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A new low in depression is possible for me

Oct 24, 2010 - 3 comments

Monday night, I'm tossing one of the family cats, Whitman, onto the bed. He loves it, we know this because he always runs back to whoever tossed him purring as loud as he possibly can and looks at them expectently. Whitman is 11 years old, a Mainecoon. His "color scheme" is basically a tuxedo, with white feet, which we call his snow shoes. He's a big guy at ~16 pounds, but not fat by any means, he also had somewhat long fur, not annoyingly long. I'd say he was a little bit poofy. One of our favorite traits about him is his high pitched voice. It's cute to see this big cat walk around meowing in the octive of a dog whistle (ok, not really that high). We often joke about how he reminds us of an owl. Unless he's asleep, his eyes are as big as quarters, and he liked to turn his head upsidedown when he was laying on his back.

Tuesday I wake up and find my brother in his usual place in the family room. He turns to me and says "something's wrong with Whitman. Mom and Dad took him to the vet this morning." I think my brother sensed my fear, as he almost immediately said "they did an X-ray and Ultrasound and the doctor said he has a couple of kidney stones floating around, and one was blocking his bladder. So they unblocked it and he's doing good." I'm relieved, but still afraid.

Wednesday my Dad and I go to the vet to visit him. They wanted to keep him overnight to make sure he was ok. While we're in one of the exam rooms visiting him, one of the doctors comes in and starts telling us more. Apparently the Radiologist double checked the X-rays and Ultrasound, and found around a dozen kidney stones floating around in his body. They offered a possible solution of a new diet that breaks down the stones so he can easily pass them.
Later that day, Mom gets off work, and it's her turn to visit. This time, she talked with the doctor in charge of the vet. One of Whitmans kidneys was completely shutdown, and the second was not far off. The food the other doctor suggested to us was no longer even a hope, as the doctor said, the stones would just keep coming back, and of course there was the problem with him having basically half a kidney.

......... I'm sure most pet owners know what comes with something like this. Early Thursday evening, we all showed up at the vet to spend our last moments with one of the best cats that ever lived. My Mom held him as they gave him the shot, and I sat infront of him so he could see me, so then he'd at least see someone he loved as he went to sleep.
But now I'm stuck with something that could take a long time to get out of my mind. When he was given the injection to stop his heart, he was looking at me, and I looked at him. I looked into his eyes............. I saw his eyes droop half closed, the color of his pupils going from bright green to almost black. This image is burned into my memory, and it's been haunting me every day and night since. I'd never seen a death before, and I'm sure it would've been easier....... had I not looked into his eyes and seen them go from big and green to dark and lifeless.

........... ****

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1339332 tn?1329857966
by skydivediva, Oct 24, 2010
Dear AJRC323,

I'm so sorry about Whitman. And, as a pet lover, I know the grief that you're enduring. Don't feel like you have to "get over it" right away. He was a living being that had offered you love and companionship and shared fun, so it's only proper that you grieve him. And yes, I'm sure that it would've been easier---for you---not to see the life go out of his eyes. But that isn't why you were there, in his range of sight. It hurt you to see the life leave his eyes, but it comforted him to have the life leave his body while looking into the eyes of someone who loved him.

I'm a nurse in the ICU and the ER. I've seen lots of deaths; hundreds, at least, probably thousands. Some peaceful, some violent; some young, some old; some expected, some sudden. I've seen loved ones die---up close and personal, too, including my Mom. As a nurse, when a patient (or your own family member) dies, you not only experience the sadness or grief of a human being dying, but there is also a twinge of "I've failed" since nurses and doctors are "supposed" to save lives. I've learned, however, over my 29 years as a nurse, that saving lives is only one part of the job. An equally---and sometimes even more---important job is to help people face their death when they can't be saved. To offer information helps them and their families to be less frightened and more prepared, to take measures to make them more comfortable physically, to tell their families that it's okay to hold their hand or give them a hug or kiss or to hold their hand if their families can't, to talk to them or be silently present---whatever it is that they've said or seem to desire. Every death I've attended has been painful to me, I wouldn't go back and take myself out of any of those experiences, but they were also the times when I felt I did my most important work. Although it caused you pain, you did very important work in allowing Whitman to see and remember love as he died.

I had a cat named Donny for 27 years---named after a young Donny Osmond who was "all the rage" when I was a teenage girl and acquired Donny as a kitten. It was pretty embarrassing, however, when I was 40 and people asked me how my cat got his name! But, in his last years, Donny (the cat, not the teen dream singer) began to fail. His long gray-black hair got matted as he couldn't groom himself properly, his teeth didn't allow him to eat as he used to and he lost weight becoming a bag of skin and bones. Eventually, we all agreed that it was a disservice to watch him suffer because it was painful for us to let him go. My Dad and I took him to the vet to be "put down". I held him in a blanket on the way there and when we arrived, I tried several times to get out of the car and go in, but I couldn't.  Finally, my Dad, the big tough, never cries construction worker took him from me and said he'd go in with him alone. I repeatedly made him promise to pet Donny and tell him we loved him as he died and he said he would. When he finally came out carrying Donny in a box that we'd bury in our backyard with generations of previous pets, my Dad's eyes were red and wet.

A few years later, I woke to find my Amos, an oranged striped tiger, with a swollen jaw. A gift given to me as a kitten 3 months after I moved into my first ever apartment, he was 19 years old. I assumed he had a bad tooth infection as the swelling had occurred overnight and I made an appointment to bring him to the vet the next day. When I returned from work that night, the jaw was even more swollen and the next morning it was twice the size it had been, deforming his entire head. When I brought him to the vet the next morning, an xray revealed a tumor in his palate extending up into his brain. The only compassionate thing to do was to euthanize him, and I sobbed like a baby as he looked at me trusting me to protect him and I saw the life leave his eyes. Two weeks later, I was back at the same vet, euthanizing Ashurey (my little gray cat whose name meant "Happiness" in some Middle-Eastern language and whom I called "Ashes" for short). The runt of his litter, I'd adopted him as a kitten when my sister called to say a friend of hers had been able to adopt all the other kittens out except this one wh would be going to the humane society to be euthanized that day. Amos was 6 years old at the time and at first despised the newcomer, but they soon became the best of friends, playing together and nestling together for warmth and comfort when they slept. When Amos had died, Ashes had stopped eating and when cats don't eat their livers become damaged. I'd noticed that Ashes wasn't eating---depressed over losing his playmate, I thought. Then I noticed that after he did take a few bites of food or drank some water, he'd throw up a little. When he sat on the back of the couch in front of a window, a yellow tinge that had never been there before shown through his ears. "Jaundice", the vet told me, "from waste products that the liver could no longer remove building up in his blood. I could spend thousands of dollars on IV therapy in hopes of his liver healing, the vet explained, but it was unlikely it would. In the meantime, Ashes would probably have continuous vomiting and abdominal pain. So, there I sat, holding another beloved pet and feeling him go limp in my arms. It crushed me, AJRC323. I cried in the car in the parking lot 'til I could compose myself enough to drive home. Then I cried more on the trip home and off and on for a few weeks at home. (And, now and then---like while typing this note to you---I still cry.) BUT---as painful as it was for me, AJRC323, to see the life leave Amos & Ashes, I am more grieved by the fact that I wasn't there to comfort Donny, the cat I'd grown up with for 27 years. So grieve. It's normal. But also take comfort in the fact that you were there for Whitman when he needed you most.

MaryAnn ("Sky")

1479078 tn?1329367383
by kimbo546, Oct 24, 2010
                                                                          Rainbow Bridge


When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to rainbow bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.


All the animals who have been ill and old are restored to health and vigor, Those who were hurt or maimed are
made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals
are happy and content, except for one small thing, they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent, his eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carring him faster and faster.


You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face, your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.



Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together......                  Author unknown

242912 tn?1402547092
by Jade59, Oct 24, 2010
I'm so very sorry for your loss of Whitman.  He sounded like a very special kitty.  If possible, try not to remember Whitman's eye's as dark and lifeless in that moment, but as a sign he made it to the Rainbow Bridge and is now happy and healthy.  You only saw Whitman's shell go lifeless, not his spirit.  His spirit lives on, not only at the Rainbow Bridge, but in your heart, forever.

RIP, Whitman.

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