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  • A reflection on a crappy week in November

    Okay, I'm going to be honest. I'm feeling WAY too lazy to actually fix the direction of the picture. Turn your heads.

    Recently, I asked Matt if I could look through the pictures on his phone, because I wanted to look for Mikenna pictures that I didn't have. I found this one. I both love it and hate it. 

    It's from the night we took Mikenna to the emergency vet, the week she died. That was a long night in a long week. It was Wednesday night, and I hadn't been able to keep food down her since Sunday. She'd lost interest in eating, which wasn't uncommon for her when she felt sick, but she'd never felt sick to her stomach that long before. I had a sinking feeling that we were losing her, and I didn't know what to do. I'd made an appointment with our regular vet for Thursday morning, thinking that maybe they could prescribe her some anti-nausea meds or something. 

    But that night, she kept throwing up, and there was nothing that she should have been throwing up, because she hadn't eaten. I spent a lot of that evening sitting on the bed, sobbing, because I felt so helpless. I'm not sure what tipped us over the edge to the emergency room, but I think it was something like being afraid that she wouldn't make it to the morning, and if I didn't try to save her, I couldn't live with it. 

    We got there somewhere around midnight. I was exhausted. They took her for some bloodwork and there we sat in the room, waiting. That's when this picture must have happened. I had hoped that they'd just pump her with an anti-nausea med and let us take her home. I mean, I knew enough to be worried, obviously, but I just didn't know the extent of what was going on. 

    When they came back, they told us that she had pancreatitis, and that her kidney values were extremely high. They wanted to keep her overnight and give her anti-nausea meds and rehydrate her, see if they could get anything to come down. So much, all at once. I agreed to it, but I can't say that I exactly knew what was going on. 

    Something like six hours later, we were back to pick her up. Take her to your regular vet immediately to continue treatment. We weren't able to make any progress with her. My heart started to sink. When they carried her out to us, her ears didn't flick back, and she didn't reach out for me in excitement. She just stared blankly at us. That's when, deep down, I knew she wasn't going to pull through. 

    We took her to our regular vet right away. As we sat in the waiting room with her, Chasing Cars played over the speaker. 

    If I lay here
    If I just lay here
    Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

    The vet told us before they took her that, based on the emergency vet's report, things didn't look good, and to prepare ourselves. As expected, there was nothing they could do for her. Heart failure was weakening her body, her body was having a reaction to the lasix and tearing up her kidneys, and the pancreatitis just tipped it over the edge. They couldn't treat two of those things without making the third worse. 

    Ten months later, here's what I wish I had done differently in all this:

    - Taken her to the emergency vet sooner, or to the regular vet. I don't think it would have changed the outcome - once her body gave out, it just flat gave out. But maybe she could have been a little more comfortable. 

    - Asked our vet if we could pick her up right away once they told us there was nothing they could do. They called us at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and told us we could pick her up at 5:30. I wish I had asked if we could have just gone then. I didn't think there was a real point to keeping her there, and I wanted every minute with her. I wish I had just asked.

    - Asked if I could have held her the day she died. We laid out a blanket for her and everything happened on the little exam table. I was so exhausted (I hadn't had more than a couple hours of sleep at a time in about three days) and so overwhelmed that I just let them go about it. I wish I had asked if I could have held her as she died. I was right there and talking to her and petting her, but still ... I wish she'd been on my lap. I realize it doesn't matter. It doesn't change anything. 

    So, that picture up there isn't a great one. But somehow it feels so fitting to that whole experience. We fought so hard for her, we did the best we could. It was absolutely exhausting, and in the end we lost. But we were there for her all the way through, painful as it was. (and still is)