Sunday, 21 October 2012
On Wednesday we took Tom, one of the rescue cats we got when we first moved into our house 16 years ago, to the vet. We'd had the usual reminder, jabs and check ups were required. So we went along.
Except, I hadn't properly read the letter from the vet's. It wasn't for an appointment, just a reminder to buy in some flea preparation. But we were there at 9 am so they saw us. My wife went in with Tom, I waited outside. 10 minutes later Lesley came out and asked me to join her.
The vet was standing there with a syringe full of liquid. She explained that on examining Tom she found that she was bloated - full of liquid in her body cavity. This could mean - well any thing - from nuclear meltdown to the end of civilisation as we know it. Blood tests and a body scan was required to find out what the little mutt was suffering from.
We went home feeling like the life had been drained from us. "Was she in pain?", "Why hadn't we noticed?", "How serious?" "How long?".
Thursday evening saw Tom at the Vet's, having her tummy shaved and a scan taken.
We'd get the results the next day.
When the vet phoned through it was good and bad. Good Tom wasn't going to die immediately from a terrible feline illness but she could have cancer -a growth between her small and large intestine.
Choices: operate - we decided quite quickly that we didn't want her messed about. Opened up, pulled around. No. Steroids to reduce the cancer; no guarantee.
Life expectancy: 12 months to 2 months.
We've decided, I think, ahead of a chat with the vet tomorrow to put Tom on the steroid treatment. It's effective for a month. Not sure what that means, but we hope it gives us some hope and her ( and us) an extra month of life. But if it looks that her life is just hanging on, well reluctantly we'll end it.
At home or at the vet's? Our initial view is that we'd like to say goodbye at home, on her chair, surrounded by the other cats. Except, it might freak out the other pussies.
We've kicked that into the long grass.
How do you kill a friend of 16 years. How do you say good bye to a ball of fluff that has purred its way into your heart.
It's easy being light hearted. It hard being hurt.