I have a hard time admitting to reality sometimes. But eventually, it catches up with us all. So here is the story of what has happened over the last week.
On Tuesday of last week, I took Mitsy and Pablo to the vets. They have been losing weight, which they desperately needed to do, but they got too skinny, as if that were possible. I could feel their spine. They weren’t eating. I knew things weren’t right. Mitsy also has a large, marble-sized growth between her nose and her left eye. We’ve been afraid to test it because doing so might damage her eye, but now it was so big that wasn’t a concern. On Wednesday, the vet called with the results of all the expensive blood work. Mitsy’s growth was not a tumor—always said in an Arnold voice. So in addition to her hyperthyroid medication, she was issued a steroid to break it down.
Pablo has diabetes in addition to his arthritis.
On Thursday morning, I took my two fifteen-year-old cats back to the vets. Mitsy got an antibiotic shot for her growth, and I brought Pablo to learn how to give him twice-daily insulin injections.
Pablo is awesome with his insulin injections. He almost even likes them. I’ve only pricked myself once so far.
Mitsy, who used to love Pill Pockets, quit her pills and food a month ago. So getting her to take her medication is a chore. I have to invent new things all the time. I first figured out that she likes Salmon Pill Pockets but not Chicken Pill Pockets. But after a day or so of that, she wasn’t interested in them either. Luckily, Perl still likes them with her allergy medication.
On Saturday, Mitsy was breathing really heavy. I could see her chest rise and fall at a rapid rate. She and I and Perl went outside to sit in the back yard. I called the vet. They said to bring her in. I let her sit in the back yard for a little while longer, knowing it might be the last time. And I started crying. I didn’t stop crying until Sunday.
At the vet, they took X-rays. I paid extra to have a radiologist stop his golf game long enough to respond to the photos. The vet could have told me the same thing as it was obvious from the photos. Mitsy’s heart is enlarged, she had fluid in her lungs, and her kidneys are shrinking. She is dying. Congestive heart failure.
It was mentioned briefly that we could do an ultrasound, but really, she has been on hyperthyroid medication for six years, she has a large growth next to her eye, and she is fifteen. It is her time. But I still wasn’t ready.
I was there until an hour past closing, using up all their tissues. We talked about where I could take her on Sunday when my vets is closed if I needed to euthanize her. The vet gave her an injection of something and sent me home with heart medication and a diuretic to get rid of the fluid in her lungs.
I was certain this was the end. I would have to call it sometime on Sunday or Monday morning.
The vet called Monday night. She was timid about what to ask about Mitsy, not knowing what happened.
“The drugs are a miracle,” I exclaimed.
“That’s great!” she said, relieved that she hadn’t just called someone who’s cat had died over the the last day and a half. Then she said, “Just remember, your cat is having congestive heart failure. That means her heart could stop working at any time.”
“I know,” I said. The thing was, the drugs had given me another day. I spent all day Sunday pampering Mitsy. We went outside again. I moved her food bowls to the bedroom so she doesn’t have to walk as far. I put the child gate up so that she can walk between the bedroom and the bathroom without the dog bothering her.
The dog. The poor dog. She stepped on something Saturday and started limping, holding up her right, front paw. I couldn’t see anything wrong besides her ego not getting enough attention. Her ego has miraculously healed.
Pablo is taking his insulin shots like a champ. He probably loves me more now than he ever has.
Mitsy doesn’t like to take her pills. My latest trick has been to crush them up and mix them with water from a can of tuna. I’m going to be eating a lot of tuna. But she looks great. She is eating again, she seems happy. Her breathing still isn’t great, but it is a lot better than it was on Saturday.
Every day, at this point, is a new challenge. Will she be alive when I wake up. Will she be alive when I get home from work. I pet her and give her a kiss on the forehead and tell her I love her every chance I get, not knowing if it will be the last. Mitsy and Pablo have been with me for the last fourteen years, through three different states, three cross-country trips, and nine different housing arrangements. I’m writing their memoirs because they have been the only constant in my life over the last fourteen years. Everything else has changed, except for them.
And now that is about to change.
I’m trying to be ready.
But I’m not.