Sunday, May 04, 2014
Samuelle's final Sunday
Huck once again acts as hospice assistant with me while Samuelle Noel lays in his basket.
Samuelle sits as I type in his basket, Huck nearby in case he is needed. We listened to Garrison Keillor this afternoon and he had a poem in honor of their family cat who had died, and he also sang lovely little songs to the departed cat. Coincidence? No, it was a lovely tribute to Sam to. I couldn't have done it better than Garrison.
He and I have fought a hard battle. What a soldier he has been-over the years fighting off so many chronic issues- from deteriorating foot pads to respiratory infections. When I took him to the vet last Wednesday, I was hopeful, I felt we could do more. His attitude was of a cat that was willing and ready to keep living. But we know more now, even though we still have the lab tests. We know his upper mouth was raw to the bone-so we took lab test for fungal and bacteria so we could be sure to have the right meds for one, the other, or both.
But once he started swelling at the eye [the red you see in the right eye is actually his inner eyelid that has been pushed upward due to swelling] we began to sense we might be facing more than an infection. When I left him at the vet's for xrays and care, I assumed I'd bring him home in a day. But Sam had a seizure on Friday morning. Because my vets know me and what I do here, they felt okay about me bringing him home to Apifera Friday night. I wanted to be there for him if he seizured again, since the clinic isn't staffed after hours like most day clinics. The thought of him alone in a crate and going into another seizure and maybe dieing alone, I felt he deserved more from me. But I questioned myself and the vet-maybe he'd want to be alone.
It is a fine line we walk with these stray cats and Misfits in need. What is best for the animal, at that moment? That is what I always ask myself, and the vet, and try to push away the human emotion. Animals react differently to illness and trauma. For Samuelle, if he was in the barn, he'd probably go hide away in the woods until it was all over. He's been in the house now since his illness returned this past January because he was a sitting duck for a raccoon-you could hear him a mile away with his breathing-and while I always was extra fond of him in the barnyard, once you bring an animal in and care take it, the relationship shifts yet again. For the few who have met Sam, they know what a sweet cat he is, a very affectionate fellow who talks in short sentences, and I've become very attached to him. I will be sad to see him go on. But he has had a good life here, one that might have been much shorter had he not walked onto the farm that Christmas in 2009.
So I brought him home on Friday and by Saturday morning I still had hope for him. He ate for me from a tube, took his meds well and still acted like he was present. He was trying. But he was also acting a bit damaged, as in neurologically. The vet and I began to discuss the possibility that he had a tumor or something pressing in his head that was causing some of these symptoms-like walking like he had stroked, sitting in corners in a daze, acting like he just wasn't brain right.
I now know I did the right thing bringing him home. He seizured again this morning. I had him in a crate last night for his own safety, and was able to hold him and be there for him. It subsided, but I knew this is the middle of the end. If he should make it through the night, I have no doubt the right thing is to help him on is way tomorrow at the vet. For now, I have very strong pain meds for him and he is basically in a state of constant nap. When he does arouse a bit, it is temporary, and he really can't walk right.
I want to thank so many who have bought art at the sale, or donated, and keep buying as there are plenty of vet bills to come this week with Pino and others. I was okay spending that $870 because he deserved one more chance and we just weren't sure what we were dealing with any more-we all wanted to get closer to an answer that might have helped him. I would not have done it differently-it is not wasted money in my mind. Sometimes you just don't get an answer, and you are left with knowing you did your best and so did the animal.
Many of the Misfits are aging, and the original semi feral colony of 25 that we inherited in one way or another when we moved in is shrinking. Apifera is shifting too, so am I. I'll just wait it out and keep doing what I do. I'll keep doing my best.