Saturday, October 18, 2008

Farewell My Furry Friend

This is my first, and it’s really hard. I can only hope he was comfortable. It’s difficult to know what to expect – six days ago he was still chasing his favorite string around, still waiting for us at the front door when we came home in the evening, still smacking his lips when he heard the sound of ice clinking in a water glass.

Now he will no longer come bounding down the stairs when he hadn't seen us for half an hour. No more lying on his back like a furry rug with four paws sticking straight up in the air, as if gravity suddenly reversed itself. No more patting of my leg with his left paw when he wanted my attention. And no longer will I have this fuzzy warm animal snuggling against my feet at night, or jumping up and down on my tummy to wake me up in the morning.

But he will no longer be vomiting bile and blood. Nor will he lose 10% of his body weight in two weeks. No more seizures, pills, injections, blood tests. No more shaving just to find a vein or conduct an ultrasound (he was an incredibly placid cat, but electronic shavers and hair dryers really freaked him out). No more x-rays, barium meal, steel sterile cages at the hospital.

Probable diagnosis: non-leukemic feline lymphoma. He was ten; that’s like being 50 in people terms. Inside always so he didn’t have leuk or FIV (we confirmed with bloodwork). Prognosis: median of 60 days, even with chemotherapy. When we visited him today at the hospital, his liver had just completely shut down in the last three hours – despite all the supportive care. He was in no condition for further treatment or diagnostics, so at 3:30PM Singapore time, 18th of October, we let him go.

What’s so weird for me is that I work in the field of medicine, and this isn’t the first time I’ve listened to physicians and patients talk about dire life expectancy. But it’s the first time I’ve had to deal with this personally. And it’s complicated because he’s an animal. That means the notion of trying to live a little longer just to be able to see or participate in some future event is meaningless. Patients will often want to “make it” to the next graduation, wedding, birth, etc. With pets, they’re just miserable and suffering.

So I had no idea when I played with him and brushed him six days ago, it would be the last time I would see him as his former self.

Were it to be the last
How infinite would be
What we did not suspect was marked
Our final interview.
- Emily Dickenson


Bill aka NO DooDahs! said...

I understand how much it hurts ... these are our children!

The only thing worse than watching them suffer is trying to make the decision as to when to end it; and holding them as they pass, wanting their last experience to be feeling their dad hold them, and wishing you could explain to them why.

Been there. It sucks.

I gotta go kiss my babies now.

Pam said...

Hello, I also live in Singapore, and I read your blog all the time. My heart goes out to you, and your furry friend. Wishing you peace!
(and her furry friend, Frank)

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about your kitty. Before we moved to S'pore from the States last summer, I found your blog, and seeing the picture of your kitty helped us feel more comfortable with the decision to bring our two little furballs with us. He looked like a very, very happy cat. I hope your memories of him will help you through this difficult time.

With sympathy,

janette said...

What a beautiful tribute for the warm and beautiful Pickwick. I had to stop and grab a tissue. It must have been hard to see her go through this. She was so lucky to have been rescued by you and to have such a loving, happy life. Cherish all of the fun and wonderful times!!

I am sending you a virtual hug!

Sarah said...

I am so so sorry about your darling kitty. I have had this sad experience and I know there are no words that help. I hope your wonderful memories of her will bring you some comfort.
With much sympathy.

Mom said...

Beautiful and moving, heartfelt and sad. Such a precious and loved kitty. How we will miss him!

Our old one came to sit on my lap as I read it ... seeming to know comfort was needed.

May God bless you as your hearts heal and mend.

Anonymous said...

I only just moved to Singapore 1 month ago and stumbled ago your blog and story. Just reading this was hard and my sincere sympathy goes to you and a wonderful friend which I am sure will be sorely missed. I came here from Aus and had to leave my kitty at home with my parents. He just turned 10 and I treasure him immensily. It would have however been so unfair to bring him he as he is pretty much scared of everything. I truly admire you decision to let him go and only hope I have the same courage when the time comes for my best friend.

Wishing you and your furry friend peace.


cajunsis said...

I recently lost my furry best friend as well. I am late posting this, but I just joined the expat blog. Furbabies are so special. I hope you are doing ok now.