Sunday, June 26, 2011
Bailey, My Boy
Yesterday was a tough day. We had to put my 12 year old Maine Coon, Bailey, to sleep. This was the first time I ever had to put a pet to sleep -- but I am guessing that it doesn't make it any easier even if you have had this experience before. Bailey was in pretty good health until about 2 years ago when we discovered that he had a herniated liver. Since he had not experienced any blunt force trauma, the vet told us that he was probably born with it. Anyway, this condition did not stop him from being the free spirit that he was -- Bailey had the gift of getting in trouble. He never acted his age! He liked to chew wires (computer wires especially!), eat flowers and plants (so I could never keep flowers around), chew boxes, lick plastic bags at 2 AM in the morning, cry loudly in the morning for "fresh" kibble (not the "old" kibble from the previous day), and push things off the top of the fridge. Once, before I met Jim and I was living alone, he somehow managed to open the freezer and pushed out everything onto the kitchen floor, ruining $20 worth of ice cream (which was a lot to me at the time!).
About a year ago, Bailey would start going to the bathroom outside his litter box every now and then. And then 6 months ago, he started doing it once or twice a week. We took him to two different vets and did every test and suggestion they encouraged us to do. Nothing worked. In the last two weeks, things got even worse with the bathroom issues happening every day (or even twice a day). At this point, the only test we had not done was a $800 biopsy. We just couldn't do it. If he did indeed have cancer -- which was what I suspected -- we couldn't have done the chemo and radiation for him (not just the expense but it's hard to justify spending that on a cat when there are so many uninsured people out there). So we brought him to the vet yesterday, me hoping that there was one last thing that the vet might be able to suggest.
No dice. So we made the decision to euthanize him and the whole time I was thinking that this action made me a "cat murderer." If he had been really, really, really sick, then I think it would have been an easier decision but the fact that he was OK most of the time made this a hard call. Yes, he was in pain when he went to the bathroom, but it was hard to tell if he were uncomfortable any other time.
The vet took him back and put an IV in his front left arm and then she came and put him in my lap. She then gave him something that was like a sedative and then she followed that up with the one that stopped his heart. Since he was on my lap, I was petting him and could only see the top of his head. I know I was crying pretty hard and trying to tell him what a good boy he was and that I was sorry that we couldn't do anything else for him. The vet was sitting on the floor so she saw him at eye level and at some point she said that he was gone. I had a hard time believing that at first because he felt so warm and usual (like he was just taking a nap on my lap). But then she checked his heart and confirmed he was gone. It was so surreal that he was gone that fast. The vet then said that we could spend some time with him but I couldn't do that. So she took him out of the room (very gently I noticed) and that was the end.
I miss Bailey. I know that he would have just gotten worse and possibly be in more pain but I still miss him tremendouly. He was my boy even before I knew Jim. And he was named after my friend Les who died in December. Somehow it just doesn't seem fair that they are both gone just like that.