Euthanasia is a difficult thing. It’s hard to know if you’re making the right decision, and a responsibility I’m glad we have, but that can’t be taken lightly. You just never KNOW when the right time comes. I don’t want a buddy to suffer in any way, but I don’t want to jump the gun and disrespect life either.
That’s how it was with Sloppy. She just suddenly got very ill and decisions had to be made. You also second guess yourself about everything.
-Should I have taken her in for inappropriate urination immediately instead of putting it off until the end of the semester? Even though she was notorious for peeing on things the whole time I knew her?
-Should I have given her a gratuitous lion cut?
-Maybe I should have put aside consideration for co-workers and MY job and just taken proper time to care for her more. . . attentively (vitals, etc. . .) Monday at work. Even though it was busy.
-Would a V/D x-ray have shown the impending congestive heart failure? I only took a lateral to save time, and effort (for my co-workers), and supplies, and money.
-Should I have just left Sloppy at work Monday through Tuesday? Even if it meant someone else would be left to clean her cage and take her vitals and treat her?
-If I hadn’t given her Buprenex on Tuesday for pain would I have noticed signs earlier?
-Did the pain medication cause Sloppy not to eat? Would she have been OK if the opiates hadn’t put her in a 24 hour haze?
-Even though she finally settled down and seemed OK after a restless night Tuesday, should I have taken Sloppy to work with me Wednesday morning?
-I guess instead of trying to avoid going baaaack to work Wednesday and attempting to rinse the bladder by giving SQ fluids at home on Wednesday, anti-nausea medication, and trying to entice her to eat, I guess I should have taken her straight to work.
-If I had taken her in at 11 AM, instead of 2 PM, would the treatments relieved her symptoms instead of making them worse?
-Would I have seen signs of respiratory trouble if I had taken Sloppy home Wednesday night? How long did she struggle before anyone came back to the building? *Some things it’s better not to know*
-I woke up at 5:40 AM Thursday and thought about going in at 6:30 AM to clean and treat Sloppy–but didn’t because I thought it would confuse everyone (NO one reads, charts or records or the board) about what she did overnight, and besides, she might get treated twice.
-I thought about going in to clean and treat and maybe pick up Sloppy at 7:00 AM, but decided if I were scheduled to work, another person (or 2 b/c Cool would of course want to visit) in that small area would be more annoying then helpful, so opted not to.
-At 7:30 AM, I looked at the clock and thought about calling, but also knew everyone would have JUST gotten there and were probably trying to clean and take vitals and wouldn’t know anything yet anyway so a call would be bothering them.
-I should have taken my phone into the bedroom with me when I resumed closet-cleaning instead of leaving it by my laptop, because even though the volume was on 7, I never heard it when work tried to get a hold of me repeatedly.
Then, you never know when the end is. I didn’t know what to do when I saw Sloppy’s distress. When you’re emotionally involved, it’s difficult to see clearly–without hope intruding upon logic. The x-rays? Suddenly cloudy. The respiration were 90 outside the oxygen kennel and still 60 inside it. Sloppy looked scared and uncomfortable. But could Lasix bring her out of it? She had JUST been fine. I gave her vaccines just Monday. She had been bright-eyed that day. I never expected to have to make life-decisions by Thursday. So I gave myself a parameter [Side-note:even though Sloppy has been Cool's cat for the last 14 years and only mine for the last 4 years, she sort of defers to me as the expert. Which I, in no way feel like. Especially in a dire circumstance such as that.] If the prognosis was poor or grave we would say our goodbyes. If the vet said fair, we would do all things necessary, no matter the money or sleeplessness or time involved. Options were presented:
-Should I have taken Sloppy to emergency that night?
-Should I have taken the O2 cage home and tried to let everything leave her system?
-Would she just turn a corner given more time (24-48 hours)?
-Or would she just suffer?
Finally, I asked the prognoses. Poor in the short term and grave long term. And I had my answer. So then it fell upon me to make Cool understand, convince her the right choice to make, support her best I could, and give Sloppy as best of a last moment as possible. But still, I had doubt. It was difficult to keep to my initial parameter of prognosis to dictate what to do. And I
knew suspected (I know nothing definitively) I had played a part in the rapid down-turn, which made everything worse.
Bottom line is everyone was trying to help Sloppy. And sure maybe some wrong choices were made. But it’s so easy to see them looking backward, already knowing the outcome now. You re-think every decision you made and didn’t and it could really make a person crazy. And what’s the point of that? What’s done is done and Sloppy is gone anyway. I just hope she realizes how much she was loved. . . Sloppy-Joe, I love you and we miss you <3