever. I told my hot vet the esteemed animal physician I give stupidly vast amounts of money to of the issues with getting liquid medication into the cat, so he gave him a shot in the butt and gave me some nosedrops.

I could do this, right? It's far less intensive than 3 mls of sticky orange goo being shot into a cat's throat (especially since the orange goo dropper only holds 2 mls, so you have to measure it out twice, shove it in the cat's mouth twice, have the cat spit most of it all over you twice, and get clawed up twice). A tiny drop, in each nostril. Piece of cake.


Last night, he blew bubbles at me. Fantastic. And the Engineer keeps calling him "Gurgles".

The only good part of this is that when the vet was looking at Tinker's teeth, I was helping hold him still, and he accidently brushed my breast with the back of his hand. Blushing and stammering on his part commenced for the rest of the visit. hee.

I have three vets, all in the same practice, I see. Which one I visit all depends on who is sick. We have a snake vet, the cat vet, and the small furry exotics vet who will see the cats if the other vet is not there (otherwise known as hot vet, who stammers and blushes). Snake vet nerds out with me over reptiles, cat vet is awesome and funny and cried with me when I had Nympho (the cat in my icon) put to sleep. But, stammering and blushing vet will always be my favorite purely because of the stammering and blushing.
thejunipertree: (Default)
I just realized that I never updated about Tinker and the possibility he may have hyperthyroid.

The blood test results came back a few days after his vet visit and he is...completely clean?

Everything was perfect. The only thing wrong with the cat, other than the fact he's 17 and weighs sixteen thirteen pounds, is a very slight heart murmur (which we already knew about).

I am beyond quite pleased at this turn of events. Completely dumbfounded, because the vet had been adamant about her opinion of him having the disorder, but pleased. And very, very grateful.

Sometimes I forget what it was like to have companion animals who need daily medical attention and care. The painstaking administration of various prescriptions, the worrying, the money spent! Oh God, the money spent.

I also have the habit of forgetting having had quite so many free roaming mammals, or mammals period, in the apartment. I'm down to just the two cats and now, since the Engineer moved in, four snakes (two are his, two are mine). It's not as if I am completely ignorant to the every day care and maintenance; I still recognize the duty of it (and the money and the worrying). But, it's not quite as encompassing of my entire life any more. Purely because the numbers went down. I miss the rats, the ferrets, the other cats. They each had their own, distinct personalities and I loved them dearly, but I recognized the space in my life that was being taken up by so many animals. I couldn't do it anymore and deliberately made the effort to refrain from "replacing" animals as they died.

The decision was made to only ever have two cats total (three, under absolutely dire circumstances) and two or three snakes. With two currently in my possession, I'm holding out the third spot for my dream snake, a piebald ball python or another Western hognose. Right now, the point is moot because we have no room in the apartment for a fifth tank. So, all is good.

All of this was driven even further into my brain when the Engineer's brother texted me the other day asking if I wanted to take in one or two cats because someone he knew had six and couldn't take care of them all.

Of course, I said no. I felt bad about it, but I still said no.
thejunipertree: (Default)
Tinker went to the vet last night because he has been extremely sneezy and lowkey lately. During the course of our visit, not only did he SHAKE LIKE A LITTLE BITTY BABY, but I also called another client out for being quite rude ("Wow! You are just incredibly rude!").

She started to half-defend herself (which I do a wonderful impression of, in person), but I just said "RUDE." to her again, loudly. She sat down and wouldn't look at me.

Shortly thereafter, the vet told me she is convinced Tinker has a hyperthyroid.

Oh, just fucking great. I thought I was done with having animals who needed daily medication for the rest of their lives. Apparently, it was just a short vacation from it. It was nice while it lasted, after all.

I get a bit weepy when I think about it, though. Tinker is 17. But, he doesn't look or act like it. And he is, quite simply, my good friend. Between the not looking/acting that old and me being so used to people reacting to Baby, my other cat, and his very advanced age (22 years old) all the time, that I've always kind of just forgot that Tinker was also pretty old. Older than most cats people have.

Baby's imminent demise, I've made peace with over the past year. Given the fact that any given day, he could just not wake up again. Sure, I'll be massively upset for a long time; I have known that cat since the day he was born and I will be heartbroken when he finally goes, but I've had him for 22 years. He's older than one of my fucking friends, for Christ's sake.

The Engineer and I have a theory that Baby is actually slowly draining the life force of everyone around him in an effort to gain immortality. Whenever someone rubs his belly (which causes him to flop on his side in boneless seizures of ectacsy), he always puts his one back foot against the belly-rubbing individual's leg. This is the point of contact, where the soul-transfer is initiated. The longer his belly rubbing continues, the more of one's soul is stolen, and the longer Baby walks the earth.

That cat will probably outlive us all.
thejunipertree: (Default)
sleeping Howard

This photo is his best sleeping pose ever. Ferret yoga.

I've been waiting for this for the past week and a half, with dread in my throat. He hadn't been doing well and I've been keeping myself to myself about it, other than periodic updates to the Engineer. I'd made the decision when all of this started to not bring him to the vet and subject him once again to a battery of tests and stress and bullshit that would serve no purpose but to prolong the inevitable.

I knew it was coming. I knew he was declining from age. And yet? I still feel like I should have done something. Anything. He was only about five or six years old, not ancient for a ferret like my Midnight was when I finally had her put down, but his health had never been what you would call robust (despite the occasional size of his ass).

Even now, I'm sitting here feeling guilty because I didn't even try.

Can't win for losing. I either do nothing and feel like shit about it, or I take an animal in and make the decision for them to get the Big Sleep needle and then feel like shit about it.

I'm throwing the cage out tomorrow night, which has seen so many creatures over the past thirteen years. No more small mammals. Not for a long time, at least.

My heart just can't take it.

I didn't cry when I made the decision to let him go peacefully at home. I didn't cry earlier, after I'd found him, two hours after I'd last checked on him when he was still breathing. And I didn't cry when I was wrapping him up. It surprised me and, I think, the Engineer as well when he came downstairs with a bag for me and found me stony-faced and doing my best stoic impersonation of an android.

But now?

Fucking crying.



thejunipertree: (Default)

January 2011

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