Sunday, January 22, 2017

All the tears and then the joy

A little bit ago, I just walked outside with The Younger, who is dressed in her aqua, sparkly tights, pink cotton dress, purple fleece jacket, and black/grey velcro sandals (the kind you might wear if wading in a lake or hiking in 100-degree weather when you just can't bear sneakers/hiking boots).  The Younger looked down at herself and announced "I look good in this!  Don't these tights look good with these sandals?" 

I like your moxie, kid.  Not everyone can pull that particular look off.  Milk it, baby.

That was just an aside because I'm about to take you on the emotional journey that was yesterday which includes all of the tears, a lot of the sweat and then the joy.

Earlier this week, we had an appointment set up to get diabetic Leo's teeth clean because they were looking a bit gnarly.  But he got all "Nope, I'm good hiding under this bed.  I'd prefer to stay here.  I shall bite your hand if you try to extract me from this spot because we've been down this road before and I don't trust you when you try to lure me out with suspect treats and the baby voice."  Since it was just a teeth leaning, we ditched that appointment and gave it another try Friday.  This turned into a bit more elaborate of a plan involving the girls going to school with the boy and me hanging out in the car, in the dark, in the vet's office parking lot reading a biography.  But we got the boy in, he was relatively calm, and I got a message later that his procedure went well and we'd be able to get him around dinner time. 

Now, this furry boy has never been one to just do what the vet has needed him to do.  In order to do everything necessary, there involved words like "muzzle," "kitty burrito," and "a little bit of sedation to get his blood work, and then we let that wear off before we anesthetized him for the surgery." 

It's a bit startling to hear a teeth cleaning appointment referred to as "surgery." 

What I wasn't expecting was 3 days of pain meds (but it tastes like bacon!) and 5 days of antibiotics.  Pets love goop pushed in their mouth.  And I wasn't expecting the utterly pathetic sight of my boy's face peeking out from under the blanket he was tucked into.  And I wasn't expecting how sedated he still was.  He wasn't quite as over his sedation as they expected him to be, it turns out.  When I got him home, my boy could barely walk.  And my heart cried to see the desperate look in his eyes as he furiously tried to control his muscles and stay upright to get to his safe spot again.

Even worse, we were absolutely not anticipating his absolute lack of appetite and the vacant look in his eyes.  One of the warning signs to call the vet about as he recovered from his anesthesia was "severe depression."  I literally scoffed at it once I got home and was looking through his paperwork.  How does one tell when your pet is "severely depressed"?  Well, it turns out, I know exactly what it looks like. 

It looks like no interest in food.  It looks like not caring if the other fur baby cusses you out.  It looks like not even recognizing when the little people in the house are right beside you...the same little people that you generally avoid all the day long.  It looks sad-scary. 

I had the chance to take off for an hour to work out, and it was my longest, sweatiest, calorie-burningest work out to date.  And for an hour, I forgot about worrying about my furry boy, but I remembered at the end, and it was one of those crushing moments.  But it also helped me decide to give the vet a call cause all is not well when your diabetic boy hadn't eaten anything for over a day and a half. 

And our vet, who wasn't on call this weekend but had his vet tech tell us to call him if we had any concerns, was simply the best and worked his voodoo magic. 

I know that the time is coming sooner rather than later when we're going to need to make that decision.  They are coming up on 12-years old, which means that they probably have a couple of good years left with solid health, but this is twice now when I mentally said goodbye to my boy and didn't expect to see him again.  I've thought a few times about whether or not I'd be the one to take him and hold him while he gets that last shot, and at the last moment, I couldn't face it.  So I hugged my little guy an extra hug and handed him off to the boy. 

But my boys weren't at the vet for more than 15 or 20 minutes, and seriously, the voodoo.  Leo's blood sugar was only at 170 (just a little elevated) despite not having eaten for over a day and a half.  His blood sugar was over 400 just the morning before when I dropped him off, in part due to stress.  AND, he came back with a bit of a jaunt in his walk and an actual appetite.  He ate food.  He drank water.  He cuddled all afternoon. 

Of course this is a sappy post about my boy getting his teeth cleaned.  But, anyone who has ever loved their pet truly and deeply knows that love doesn't just happen between people.  He may need slightly more attention than the average fur ball, but he has such a gorgeous, rumbly motor, and I'm his favorite person in the whole widey world.  And he'll always be my little budgie boy.

1 comment:

Crystal said...

Aww, Leo. :-(
If or when it's time to make 'the decision', you'll know. But doesn't make it hurt any less. He's had a good almost 12 years with you. And Toby will certainly miss him, too. Also, it's funny to remember that The West Wing is that old.
So this is different, but a few months ago our Beta fish, Philippe, wasn't eating. We thought he was getting old, we thought he'd gone blind, he was visibly smaller. We were really worried. And then we jiggered with the heat on his water and he perked right up, ate like a champion, and built a bubble nest (Beta speak for 'I'm happy'). So yes, watching a pet not feel good is scary-sad. Even if it's 'just' a fish.