I'll write a more meaningful post about Tucker when I am up to it. Today isn't the day.
Instead, today, I will recap what happened, and give the final update. And then I will hug Simon. A lot.
This saga began Friday morning. I noticed Tucker come and go from the litter box. He might have meowed once from in there. Something wasn't right. And he kept licking himself the way cats do when they finish using the litterbox - but Tuck had nothing to clean up since he couldn't have possibly used the box.
He walked in, he walked out, and he licked himself.
I'd just changed the entire litterbox that morning, so clearly he wasn't complaining about it being dirty.
Then he started hiding in new places and meowing.
Thinking I was probably over-reacting, I called the vet.
"We can see him today if you like."
"Sure." I replied. "Let's do that."
I was thinking "I know, I'm a typical over-worried parent now." I figured they'd tell me to give him a little milk or something. He was probably constipated. I petted him, making sure to really pet his belly to see if he was hurting. He leaned over and put a paw in the air. Typical Tucker... "Love me, love me, love me."
An hour later, I really started to worry. He was complaining more. And he made a weird jump onto the bed, as if protecting himself - as if in pain.
I called the vet again and moved up the appointment, and shortly thereafter, I was at the vet, running nearly a half hour early for said appointment.
What can I say? I worry.
At the vet, Tucker was quickly whisked away, into a back room. The vet returned to tell me he had a urinary blockage, and it was serious but not at all uncommon - especially in male cats. He'd be staying the night.
Later that night, I spoke with the vet and got an update. I jotted down notes...
Staying until closing tomorrow
Urinary tract could possibly re-block within the first week
...they put him under anesthesia
- and a catheter into his urethera
- but it was blocked with crystals...
they emptied his bladder
sewed in a catheter
input fluids - they'll monitor his output overnight
check in around 5pm if I haven't heard anything.
I called the next day at 5 (yesterday), but couldn't get through due to a busy line. "Fuck it! I'm heading over to their office."
I thought I was picking him up to bring him home. I'd been told that there was a chance he'd need to go to a 24 hour clinic overnight if his catheter needed to stay in a little longer... but I figured that no news was good news, so I'm probably bringing him home.
From this point - 5pm last night - things spiraled out of control.
He wasn't headed home - he was headed to Dove Lewis for observation. I'm thinking this meant sort of like a kennel with someone knowledgeable on staff.
After checking him in at Dove Lewis, there was more waiting. And waiting. This made no sense to me. I thought Tucker was sleepy from the medication he was on and that he just needed someone to watch him overnight to make sure he didn't rip out his catheter.
The vet from Dove Lewis didn't talk about him being sleepy. The word 'comatose' was used at one point. 'Neurological damage.' He said he'd been doing this sort of vet work for 20-plus years and that he was worried. He didn't say it was hopeless by any means, but he didn't sugar coat the situation either.
Tucker had been transfered into intensive care.
I was told to check in in twelve hours because all of the medication Tucker was on would be out of his system by that point, and they'd have a better idea of where we stood.
The news today was both better and worse. He'd come out of his... well, it wasn't quite a coma... but he kind of sort of came out of it. OK, he didn't really come out of it. His pupils weren't dilating properly and he was awake but not necessarily aware.
The vet wasn't thinking the urinary blockage was the real problem. It was more likely a symptom of something else, but they couldn't even begin to figure out what that was until they could get him stable.
The bill was already beyond my ability to pay it - other than to put it on a credit card (which I did).
Much worse, however, was listening to options of if and where to possibly go from there. They all sounded like a hell of a lot of suffering for Tucker. Before even beginning to figure out what was really wrong, they'd have to get through treating the urinary blockage, and then more tests and tubes and poking and prodding and misery for Tuck in order to determine if there was anything that could be done about whatever was the root of his problems. We were talking about a lot of ifs at that point, and that was without addressing the neurological issues.
The neurological issues were the scariest part. He clearly was not reacting to things the way he should be, if he reacted at all. As I said, he came out of the coma, sort of, but the vet went to great length to explain that Tucker wasn't... well, he probably wasn't Tucker any more. His prognosis was grim, and that's assuming he could pull through the urinary blockage so they could begin the process of figuring out what was really going on.
I couldn't do it. I couldn't put him through it.
He was a good friend. An amazing friend, and I miss him terribly, but I hope I made a decision that meant the best possible ending for him given the options we were facing today.
There's part of me that wishes I could have caught this whole thing earlier and maybe it could have been different... but Tuck was never a complainer. We were at the vet within a few hours of the first sign that something was even a little off. I'm hoping that means he only suffered a few hours.
So, what can I say? I'm sad. Tucker and Simon were the best duo a guy could hope for. True friends who gave love and asked for nothing but love in return.
Now I have to help Simon adjust to life as an only cat.
I'm not sure what I'm more sad about. My loss, or Simon's. I think Simon's loss is worse than mine, and I'm worried about that - but I'll do everything I can to help Simon get through it. And I suppose that, without even knowing it, he'll help me too.
God, I can't imagine the loss of a child, because this feels more terrible than terrible.
You made the right decision..you did everything you could..and you caught and acted upon the situation much faster than anyone would normally do.
Simon will adapt..and in the meantime he'll get extra love!
I'm truly sorry for your loss. I will miss Tucker.::::: | October 29, 2006 1:03 PM
I know it was an impossibly difficult decision, but I'm glad you chose to spare Tucker the misery of prolonged pain.::::: | October 29, 2006 1:31 PM
We all know my history with my kitties. I'm truly sorry for your loss and sometimes it isn't worse or better than having children. I worked in a vet and I knew people that loved their pets as much as I love my children.
Hugs to you and Simon.::::: | October 29, 2006 4:46 PM
I am so very sorry for your loss. It breaks my heart to hear of this. I'll keep you and Simon in my thoughts.
Requiescat in pace, Tucker.::::: | October 29, 2006 8:27 PM
I hadn't checked in for a couple of days, so I was surprised and saddened to hear about what you and the boys have gone through this weekend. I'm sure your decision was a hard one to make, but I'm also sure it was the right one. I'm very sorry for your loss. Give Simon a rub for me and try to hang in there.::::: | October 30, 2006 10:20 AM
I'm so sorry for your loss. That has to be so hard. Give Simon an extra hug for me. :(::::: | October 31, 2006 8:20 AM