This year has been one shit-storm after another. Since I last wrote in February, our dining room floors were completely torn up to investigate the cause of water damage. Basically the landscaping contractor we used last year didn’t bother to grade the exterior paver patio properly, or suggest improving drainage in the area. That plus a small defect in the stucco led to water pouring in underneath the concrete whenever it rained. Several thousand dollars later, plus several more thousand dollars to replace the old A/C unit that had to be moved to fix this, plus gutters and some new attic insulation while we’re at it, and we’re tapped out financially. It took over 2 months to finish everything because our original flooring is no longer available, and we kept going back and forth on what to install in there. We had to open a home equity line of credit, which I was really hoping to avoid, but we can’t sit with all this credit card debt at crazy interest rates. And of course, right after we do that, we’re hit by identity thieves again. WTF. Placing credit freezes come next week.
I’ve been adding shifts here and there trying to make dents in our debt. So much for working part-time. Add in C’s weekly physical therapy sessions, plus nearly weekly vet visits for all the animals, and I’m wiped.
Our cat with lymphoma had been chugging along until almost a month ago, when I noticed he was vomiting and crying more frequently. Unfortunately our regular vet was out for medical reasons, so it was tough having to rehash everything with the covering vet, but she convinced me to go ahead and try the chemotherapy pill. The one that rang up at >$400 for a 6 week supply – the look on the pharmacist’s face… Insurance did cover most of it, which was the only reason why I agreed. Anyways, he did seem to improve with that and subcutaneous fluids 3 times a week (yup, for both cats), until the last 2 days everything kind of went to hell. We noticed he wasn’t hanging around for dropped food at dinner like usual, and he cried almost all that night. Couldn’t get him to eat much yesterday, and then he kept throwing up. That made it tough to give his meds, but I finally managed to drop the anti-nausea medicine down his throat. He seemed to recover enough that he ate dinner and stopped vomiting. But the awful night plus seeing more blood-tinged diarrhea in the box (and many accidents throughout the day) prompted me to schedule for euthanasia today with our regular vet. I couldn’t stomach the thought of another stressful drive and vet visit for him though, and after calling around for estimates and confirming it would be covered by insurance, chose a home-based euthanasia service.
Our 2 cats are the first pets I’ve ever owned, while hubby has always had pets since he was a kid. I have been a mess since yesterday morning when we decided it was time. I’m still not sure how I made it through my afternoon at work. By end of day yesterday, I’d given myself the worst combination of TMJ pain / tension headache / migraine, and threw up 3 times after barely eating anything all day. After slamming myself with Tylenol, Aleve (the first NSAID I’ve taken in 2 years since learning my kidney function isn’t so great), and Zofran, I gave up trying to catch up on work and went to bed.
We were supposed to pick up the dogs from my MIL’s (they stayed out of the way during our floor installation), but instead she drove them up with the plan to stick around to keep an eye on C in case she didn’t go down easily for her nap (thankfully she did). The anti-nausea medicine was effective, and he had a return of his appetite this morning. We let him eat whatever he wanted from our plates, tons of his fave freeze-dried chicken, and we also took him out to the backyard to roam around – something he’d always wanted to do as an exclusively indoor cat.
The euthanasia vet arrived, and he sat and petted both cats for a bit, asking us about his history and learning more about them and our dogs. The dogs were barking because of the new person, and we tried shutting them in the patio, but they managed to escape, so we gave up and let them watch behind some gates. I gave both cats some special treats, and the vet took the opportunity to give him the first injection in his thigh, the sedative, while he was distracted. Within a few minutes, he was wobbly, and stumbled a bit, ending up on one of the several beds we had out. His sister sniffed around him then went back to looking for crumbs. After petting him for a while longer, it was time for the final injection, in one of the large veins in his leg. The vet had told us we could tell him to stop and wait if we weren’t ready, but we signaled it was OK. The medicine went in, then the vet picked up his stethoscope to listen for a good minute until he confirmed his heart had stopped. We gave him some final pets after the vet wrapped him up in a blanket, and then they left. We chose not to keep the ashes, but will receive a clay impression of his paw print within a few weeks.
I know that C is not even 2 yet, but I have been prepping her for this loss by talking about our cat being sick and not getting better, and that we needed to say good-bye today. Since she woke up from her nap, she hasn’t asked for him, but still cheerfully says his name when she sees his picture. Hubby has been teary, a very rare sight. Our other cat, the runt of the litter who’s been near death so many times – never did we think her brother would go first – seems to be acting fine. Hubby jokes she’s so stubborn, she’ll likely live at least another 3 years, with fluids 3 times a week and all. She’s on no other meds so I can see that happening. We’ll have to figure out what to do with her on future overnight trips, likely ask a close friend to house-sit. The dogs have been a bit more subdued than usual. The older dog is definitely limping more, but still acting well overall, so we’ll see how much longer she keeps hanging in there.
I’m also very worried that we’ll lose hubby’s grandmother this year. She’s deteriorated quickly since the beginning of the year, and barely eats anymore. Somehow, she still insists on coming up with my MIL to visit C, even though we keep protesting that we’ll drive down. Unfortunately, C is going through a shy/clingy phase these days and isn’t as willing to sit with her. Hoping this passes quickly. I’m just exhausted.