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roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #1 
I am overwhelmed with guilt about what I failed to do for my 12 year old diabetic kitty. 

I failed to notice symptoms that I should have noticed (eating less, doing under the bed, urinating at the edge of the box so that it got wet underneath).  I have another cat who was eating his food, but I just though Calvin was not as hungry as usual.  When he finally stopped eating, I called a mobile vet because he is so hard to catch.  This vet gave me Clavamox because he had a fever and said he would start eating the next day.  He did not.  This vet did not warn me that it is dangerous for diabetic kitties not to eat, and I really did not know that (I should have).  Calvin was overweight.  I force fed him liquefied canned food and took him to the vet. They gave him fluids overnight and ran tests.  He had an enlarged, firm liver, jaundice and a fever.   They said his prognosis was very poor.

 I took him to an emergency center and they hydrated/force fed him over the weekend.  When he came out, he was eating and his fever was gone. But his bilirubin level was higher. 

I got an ultrasound and aspiration into his liver and into a thickened section of bowel, as well as a test for pancreatitis.  He had an inflamed gall bladder, an enlarged liver, abnormal cells in his liver which could have been cancer and pancreatitis.  I did not want to subject him to a liver biopsy for fear of anesthesia and bleeding.

He ate for a few days, then began to eat less and less.  I did not know how much insulin to give him, so I kept it low.  I learned how to take a blood sugar reading, but messed up a few times and got emotional.  I tried to force feed him, but I was not getting enough into him.  I considered a feeding tube, but a friend talked me out of it  I took him back to the emergency center and found out he was anemic (I had noticed his breathing had become audible), not to the point of needing a transfusion, but getting worse (25% worse in a week).  He had lost a pound in a week, was drinking and urinating a lot even when his blood sugar was not high, and was too weak to walk.  I could have put him back into the hospital to get rehydrated and fed, but I had reached $3,000 plus in expenses (including staying home for a week without pay)  and I did not know if he would make it even if I spent a lot more.  Another friend was telling me I should euthanize him if he did not start eating on his own.

I should have had the feeding tube put in and nursed him back to health.  I was selfishly considering my own health (I have fibromyalgia and had lost 5 pounds on my already very thin frame), and I was not a good nurse.  I got too emotional.  I did not get all his antibiotics into him, and I despaired when I looked into his eyes and he looked past me.  He kept moving around, was uncomfortable, did not want to be touched, and had to be awakened to be force fed.  He would drink and fall asleep with his head on the water dish. 

At this point, I should have followed my own gut, which told me to put him back in the hospital and then get a feeding tube put in.  Instead I had him put to sleep.  I have had no peace since.  I keep reliving my selfish decision not to spend any more money and not to nurse him.  I have another cat (his brother) and two dogs, and I have not been giving them the attention they need.  I know I have to forgive myself, but I don’t know how.

Thank you for reading this.



Cecis_Mom

Registered:
Posts: 1,191
 #2 
Dear Rita,

I am so sorry for the loss of your precious kitty, Calvin.

I am so sorry you are racked with guilt.  Guilt is a normal part of the grieving process. 

There comes a time when chronically ill pets are ready to die, and no amount of expansive and expensive treatments or procedures can prolong the inevitable much longer.  Our precious babie's bodies start shutting down.

There comes a time when one has to consider the rising costs of these additional treatments, the inability to take more time off of work, the invasive aspect of any further treatment, the fragility of the pet, the physical and emotional effects on the caregivers, etc., etc. 

You tried a variety of options with your precious Calvin.  You did the best you could.  Sometimes it takes another person (in this case your friend) to point out that humane euthanasia is now the honorable, viable option to consider.

I am so sorry you are dealing with such conflicting emotions right now.  But once you start reading other members' posts, you will see that you are not alone in your feelings and that others have shared your experience.  I am one of those members of your new Pet Loss Family.

Lean on us during the difficult days ahead.

May God Bless You and Keep You in His Care,

Ceci's Mom (Robin) and Mama to Lil' Red, my precious boy

Reindeer

Registered:
Posts: 54
 #3 
I am so very sorry for your loss.

Please do not punish yourself for how things unfolded.  Once you recognized that something was not right, you did all that you could to help your beloved.  Sometimes there are limits to what we CAN do and what we SHOULD do.

I had to put my cherished Shyne to sleep ten days ago -- he'd been diagnosed with a nasal carcinoma eight days earlier.  I'd been given the option to try radiation... but aside from the cost, I just couldn't imagine putting Shyne through the trauma of it.

The possibility is very real that you could have put the feeding tube in (which I can't imagine would have been comfortable for him), and your baby still might not have recovered.  Sometimes I think we opt for these invasive procedures to prolong our babies lives because we are not ready to let go, more than they will give our loved ones a prolonged quality of life.

It is so easy to second guess ourselves at these times... what if I had done this, what if I had done that.  Please go easy on yourself -- I know it is a terrible time for you right now... and as much as you miss your furbaby, he is no longer suffering. 

I have found this to be a wonderful place -- with people who truly understand, and are there for us when we need it most.  Keep writing -- it really does help.

I wish you peace and comfort in this sad time.

Shyne's Mom


PunkinMummy

Registered:
Posts: 1,038
 #4 
Dear Calvin's Forever Family,

My heart absolutely breaks for you. I could have written exactly the same words and indeed have written similar feelings. Different circumstances but the same overwhelming guilt and the same doubts, pain and all-encompassing despair that I could not change what happened.
 
Did I really do enough for my little ones? Was my decision to finally give up and give them back to the One who created us all a rational, loving and well-thought-out decision? Does anyone at all understand and hear how much I feel I failed?

For my sweet Punkin, I did too much and he died a terrible death in an Intensive Care Unit where I could not even hold him to ease his suffering, nor whisper I loved him one last time as he left. For my other two, like you, I had terrible, terrible regrets over not doing enough. I feel I should have put a feeding tube in my shy little Elmo whose bowel had been destroyed by an infection and I should have least tried to find out why my precious Chloe could not stand or walk. But I made the best decisions I could at the time. I had lost hope with Elmo and my Chloe Beau was terrified at the Vet's. Like you, I thought I made the only decision I could.

What I do know for sure is that no matter how old and how loved they are, nor how easily they slip from this world to the next we have guilt and doubt. Sometimes devastating guilt and doubt. Even if they die in their sleep at the age of 22, loved and well cared for, brushed after eating a favorite meal,  we would blame ourselves. We would think that we hadn't fed the right food, or we should have brushed them more or we hadn't played with them enough . We would blame ourselves that we didn't see it coming and for what we felt we missed. I don't know why we blame ourselves so much. Maybe because we want to feel less helpless and believe we have control over the world when the truth is we have so little control over loss. So painfully little control at all.

I am so sorry for your loss of your sweet Calvin. I have a diabetic cat too, Parker, and I have had a diabetic cat Punkin. I know how hard it is to care for them and to keep track of them of them in a multi-cat home for which we also blame ourselves.

I won't tell you did the best that you could just because you won't believe me and it might not be any comfort at all for that reason. But I do believe you did the best you could and if I can suggest anything to you, please be gentle with yourself and don't expect too much right now. We are only human. We aren't perfect and as painful as it might be, we can't control, in most cases, them leaving us.

Please come back again and walk a little while with us. Tell us about Calvin and post his picture when you are able. It helps so much to be among people who understand your grief. This journey of grief we all walk is long, lonely and sometimes very hard but it need never be walked alone here. And on the other side of all the overwhelming pain is the sweetness of just loving them all over again once the pain diminishes.

Sending you many hugs of support and understanding,

Colleen (Forever Mummy of The Orange Tabby Crew at the Bridge)


In honor of Calvin ~
 
There Is A New Star Shining In The Sky Tonight...

There is an old belief that the stars shining in the night sky are the spirits of those who have died. They have shed their earthly bodies and exchanged them for bodies made of light; thousands upon thousands of our dear departed friends all promoted to glory in the night sky. There is another saying that the brightest flame burns the shortest.

My friend, you were the brightest star in my own universe. While I burn on, my flame dimmed by grief and despair at your passing, the stars are watching me. They are too far away for me to touch, just as you have gone somewhere I cannot follow until my own star-time comes. They cannot be held close for comfort, just as I can no longer hold you close, though I held you close to comfort you in your final hours. We were together for such a short time, but the stars will burn forever.

One day I will grow tired of this earthbound body, my own star-time will come and my spirit will soar into the sky to burn with all those friends who have gone before me. On the inky cloth of space we will be reunited in constellations of joy. Until then, my flame burns low and dim and cold without you.
 
Through my tears I look upwards to see if you are watching me and what do I see?

There is a new star shining in the sky tonight.
 
 
ironken

Registered:
Posts: 23
 #5 
I feel your pain. I put my little boy Mojo down on Friday. You did what you could. You gave your baby a good life. We must try to think of the good times we had together and you know you were a good mommy. Guilt is so common. I feel so guilty I got mad at Mojo when he woke me up at 2am to go diarrhea outside or when he wouldnt eat. Now I know why. he had cancer. I will get over the gult stage and so will you. Time my friend. I am praying for you and your beloved one. God Bless



http://www.petloss.com/mbphotos3/mojo.jpg
tere

Registered:
Posts: 324
 #6 
I'm so sorry you went through all this with Calvin. I know how difficult it is to manage a pet with diabetes because I had a wheaten mix who was diabetic the last 3 years of his life. It was basically hell as to keep them stable depends upon their ability and desire to eat. Everything has to stay constant or its a regular juggling act.

You did a lot for Calvin, probably more than the average pet "owner" would have done in the same situation. I suspect Calvin was really beyond saving at that point. He sounded really sick and his quality of life was just not good.

I hope, in time, you can come to a place of peace about your Calvin.
poodles

Registered:
Posts: 5
 #7 
I am so sorry for your loss. I think you did the best for Calvin. When my 11 year old poodle had to keep running to the bathroom I thought he had a stomach cold.  I took him to the vet and they thought he had pancreatitis. His liver was enlarged and bloodwork was off the chart. It turned out to be liver cancer that had to spread to his stomach. The emergency hospital told me his prognosis was poor. They told me they could keep him at the hospital and give him fluids, feed him thru a tube but all it would do was prolong the inevitable. I don't think he would of wanted that. They said he wasn't happy there and would be better off at home. So I brought him home. When he stopped eating and drinking, was too weak to stand, I knew this was no life for him. I did not want him to get to the point where he would start to suffer and that would be next. The vet came to the house and my furbaby went to the Rainbow Bridge. So please do not feel guilty for your decision. What kind of life would it have been for Calvin to have to be force fed thru feeding tubes.  If he had an enlarged liver and abnormal liver cells it very well may have been cancer. If so, there is no way you could have known. I thought that I should have noticed signs but realized it is hard to do. Even when you tell the vets things, they don't always pick up on it. People  I have known who had a pet that gets to the point that Calvin did , where he would have to keep going to the hospital just to live, ending up prolonging the pets life for a short time, but the quality of life was not good. But that is a personal decision and I am sure they made the best decision they could at the time. So please do not be hard on yourself because I think you did the best you could with the knowledge you had. Come here where people have went thru similiar experiences to get support.  God Bless Calvin. 



Murphy22

Registered:
Posts: 1,982
 #8 
Some very beautiful words have been written here for you tonight.  I can't add anything to them, they are just perfect and so wise.  I can add my sympathy and understanding in how hard this decision is on you.  Many of us have had to do the same and then wonder with guilt if we did the right thing.  In time, your heart will know you did the right thing for Calvin.  It took me several months to come to terms with it, but when I did, I understood and looked at it from my baby's view of her life, her pain and discomfort. 

We just love them so very much, it's hard to face daily life without them when they have moved on to the next realm of their existence.  But we know they are there, they are happy and healthy again, and they want us to be happy and healthy again too.  They love us as much as we love them.  

Please take care and know we understand.
Murphy's Mommy
roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #9 
Thank everyone so much for the heartfelt, beautiful and generous responses to my pain and grief.  I am grateful and awed.  I love the kitty star picture!

I keep telling myself that I took care of Calvin's diabetes for four and an half years, giving him insulin injections twice a day and taking him for blood sugar checks.  He was very difficult to regulate; the hospital stay did not work, and he resisted two kinds of human insulin and finally ended up on bovine PZI, recommended by many on the Feline Diabetes Board.   He had several bladder infections and bladder stones which almost killed him (middle of the night emergency trip).  My vet told me that his neuropathy would never go away, but it did.  I got him vitamin B12 cream for his ears and never gave up on him.  He was only 7, the poor little guy.  I was sure that I could not stick needles into my kitty, but the alternative was to watch him die, and that was no alternative.

I had more energy then, and I did not have the two dogs.

I had an auto accident on New Year's Eve which set off the air bag and totaled my car.  Thank God, I walked away with only sore ribs, but I was shook up.  The other driver did not have insurance and was driving without a license. I was preocccupied and was probably not paying as much attention to Calvin as I usually do.  That is not offered as an excuse, but as a desperate attempt to figure out why I did not put together his sypmtoms and take him to the vet until it may have been too late.

I hate to think that I thought about money when caring for my friend.  For myself, I said that I would not take physical therapy when I heard about the $40 copy per visit.  If the physical therapy group had not been willing to reduce the copay, I would have walked out without treatment. So I guess I think about money when caring for myself too, but his case was life or death.

I think Calvin would have gotten to the point of eating again with another treatment at the emergency center because they could get two kinds of antibiotics in intravenously and force feed him much better than I could.  Then maybe a feeding tube would have worked.  One vet was aggressive and recommended that; another did not.  Even after the feeding tube was in, we had to face the abnormal cells in his liver.  There were more cells than there should have been and they had some of the markers of neoplasia...not all, but some.  I think most likely they were pre-cancerous.  Even the aggressive vet said that treatment for liver cancer was limited, and his quality of life would have been poor.

I miss him so much!  I cry every morning, and I second guess myself constantly.  I have talked to two animal communicators to try to get in touch with him.  The first was short and not very satisfying; the second helped for a little while, but it was done by written transcript and was almost too "other-worldly" for me to relate.  I would like to share it, if that is permissible.

 I am going to talk to one more animal communicator.  She is actually local, although it will be over the phone, and she promises to give details that only I will be able to recognize.  I can't wait to "talk" to Calvin.  I am something of a skeptic, but I want badly to connect with him, and this woman has been doing this sort of thing for 20 years.

I got pet insurance for my dogs and took Hobbes, Calvin's brother, to the vet for injections and an "older cat" CBC panel.  In a few months, PetPlan will offer insurance for animals over 10 years of age.

Thank everyone from the bottom of my heart!

Rita (and Hobbes, Charlie and Maddie)


roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #10 
I posted a question to "Just Answer" as to whether or not Calvin's abnormal cells were cancerous.  This is the reply.  A lot of my heartache lied in not knowing for sure.

The description you provided does support a possible diagnosis of neoplasia, most notably in the presence of basophilic cytoplasm, which is a classic marker of neoplasia. However, other markers, such as multiple nucleoli, were noted to be absent. The other signs are more in the middle of the road -- moderate anisocytosis/anisokaryosis, and intermediate n/c ratio. Unfortunately, that leaves a rather vague overall impression of what type of process was going on.

However, when we take the clinical picture in hand, a somewhat elderly cat with multiple organ system disease, neoplasia becomes somewhat more likely, and even with a biopsy result that isn't very specific, I would put neoplasia high on my list of possibilities.


DrewTenderHeartWolf

Registered:
Posts: 1,493
 #11 

(((((Rita))))).  I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby Calvin.  I am glad to read in your second post that you do know how much you did for Calvin.  Any time we have a loss, we second guess ourselves.  I did the same when I lost my dog Issi two weeks ago.  Like Calvin, there was something not quite right with her bloodwork and despite my and the vet's best efforts, she never recovered from the pneumonia.

 

Our babies are such an important part of our lives.  You have been an exceptional furmom, going above and beyond in caring for Calvin.  Trust me when I say he knows this. 

 

I have never talked with a pet psychic.  I have however communicated with my mother in law through a psychic.  It was quite interesting the things he knew that no one else could have known, especially about her final days with us.  I am looking forward to hearing more about it from you.

 

Take care Rita and please do continue to come to us for the love, comfort and support you need.  I hope to talk with you some time.

 

Your friend,

 

DrewTenderHeartWolf

 

http://www.dogster.com/dogs/371347

roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #12 
Is there an afterlife for animals?  I have never been sure that individual consciousness survives for humans or creatures, but I hope so!  I want Calvin to be whole again and still loving me as I love him. 

I have ordered Kim Sheridan's books ("Animals and the Afterlife" and the sequel) and one by Penelope Smith.  I can't wait to read them.  I keep wishing I could see Calvin or dream about him.  Has anyone had any "visits" from pets who have departed life on the earth?
Nancee

Registered:
Posts: 1,328
 #13 
Sorry for your loss of Calvin. I had a diabetic cat, Bootsie. He was initially dx in summer of 99, and came out of it (remission). Then, in 04, he went into it permanently. I couldn't even begin to tell anyone what the 4 1/2 years were like. He passed away last July (euthanized after his 3rd bout with DKA). It was heartbreaking and exhausting. Days I didn't think I'd survive it. I was in healthcare for years prior so it helped me in a way, but my nerves suffered so bad those years, I thought I would literally drop at any moment (with 3 other sick ones, too).
I actually think you did the right thing. Sometimes, when a pet is so chronically ill, you're fighting a battle that is just too much to fight. With cat diabetes, it's so hard to regulate them and keep them healthy.
I hope you find comfort.
roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #14 
In replay to Nancee:  Calvin did not have any ketones.  As far as I know, he never had DKA.  I am so sorry for your experiences.

I think he had cat triad disease that was pretty far advanced, and possibly pre-cancer in his liver.  There was also something going on in his intestine; the aggressive vet had plans to surigically remove the part that was thickened.  My guilt lies in my belief that he could have been stabilized with more time in the hospital and a feeding tube.  I was afraid, though, that the pancreatitis might become chronic and that he would need antibiotics for a long time. The mass of cells in his liver that had characteristics of cancer worried me a lot. He was so exhausted and so unwilling to eat the last few days.  I was going to nurse him, but the thought of going back to work and caring for him and the others began to overwhelm me.  I gave up.  That is why I can't forgive myself.  I think I would have felt better if I had kept trying, even if I did have an emotional breakdown; nothing can be worse than this. 

I wrote the following the several days before I took him in for euthanasia: 

Calvin is not doing well.  His diabetes is not controlled now, he is dehydrated, his blood sugar is low, it's hard to get blood from him for tests and he is exhausted.  The vet yesterday said his diabetes needs to be regulated, but I feel like he is giving up.  He is weak from being sick, but he was lying on the blanket I put out for him.  Now he is sleeping with his face to the wall, and he won't leave the back room. If the diabetes is the main problem, I can try to work with that, but if he is giving up, I need to let him go.   He doesn't want me to hold him.

My regular vet fired me because I think too much on my own.  I don't even want to go into it.  I have another appointment with the vet where I took him on the weekend.  I hope I can get him hydrated to give me a breathing space to decide what to do.

I am sure that if he is hydrated, he will perk up. Lydia's cat is being hydrated weekly.  If that's what is needed, I can do that.  But he was hydrated this weekend and that began wearing off on the fourth day.

My heart is breaking again.  I will never do this again.  If he truly can't face the stress of being here any more, I won't force him. 

I very nearly snatched him up even after they had him ready to be put to sleep.  He had his head and paw on my hand and I had the other hand on his head.  He was wrapped in a blanket I had bought him to be carried in. 

He was anesthetized first before the final solution was put in.  I could not stay after he became unconscious.  His eyes went flat; I screamed and left. It was horrible. I wanted him back. I still want him back.

I am sorry.  I feel that I should be more positive about things, but I am overwhelmed.  I am playing a piano piece in his honor for an Ash Wed. service.  My church is pretty liberal.  The organist and I are friends, and he thought doing that would help me heal.  It's called "Come to the Hills" and it's happy and lilting.  It conjures images of creatures playing and running in the hills and meadows.  I hope it helps people who have lost anyone, human or feline or canine.

I miss my Calvin kitty.  I hope I can speak with him tomorrow.


 

 

 

 





roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #15 

 I know I am posting a lot.  I wrote this to my new vet.                                                                                                                              CALVIN’S STORY

 

Dear Leslie,

 

Thank you so much for speaking with me about Calvin.  I am sure I will need to call again, and I appreciate your understanding of inconsolable grief and my wanting to know why my friend was so sick.

 

I really did think his diabetes was controlled.  A few months earlier, when I took him for a BG reading, his sugar was very low.  We kept decreasing his insulin until suddenly his BG spiked.  His insulin dosage finally ended up where it had been.  For a long time in the past it was 9 units twice a day.  In early December he had a good reading at 6 units twice a day, and I was told I should return if he showed clinical signs of problems. 

 

I have always known that canned food is better for diabetics than dry food, but Calvin would not eat much canned food.  I got dry food with chicken or salmon as the first ingredient and no corn or wheat gluten.  Still, I am sure he got too many carbohydrates.

 

I was taught to do a blood glucose reading at Dr. Kirmayer’s office on Wednesday, at my request.  I could have saved myself a lot of grief if I had not done that.  I was just afraid to give him insulin if he was eating almost nothing.

 

I wanted a bilirubin test done that day, since Dr. Kirmayer wanted that monitored, but Dr. Whalen said she could not get enough blood out of him to do the test and that his blood pressure was probably low. 

 

I know I should have caught earlier the fact that something was not right with him.  That’s the main way I let him down, I think, that and letting him go a couple of days without eating.  In my ignorance, I did not realize that it was dangerous for cats not to eat, especially diabetics.  A friend had told me that cats could go for quite a while without food as long as they were drinking (he never stopped drinking). 

 

About two weeks before he stopped eating altogether, he would stop eating early and Hobbes would start to eat his food.  I would take his food away from Hobbes and give it back to Calvin, who would eat some more but not finish.  I just thought he was not as hungry, and I was probably fooled about how much he ate due to Hobbes eating his food.  He was not really acting differently that I noticed otherwise. When he stopped eating, I called a mobile vet to spare him a trip to the vet (he would usually hide under the bed,  which I could not crawl under, and several times I would have to reschedule for blood sugar checks.  I should have used a broom).  This vet said he had a fever and an infection and gave me Clavamox.  He did not notice the enlarged liver or seem to know that it is dangerous for a diabetic cat not to eat.  I asked him if not eating was bad for the liver, since I had begun researching on the internet, and he said that if Calvin just ate a little that the liver would be fine.  The next day Calvin would not eat.  I called this vet, who said to give him less Clavamox and his appetite should return.  That sounded wrong to me, so I called my vet, which I should have done in the first place.  I stopped the Clavamox and began feeding him diluted canned food through the Clavamox syringe.  Calvin was kept overnight at Capital Area and tests were run.  They thought his liver was enlarged and possibly failing, and said his prognosis was very poor.  I considered euthanizing him then, but I couldn’t stand the thought of not giving him a chance. 

 

The tests showed nothing very out of line except low blood urea nitrogen, not surprising since he was not eating, and elevated bilirubin and blood sugar; his liver enzymes were normal.  I took him to the Animal Emergency Clinic, and they got his fever down and his appetite back by Monday, when he had the ultrasound and fine-needle aspirations.  He ate OK and even did a few of his kitty things before I saw you on Thursday, although I suspect the ravenous eating and drinking and constant peeing on Tuesday was due to high blood sugar.  Thursday evening he would not eat much, and Friday he ate only a very little (he ate a little of his former dry food with catnip spray; he lapped at newly opened cans of Royal Canin RS; he licked at clam juice; he showed no interest when I poured tuna and salmon juice on food).  I force fed him about 30 ml. of food on Friday in addition to the little he ate on his own, and maybe 20 ml. – literally nothing -  on Saturday, but I lost heart.  I had to wake him up to feed him, and he kept turning his head away.  He was so tired.  He would drink a while and then fall asleep with his head on the water dish.  It was heartbreaking.  He ventured out to the bathroom once and got to the sink via the toilet.  I dripped the water from the faucet as I always do, but he just stared at it. Then he turned around and crouched.  I couldn’t stand it.

 

I had tried to get his antibiotic into him by crushing it into his food, but found out from you that I needed to get it into him separately.  I pilled him OK on Thursday and Friday, but I lost heart on Saturday, since I had begun to say good-bye to him in my heart.  On Sunday morning, after he peed and then lay in his litter box (and I had to lift him down to his litter box), I took him to the emergency center and found out his hematocrit was 25%, down from 33% a week earlier.  What I thought might be purring when I put my ear to his head was audible breathing.  I could not stand the thought that his breathing might become labored.  I wish Dr. Zippey had been there, but she was not always on duty.

 

Calvin did not seem to be recovering, and I didn’t want him to be chronically ill for the rest of his life.  He was not old for a cat, but not young either, especially for a diabetic cat.  A good friend told me I looked worse than Calvin.  In ten days, I lost 5 pounds on an already thin frame, and I was falling asleep where I sat.  I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, and I was beginning to despair of my ability to care for him properly and work even my part-time hours.  I took a week off to be with him, but it was unpaid, and I could not afford to keep doing that, although I would have liked to be with him all the time.  He did not interact with me much after Wednesday, and, as you said, he must have been very uncomfortable and in pain.  He would crouch a lot of the time, I guess to avoid pressure on his organs.  Once he relaxed, he looked better, but he could not stand to be petted for long.  Even his insulin injections seemed to bother him, and I used a very fine needle.

 

The euthanasia did not give me any peace.  He was wrapped in the blanket I gave him, so did not feel the cold table, and I had my hands on him.  When his eyes went flat, I ran screaming from the room.  I told him I loved him, and, as I said, he put his head and paw on my hand. 

 

If he had cancer, I guess it would not have helped a lot to have gotten him to the vet sooner.  I just hope not all of these problems were due to my poor care.  He seemed to do well for so long.  I don’t have much faith in full CBC panels any more, since he had one of those several months ago and everything looked fine.

 

I miss his elfin kitty spirit, his naps in my lap, kisses on my neck, and the fact that his tail was always up.  It will take me a long time to come to terms with his illness and his absence from my life.  There is a huge hole in my heart, and I miss him inexpressibly.

 

Thank you for your large heart and willingness to listen.  You are now the vet for Calvin’s brother Hobbes and my dogs Prince Charlie (Charlie) and Little Miss Madeline (Maddie).  If the question comes up about euthanasia for any of them in the future, I know you will give me your honest opinion, which I will trust implicitly.  The dogs are only 5 and 6 years old, but Hobbes is 12.  So far he has not been sick at all.  He is overweight, so I am gradually giving him less to eat and alternating between dry and canned food.  I will need to look at all their records to schedule out their next annual checkups and injections.  He does go outside into my fenced yard through the dog door.  He can’t get out of the fence, but he could still meet a wild animal back there.  I declined his injections the last time due to his age, but will ask you your opinion about injections for him.  In fact, I may bring them all in for baseline visits so that you can get to know them. 

 

One time when I had Calvin in for a BG test and the dogs along for company, Charlie had a seizure.  I never found out why.  I did insist on a lyme disease test, since he had been bitten by a tick the week before, and the vet recommended a CBC panel.  The other tests were normal, but he did have lyme disease.  I gave him the course of antibiotics, but he should be retested in a few months. 

 

I want to get pet insurance, but I am not sure which brand. I will be doing some research. 

 

Thank you again, and bless you.

 

Gratefully,

 

   

 

Rita

PatC

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #16 
I am so sorry for your loss. After I read what was going on, it sounds like you definitely did the right thing to ease his suffering. I cut and pasted the paragraph you wrote about his problems.

I got an ultrasound and aspiration into his liver and into a thickened section of bowel, as well as a test for pancreatitis.  He had an inflamed gall bladder, an enlarged liver, abnormal cells in his liver which could have been cancer and pancreatitis.  I did not want to subject him to a liver biopsy for fear of anesthesia and bleeding.

I know that sometimes we second guess our decisions when it comes down to the final stretch but I think what you did was best. I send love to your "Calvin" and you. Several of my friends have greeted him and showed him where the best mousing is.

Pat


AmyC2

Registered:
Posts: 51
 #17 
Rita,

I'm so thankful that so many people replied to your post, because when I read it last night, I couldn't bear to respond since I have also been having such great feelings of guilt. I wanted to write to you today though in hopes that we can help each other.

Our stories are so similar. My sweetest love, my orange tabby Robin, would have been 16 in April. He passed away peacefully last Wednesday.

I too questioned, "What is my problem!?" why didn't I take him in sooner? He was spending more time under the bed just like your sweet Calvin. He had done this in the past, and it wasn't a good sign. His meow didn't even sound the same in the last week or so. But like you, I thought he just wasn't feeling well because he was having his bladder irritation issue flair up again. He was still eating and drinking and using the litter box, and still acting mostly like himself.

Robin had many health issues throughout his life. But you would never know it. He was STRONG. People were amazed by his tenacity. He started out early in life with crystals in his urine which would block him. He had surgery eventually to correct this. He had bladder irritation issues. He was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2006. He went through two rounds of chemo and beat it! It never came back. He was diagnosed with declining kidneys well over a year ago and had a major episode back then, but came back strong. I had him on fluids at home to help him maintain his kidneys. A slight heart murmur was also detected over a year ago, but was kept in check. It would be shorter to list the number of vitamins and medication that he wasn't on. At times it was hard, and like you experienced, frustrating and exhausting. We're only human. But we did it. We did what we needed to do to take care of our babies.

But throughout ALL of this, his quality of life remained very good. I am blessed to have a loving, caring, and thorough doctor who took such good care of him and left no stone unturned. But every now and then, when a concern would flare up, we would have the discussion about  "what to do" when the time came when Robin's quality of life wouldn't be there anymore. 

That time happened last week. When he stopped eating, I knew that it was time to get him in to the emergency clinic. His kidneys levels had gone way up again, and so he was put on IV fluids. The levels came down, but he wasn't responding well. He became very lethargic. The doctors at the emergency hospital still gave me hope that if he became less lethargic, he could still come home and I could again try to maintain him on fluids. (All along though, for the past year and even before that, I knew and was reminded again and again, that his kidneys at some point would fail no matter what we did). We did an ultrasound, and it showed some fluid in his lungs. One of his kidneys was very small, and I was told that the other kidney was basically doing all the work. They gave him a drug to help with the excess fluid, but this was damaging to the kidneys. The amount of fluids needed to sustain his kidneys were damaging is heart. But without the fluids, his kidneys wouldn't do well. It was a vicious circle. By Wednesday morning, he was having trouble breathing. They talked about a feeding tube, and short of dialysis, or a kidney transplant there was nothing else they could do.

I knew then that it was time to say goodbye. Believe me, I didn't think I would ever, ever, be able to make that decision. But it became so clear. I wanted Robin to leave this world as the cat I knew. My strong, "Tenacious C", "The Boss" as he was known in the pecking order of our household. We stayed with him all day and I held him tightly and told him how much I loved him and that I would always be with him.

While I have no regrets about letting him go when I knew the time had come, I felt such guilt for not getting him in sooner. What if I would have brought him in a week sooner? A day sooner? A month sooner. Robin's doctor, who I talked to the next day, assured me that it would not have mattered. She said that even if I would have brought him in back in December, it would still be the same outcome. His kidneys just could not sustain him anymore. She told me that we did everything we could, and it was just time for him to let go. I told her "thank you for saying this", and she said "Amy, I'm not making this up. You did everything you could have done for him". I believed her. She has always been 100% honest with me. But of course there are times like last night, where I slip back and have my doubts again. But I think I'm just beating myself up because I miss him so much and can't bear the thought of not holding him again. 

I do believe that you did everything you could have done for Calvin. Robin and Calvin's little bodies just could not sustain anymore. What if we did take them in earlier? Maybe they would have left us even sooner. They are at peace. They know without a doubt how much we loved and still love them.

As for their spirits, I do believe they live on. This is what I shared in my original post about Robin:

"The next thing I have to say I feel strange writing to people about because it is so personal.  I don't consider my self religious in the traditional sense, but I am very spiritual and believe that we all have spirits or souls or whatever name that you want to give them, that live on. I am grateful that I had the chance to hold him in my arms for hours (Tim and I were with him all day at the hospital) before he went peacefully. As I held him in my arms, he turned towards me and extended his arm to me. I told him over and over that I loved him and that mommy would would always be with him. He was lucid, and I am absolutely sure that he heard me. As the doctor injected the drug, and I held on to him talking to him, I have no other way to describe it, but I believe that I felt his spirit go into me.  I have no other way to describe it.  I am wondering now if his spirit will appear again in a form that I will be able to give my love? Will it remain in me and be a part of me forever? I don't know, but I feel him there."

Yesterday I told Tim, my life partner, that my chest kind of hurt because Robin's spirit is just so big. And I meant it. On this site, you'll read of other people's wonderful stories of signs that they've seen and felt as well, that their babies spirits are alive.

Thank you for letting me share all of this with you. It helps me to be able to talk to others who understand and I hope that at least in some small way that it will help you to.

Be well and please do share more about Calvin when you are able.

My heart goes out to you.

Amy



jo

Registered:
Posts: 366
 #18 
awww, sweetie, you did nothing wrong. I had two recently diagnosed diabetic kitties (one died 3 weeks ago), and both have been an AGONIZING process to get the diabetes under control. The one we never succeeded with - he was elderly and had other problems too, and it just all kept getting worse. The other is still with me, but we still don't have his diabetes under control, after months of blood tests and insulin adjustments.

Everyone told me at first it's really easy to treat cats with diabetes, but I tell you it is definitely NOT easy. It is a huge challenge, and you did a lot even trying to work things out, and for 4 years. I just recently started the home metering, and it's tough. Most of the time I give up trying because my kitty gets so upset and I can't get enough blood to test. Hopefully in time we will get an easy routine going, but it's not something that anyone (except vets & techs) could expect to do easily on a regular basis.

Based on what you wrote, it sounds like your kitty's body was shutting down. I don't think a feeding tube would have been a good idea - it sounds like your guy was ready to go, and that would have just been putting him through more stuff he didn't want.

I hope you will find peace in knowing he had a good life with you, and that you helped him go with dignity when he was ready to, and didn't force him to stick around longer than his body was telling him it wanted.

{{{{Hugs & sympathy}}}}
Joanna
Calliewolf

Registered:
Posts: 84
 #19 
You gave the ultimate gift of love a furparent can give. It is never and easy decision, and we take their pain into ourselves. I know it hurts, and it hurts deep sweetie. But, please know you did nothing wrong,

I have been through having to make this choice, as many others have. You Have many, many supportive (supporting?) friends here, and please be kind to yourself. I pray that you find peace soon, and I sincerely hope that your heart will heal, and you will be able to remember your baby with tears of joy instead of pain.
akaduck

Registered:
Posts: 160
 #20 
I am so sorry for your loss. It's been 2mos since I had to have my Murphy put to sleep. That day runs over in my head. I had been taking care of Murphy for almost 2yrs for a heart murmur & then an enlarged heart. He was on 5 pills a day twice a day. He had good days and bad days. He coughed alot due to the enlarged heart which pressed against his trachea. In the past 7mos prior to his passing I had him to 3 other vets. Pretty much told me the same thing he could go at anytime and it was due me keeping up all that was going on. Nothing was going to change except he was going to go anytime. He started to cough alot late that night and it kept up off and on all night. He threw up at one point then slept for about an hour. It all started again, off to the vet we went; he was put on a venilator, giving injections of lasik, and nothing worked. He started to cough up blood and did so while I was holding him. He was being kept alive by the venilator. I so much wanted him to come home to die but was told it would not be pleasant passing for him. So I held him in my arms and he was given the injections.  As I read posts here I realize there was nothing I could do & he was distancing himself all during that night from me; his little tired body was shutting down & he knew it was time. I didn't want to realize but he knew. 

You did what was best for your little furbaby. It will creep up on you and you will replay over and over but it was the loving thing to do as I was told.         
Lilly222

Registered:
Posts: 2,199
 #21 
Dear Rita,
Oh dear heart you did so much to try and save your precious Calvin, please don't be so hard on yourself. I so very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. You are a loving, caring furmom and did your best. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we just can't save them.
 
My heart dog, Lady, became very ill the morning after my cat Albert passed in my arms. She was vomiting and coughing, I took her to the ER and after x-rays and blood work, found she had pancreatitis, megesophagus...a condition that allowed everything she ate or drank to go to her lungs... and as a result of this, she had aspiration pnuemonia. I noticed no symptoms until she had vomited...
The end result was she was given very poor odds of surviving. I too tried...I brought her home, gave her IV fluids and tried to get her meds into her...when it became apparent that she was aspirating her meds too, I knew the only option left for me and HER was to help her gently to the bridge.
 
I would give anything not to have had to make the decision to have her euthanized, but out of love for her and not being able to watch her struggle for each breath, watching her want to eat and drink so badly and yet she couldn't do it...I looked in her eyes and knew it was time for her to leave me...she needed my help then more than any other time in her life. We make this devastating decision out of pure love for our babies...a final act of unconditional love for them.

Rita, you did not fail Calvin, you did everything in your power and if you were emotional so be it, I was too and I am a former RN. It is so difficult watching the little ones we love when their health fails them. Please don't be so hard on yourself. Your beautiful Calvin knows how much you love him, he took that love with him to the bridge. As you can see, you are not alone here, we are a family who have all loved and lost one or more babies. Please know you have my thoughts and prayers with you and your family. God Bless.
((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
Lilly & my three babies at the bridge
 mybabies3.jpg
 
 
Boosca

Registered:
Posts: 654
 #22 
Dear Rita,
  I saw this post yesterday, and really wanted to write a response, but it just tore my heart out, and I had to put it off for a day.  Boosca also died of diabetes, and his last couple of hours were probably some of the most difficult of my life.  I doubt I will ever get over the sorrow, and trauma associated with that day. 
  I am truly sorry for your loss.  You absolutely did everything that you could.  Regardless of how the end happens, or weather we did everything right or everything wrong, we all have to make peace with our decisions, and walk through this dark road of grief and sorrow.  This site has been a God send, but even so the road is often a long and lonely one.  I pray that you will find peace, and comfort in the coming days.
Take care,
Connie, Boosca's Mommy Forever
roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #23 
Calvin had almost 4 straight years without problems with his blood sugar or anything else.  The bladder infections were in the beginning, when I was trying to get him regulated, as was the neuropathy.  The bladder stones happened not much later. After that, he really did not get sick, which amazed me.  He never had ketones or anything like that.  I was really shocked when my vet told me about his enlarged liver and jaundice.  I thought the fever must be due to a bladder infection.  I had gotten him through those by feeding him with a teaspoon (baby food) and giving him Clavamox through a syringe. His appetite decreased during the bladder infections, but he never became anorexic.

In the stories I am reading, the pets HAVE obviously come to their end and there was nothing else to do.  I don't know about Calvin.  I had called about a feeding tube and was waiting for the animal hospital to call me back.  When I didn't hear anything in three hours, I called back and they said they had been calling me and now it was too late to come in that morning.  I did not hear the phone ring, so I didn't think to check for messages.  I was there all morning. 

The next day it snowed hard and there was a lot of ice, and this hospital was 45 minutes away.  I made in it by 1:00, but surgery was done only in the mornings.  He was still eating some, but I still think that was due to high blood sugar.  I kept hoping he would keep eating; then a friend tried to talk me out of the feeding tube.  I reluctantly and uncertainly changed my mind on that.

By the time he stopped eating Thursday evening, I didn't know what to do.  I should have put him back into the hospital.  But I was torn. I kept weighing that against his misery and the uncertainty of his recovering at all. 

On Sunday morning, when I discovered his anemia, I put him down for a minute on the garage floor and he started licking at the spokes of my bike (he used to do that) and PURRING.  I was amazed.  I watched for a minute or two, then picked him up.  He became as listless before.  I wondered if I should have stood outside with him for a few minutes.  It was very cold, but he always liked going into my yard.

I am crying so hard now.  I can't stand this.  Unlike every other case I have read, I put my baby to sleep when I had another choice. I would have been looking at $4,500 or so at that point, and I may have lost him anyway, but at least I would have tried my very best.  I did try, but I will forever regret that I didn't try harder.

 I wonder if he misses me.  I know I keep beating myself up. It's true that he was very sick and that there were problems with multiple organs, but I have read that aggressive nutritional support could have gotten him through (although he could not have cortisteroids to help with inflammation.  The first ER Dr. wanted to treat him with prednisone, but was afraid to due to his diabetes).  The other thing that I see now is that his regulation had gone awry twice in the past six months, which was unusual.   I will always be thankful that he had those years 7 diabetes-free years and 4 1/2 disease-free years after that  I wish I had him here, feeding tube and all. It was a fluke that I didn't have the appointment for the feeding tube available, and then a friend talked me out of it.

roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #24 
P. S.  I work only part time due to fibromyalgia, so I did not lose that much money in staying home with Calvin for a week, but I gained more time with him, and that I will never regret.  I would not have missed his climbing on me and kneading with his paws for anything in the world, or his sitting in the window and looking out.  He even went outside for a while the day he came back from the hospital.  I had such hope for him, and they came crashing down.  I don't know why I thought I could not take care of him and work too. Just because he got a lot worse did not mean he could not get better.

Some days I don't want to live. I think maybe I need professional help.  I can't undo anything.  It's just that I had not realized how central to my life he was. 

I am very sorry. I can't read other people's stories yet because they all seem to me to really have reached the end, when there was nothing else to be done.

roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #25 
To the moderator: I sent a couple of pictures of Calvin, but I am not sure where to look for them, if I did it correctly.  Did they come through OK?

You are doing a wonderful thing here.  I did not want my last post to sound ungrateful.


Kellie

Registered:
Posts: 347
 #26 
I am so sorry you are feeling so much guilt about your decision. I also have horrible guilt about putting my 16 year old cat Squeakers to sleep. I have the same thoughts you do when I read other's posts. Everyone seems so sure that they did the right thing, but I don't know if I did. My cat was 16 and was always healthy. One day he stopped eating, so the vet ran some tests and she found he had bladder stones. She said they would need to be removed surgically. The surgery was expensive, and we considered his age and decided against it. I was so overcome with grief. Everything happened so fast. Now I miss him so much, I keep thinking "why didn't we do the surgery?" I feel like I didn't do enough.

The only comfort I have right now is that he is alive and well in Heaven. I really do believe that. But it still hurts so much. It sounds to me like you went above and beyond and did everything you could for Calvin. You love him so much and he knows that. I hope your heart will find peace and comfort.
roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #27 
I still feel I should have gone for the feeding tube. I still relive the final moments. I still hope his spirit will communicate with me. I still cry every morning and evening...even in public places. I still sometimes wish I could have gone with him.
Mare

Registered:
Posts: 11,059
 #28 
Dear Rita,

I am sorry that you're having trouble coping with the decision you made for your dear Calvin. I firmly believe that you made the right choice to not have the feeding tube put in. Calvin would not have enjoyed being fed that way and he is now in a wonderful new home with friends everywhere. You were a dear fur parent to him and you did everything possible to help him. Please know that I will keep you in my prayers as you continue to cope with the loss of precious Calvin.

Mare

roberman

Registered:
Posts: 18
 #29 
Thanks for the supportive and kind message.

I talked with my current vet; she said that she would have discouraged me from putting a feeding tube in Calvin, since he was diabetic.  So I feel better about the euthanasia.

What I failed to do was notice the symptoms of his illnesses: hiding, eating less and less; urinating on the edge of the box enough so that the bottom got wet. I noticed this twice, the first time possibly a month ago.  I just cleaned it up and thought that one of them missed the litter box; they would sometimes go at the edge.  I found him under the bed one day, and I just thought he liked being there, since he loves being covered up.  My other cat Hobbes was eating my food and I did not know it. By the time I realized it, he had almost stopped eating. 

I can't forgive myself for taking him to the vet too late.

He may have had liver cancer; there were suspicious cells there, but I could not risk a biopsy - aspiration only.  If he had liver cancer, there was nothing I could do.

I took care of him well his whole life except for the end.  As I said somewhere, I unconsciously believed he would not get a disease not related to his diabetes. 

Maybe there was something in his food that was not right?  My other cat ate the same food, and he is fine.

I wish my Calvin kitty could have had at least three more years. I am sorry, Calvin, and I would like to communicate with your spirit.

aussiepaws

Registered:
Posts: 732
 #30 
Dear Rita,
Do no beat yourself for not going further with treatment for Calvin. If he were eating and enjoying life than you would have done more for him. There comes a time when you've done all you can and the right thing is to give them peace.
alwaysfefesmom

Registered:
Posts: 14
 #31 
Hi. I searched for "guilt" and found these posts. I am sobbing as I type this because the feelings you have expressed here and exactly what I feel. I only hope my guilt lessens in time. I worry I had Fefe, my lovely little girl cat of 12 years old, put to sleep too soon even though the vet said it wasn't too soon at all. I guess no matter what we decided, when, the guilt will come to visit (hopefully not stay). Today is the 5th day without Fefe and I have put up photos of her in the house and even keep one in the car. They do comfort me. Well, as I say whenever I post here, thanks to all of you for being here. I hope one day I can help someone as you have helped me.
carimae

Registered:
Posts: 41
 #32 
I have a plastic clear zipbag with his sweater, baby picture and current favorite picture (he's beautiful) I told him everyday he was a pretty boy and he liked it. I also have a pillbox that I had with me at the vets and put the fur they trimmed from his leg in it. I take these everywhere I am. It helps for now. I've had racked crying due his bad ending more than anything. I think it was time to save him from the started suffering but he should not have been hurt in anyway. Thats whats killing me, that I partook in that by holding his head while they did it. I copied the guilt letter on this site and will read it often. He was my life and I was his. Baby rest in peace. Momma loves you and wants you back. Stanley's Momma
pearflower

Registered:
Posts: 2
 #33 

I am so sorry for your guilt and your pain. Believe me, you are not alone. I also "helped" our vet put my little baby boy (Milou, he was a Bichon/Westie mix) down, holding him and stroking his head while talking to him for the last time. But my guilt isn't over that part; I knew he was suffering and that it was the right decision. My guilt is from the fact that Milou had been sick for awhile, and I didn't push harder to find out what was wrong with him. Also, the day before I took him to be checked at the vet, I went ahead and went out for a couple of hours with some friends, leaving my Milou to be watched by my husband. If I had known those would be my last hours with him, do you think I would have left him? Milou suddenly became very ill the day before we had to put him down. He couldn't keep food or water down. I am a registered nurse, so that makes it worse too, because I think now about the symptoms he had and how I missed so much. He spent one night at the vet hospital, receiving IV fluids and meds. The next morning, he was a little better and was urinating a lot (which usually would be a good sign). My husband and I went in the afternoon to see him. But when the vet brought him to me, I could tell that he wasn't doing ok. He was very weak, couldn't move even his tongue, and was moaning in pain. It was clear to me that his life was ending, even without the euthanasia. But without the help of the euthanasia, he would have had to suffer for a long time in horrible pain. I have been numb for these past six days since he was put to sleep. I can't hardly function! I go through the motions of life like a robot. So I hope knowing that you are not alone will help you. I know time will help, as I have another beloved dog, Belle, whom I lost in '08. She was killed when she ran into the road and a truck hit her. I had guilt then too, of why we didn't check the gate better. But with time, this diminished. I hope that you may feel better with time, and that your guilt will be gone once you can see clearer. We have to forgive ourselves for being human.

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