Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Scully

Six days ago, Scully was fine.

At least she seemed fine to me. Still following me around the house, still perched in my lap every moment I sat at the computer, still crawling under the covers with me at night. Still eating, still playing, still swatting her brothers.

Then I noticed a change. She was sleeping more. And eating less. She began to slow down. Simple movements required several minutes of recoup time. I called the vet Friday morning. Of course they were booked until the following Wednesday. Was it an emergency? Hell, I didn't know. But Scully was still drinking, still using the litterbox, still purring.

But Saturday morning was no better. I called the emergency vet hospital and took her in. The vet took a blood and urine sample. She wasn't too concerned about Scully not eating, at least at this point, but suggested I give her pepcid tablets to quiet her stomach. Just pop it down her throat. Yeah...right. The vet was most concerned about her heart. She could hear both a murmur and a gallop. Not a good sign, but possibly controllable with heart medication. Though, see above about me giving pills.

We surmised that the heart was the cause of the lack of energy. Having to work too hard to pump the blood, thus Scully was needing more down time.

At the vet's office she roamed around, snooping in corners, walking across the computer keyboard. In retrospect I imagine that adrenaline kept her going there. But once back at home, she collapsed in my computer desk chair. I moved it over and brought in a dining room chair for myself.

No news Sunday. But less energy for Scully. Still drinking, still using the box. But no food, and needing lots of rest. Still in my desk chair.

Monday morning I called first thing. The vet was very quiet as she told me the news. The heart was secondary. It seems my little cat had very few red blood cells. The underlying causes were such that, even if we attempted drastic measures to find the source (ie, blood transfusion, multiple tests) the prognosis was still grim. The decision to make - delay the inevitable and subject my dear companion to multiple pokes and prods, or show mercy.

Show mercy and let her pass on while her existence was still relatively calm and (hopefully) painless. I agonized all morning with my thoughts, as I waited to hear from my regular vet. A new symptom appeared. Scully's eyes began to twitch horizontally, pupils dilated. Her whiskers also began twitching. My vet finally called at 11:00 am, having seen the blood work. Her prognosis mirrored that of the ER vet. And the darting eyes and twitching chin indicated neurological issues. Tearfully I gave my decision to let Scully go. The vet said she'd call back, once she made some time in her schedule.

I sat at my computer, mindlessly surfing. I e-mailed a few friends with the news. The vet finally called and we set the time for 2:30. I picked Scully up and put her in my lap. I wondered how comfortable she would be. But she was fine. For awhile she curled up in a little ball as I clicked through the web. Then she stretched out across my lap, still calm and relaxed. An hour and a half, she slept on my lap. Her warm body comforting me.

I called a colleague from church, who had responded to an e-mail. We talked for a long time, and Joan reassured me that showing mercy to my precious friend was a true gift. It was hard for me to believe, because Scully seemed so normal as she slept. But at 1:45, she awoke suddenly and slid from my lap. She began to dry heave. No food for six days leaves nothing to come up. I hung up the phone with Joan, and tried to comfort Scully. The heaving stopped, and she crawled under my desk. Wide-eyed, twitching again, now that she was awake. And then she let out a mournful squall. My little cat never meowed - she was not the vocal type. This outburst cemented my decision.

My mother was to come at 2:15 to drive us to the vet, but I called and told her to come now. She was there in less than five minutes. Scully was still under the desk, and seemed okay for the moment, but I was frantic. I feared repeating the scene from 9 years prior, watching my Nermal fighting for her last frantic breaths. Never again, I had promised myself and future furry friends. Scully howled again, and crawled from under the desk and straight into the cat carrier. I told mom to call the vet, to tell them we're on the way now. The clock became my enemy. I wanted to end her pain now.

We got in the car. My tears were flowing as I watched my cat struggle. Fortunately the episodes were short and not frequent. I told her to hang on, it would be over soon. I also begged her to just die, to let go. But she wouldn't.

At the vet's office, we were led into a dimly lit room. A thick blanket was laid out on the exam table. Candles were available. Figurines and pictures and a book decorated the scene. About as comforting as one could find in a situation like this. We had about 15 minutes to wait, as Dr. Sue made her way back to the office. I tried to comfort Scully as much as I could. I took the lid off the cat carrier, but she didn't move out of it.

Dr. Sue arrived, went over the procedure, and not wanting Scully to endure any more episodes, I hurried things along. I held Scully's head and talked to her, while the vet and her assistant found a vein. It took two attempts, as the blood disease had weakened Scully's veins. Using her stethoscope, the vet felt listened a moment and then said, "Her heart has stopped." And that was it. My precious Scully was gone.

And life as I knew and loved ended.

And I feel cheated.

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