Crisis…and Reprieve…for Now

Butterscotch stayed in the hospital for several days. I visited him on Tuesday night. He looked like crap, to be blunt. He was very lethargic, and they said he perked up since I arrived(!). I left feeling grief.

Wednesday I worked for several hours at home. Did lots of grieving this day, pretty deep. Amazing how I can be feeling FULL feelings and be programming in SQL Server all at the same time. I had a coach call with Patricia at 1:30 and felt lots of feelings. She shared her own experience with her cat, Snowball. After the call, I did a search on Google, and sent emails to a group that prays for sick pets, and another group that does distance energy healings. I got several emails back from the second group. Even more support.

I went to the hospital at 6 and paid the current bill, then Dr. Wagner waved me into an exam room to go over the regimen. Wow. Two additional drugs and Potassium Gluconate powder to put in his food, to boost his K+ level. She didn’t have time to write up a report for me (they had FIVE emergencies come in that day—that’s a lot. Some morning only, some evening only, some both. We left, and I cried on the way home—gee, I’m good at that too. 🙂

I left him to rest for a few hours and went to Matt’s house to have dinner with him and Rachel. Very nice evening. I got back to find him sitting next to Eric in the chair in the bay window. While Cynthia had advised me to go out to dinner, I was feeling a little guilty. Hearing that he’d been with Eric for hours assuaged that feeling.

We did the meds dance and went to bed. He slept with me all night, which he normally doesn’t do. His belly felt pretty hot to the touch. He was laying next to me all night, with my arm by his legs. I woke up at about 4:30 to him kicking; I don’t know if he was having a dream or what. More grieving. At about 6:45 he was sitting in his sphinx pose, facing away from me. All of a sudden he started peeing on my arm. I got him off the bed and he stopped. Nature’s Miracle to the rescue. We then sat in the bay window for a couple hours. Sure looks like time to go. I got hungry at 8, so I go up and set him on the chair. He started peeing again. I grabbed a towel I had and put it behind him to catch most of it. More Nature’s Miracle.

I called Cynthia and left a message, then called Dale and somehow managed to tell him that I thought today was the day. Luckily his schedule is light today. (He had already agreed to go with me when it’s time to put Butterscotch down.) Eric got up and asked how things were. I told him Butterscotch would likely go today. “To the hospital?” No, be put down. He was incredulous, thinking I should wait a couple of days.

Cynthia called me back, yes we can run over to see her. While I had breakfast, he was begging to go out. However, it seemed at the same time he might be begging to really go. As in leave. I cried harder this morning than I have since I was a little boy. I’m thankful my emotions are running so clearly and open; the grieving will go better. I let him out on the harness for a short while. When I brought him back in his whole body was shaking. I warmed him on in my arms for a minute.

As I walked outside with him, Carol came out of her house; she could tell something was up. I told her it was likely I was putting him down, and she said goodbye. I thanked her for her support, and she thanked me for my sharing. She loves Butterscotch, too.

On the way to Cynthia’s I cranked up the heat to finish warming him. I called the hospital to say we wouldn’t be keeping the 10 am appointment to get his levels checked. The woman asked if I wanted to reschedule, and I said it was probably unnecessary, as I was likely going to put him down today. She expressed sincere regret—she probably knew him; most of them do. Dr. Wagner called me a couple minutes later, stating that much of his state can be explained by the loss of electrolytes. She didn’t want me to put him down. I’d done so much for him, and she acknowledged her own emotional investment, stating that it obviously wasn’t as much as mine. I told her that I was open to he suggestion, and that I’d have Cynthia call her in a bit.

Cynthia confirmed my estimation of things when I arrived, and agreed it was time to put him down. Lots of emotion. She then called Dr. Wagner, and the vets went head to head. I could tell from hearing Cynthia’s side of the conversation that Dr. Wagner was really really pushing to keep going. The steroid could be causing some/much of this. During the conversation my emotions stopped, and it felt like I fell into a little pit. Cynthia said, “Yes, you went numb.” The heart was clear, and then the head came in with contradictory information. I was confused. We are now moving into the decision area I’d thought about all along—where pain goes up and quality of life goes down. Cynthia said there was a compromise: give him subcutaneous fluids and continue the treatment and see if he perks up. No more hospital, except maybe to check levels (too MUCH potassium could kill him). No more heroic measures. Even if he does survive this crisis, he probably wouldn’t survive a year.

We gave him 100 ml subcutaneous fluids, and he perked up. She gave me some ibuprofen to fight the strong headache I had. She would stop by later after an appointment to see him. See how he does in the next 24 hours. We went home. He rested quietly in my lap on the drive. I was very quiet, not even turning on the radio. It’s important to be very present now.

We got home and his energy level was clearly higher. He ate and drank, and begged to go out. I let him out on the harness, and followed him around. He BOUNDED through the grass. Bounded! He’s never done that before! He went down to the gravel lot next door and started eating little rocks. I brought him back. He went to the bushes and began eating dirt. I stopped him. Hopefully it’s the Potassium he’s craving, and we’re giving him that.

I brought him back in, and he did his routine while I ate lunch. Then he begged to go out. I sat in the bay window, and he readily jumped on my lap. We took a nap together for about three hours. Cynthia then showed up. He was clinically much better. She gave him a session while he sat on my lap. He soaked it up. I felt my feelings. I gave him 50 ml of fluids subcutaneously (I can now do that, too…).

He then got up, full of spit and vinegar. Eat, drink, pee. Amazing. And artificial—it’s the water and energy, not his own body’s process. The decision will be clear: he will either improve or get worse in the next couple of days. I won’t continue with subcutaneous water; he wouldn’t last on it, anyway.

So, I’m feeling soft and open. Cynthia suggested I not talk to a bunch of people tonight; I am drained myself. I’ll do some work tonight, and go to the office tomorrow afternoon. I still have one more week to prepare the database for the tradeshow. The timing is fascinating.

As Cynthia suggested, he’s now taking a deep nap. Sitting with Eric. Oh no! I forgot to call Dr. Wagner! Hopefully she’s still there. I gotta let her know I’m bringing him in tomorrow for a blood level.

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