Muffin, my little 16 year old cat has some kind of problems.
The vet did first work on her little anal glands, which were full and needed to be cleaned out. Maybe everything is fine in kitty city now. Three days later, there's my message on my bed again.
We do get an appointment for the next day at the vet.
When we go to the vet, she's not as agitated as she has been in the past. But I guess I am. Will she be coming home with me? Is this a good day to die, as Native Americans used to say? I am struggling with the stress that the night put me through, wondering if she's in pain. Can I let go of her? I sing my concerns to her as we drive down the road.
The vet decides to check her urine to see if there's any bladder problems. No other problems seem evident except extreme sensitivity on her hindquarters.. So when the Vet tries to use a needle (in the surgery room where I'm not having to watch this) directly into her bladder, dear Muffin pees all over the table. So the urine sample comes from there. And a while later the results show some levels which might mean an infection, or perhaps the table urine was contaminated.
The vet has also told me that her teeth are not in good shape, and are causing her pain when she eats...2 or 3 should really be pulled. I demur, because I don't have the hundreds of dollars available for cat dentistry. But I've known she had cavities for a while.
So I go home with antibiotics to treat a possible UTI (urinary tract infection, I use the nursing jargon that I heard all the time in my work in nursing homes and assisted living facilities). And she has a week's worth of a pain killer that can be applied so her mouth may not hurt.
And the cost of this visit and the meds comes right out of the "emergency fund."
But I have to look at this as emergency care, and use my savings, I tell myself. Then a friend echoes my thoughts about when to decide to let her go, when to have her euthanized. Surely I wouldn't do so for painful teeth. The emotional part of me urges me to have the teeth extracted. I have my logical part of my brain say, but for how long will she be able to continue? And how many pots will you have to sell to make up that cost?
SHUT UP. I must remember my feelings that were so strong when I had to have 2 other cats euthanized. The decision has to do with quality of life. If they are in pain. If they are totally incapacitated...not my discomfort. Not my stress level.
Remember, Barbara, that one more day of life is the gift we each have. I may be goddess to these pets, the one who can decide on life or death based on the most information I can obtain...but they are just as much endowed with the gift of life as I am.
So I write this down to remind myself in the days, weeks, months, and hopefully years ahead. When faced with this decision, it's so important for all of us to be clear, this doesn't call for rationalization, this is primarily heart connection, this is stewardship. We each care for another. I'm the big girl here, so I take care of the little ones.