Thursday, February 4, 2010

Update and thanks

First off, thank you to all the kind people who have posted or emailed sympathies and good wishes for Maddy and me. Earlier this week, we thought Maddy was done and we were going to have to make that Final Appointment. However, the day I made the appointment, she perked right up and wanted some extra tuna. This left me in great distress--was she ready to go? Not ready to go? She wasn't herself anymore, but she wasn't acting fed up and completely tired an annoyed...? After consulting with her regular vet, her vet oncologist, a couple of friends, and my awesome pal Vinnie, I canceled the appointment.

Vinnie was oddly the one who helped the most. As I weepingly described her symptoms and behaviors and my inner turmoil, he cut me off. "Pixie, you don't sound like you're ready to do this, so don't." he said. "When she's ready, you'll be ready, and you can do it, knowing that you've done all you could do."

I sighed heavily. "But we're supposed to go to Vegas in a couple of weeks, and no one's gonna come to our house to hand-feed her tuna--"

"If she makes it another week or another month, you'll figure it out," Vinnie said calmly. "You can board her with the vet or hire a vet tech to come visit. But she might not make it that long. She'll go when she's damn good and ready to go." He paused, then said gently, "Damn cats."

Dealing with a really-sick-and-fixin'-to-die creature is an exercise in mindfulness and being present. When Maddy is slowly nomming and licking a small portion of wet food or tuna or barely lapping at a saucer of milk, there's no walking around and doing other things while she eats. If I walk away from her, she sometimes quits eating, or Hazel will walk up and nudge her over so she can have some of the good food too. Sometimes, like with the tuna, she'll only eat it off my fingers at first and then and only then will she eat it off the dish in the floor. I have to build that extra five minutes of super-mindful-present feedings into my mornings so I can still have time to get ready for work. And the same goes for quiet time together: whether I'm sitting next to her reading a magazine in the bathroom floor or whether I've brought her into the TV room to watch the Weather Channel for three hours straight, I can't get up and sit back down half a dozen times like I usually do. Every time I get up, she'll leave the room and go back to the closet, so if I want company to pet and snuggle and massage and listen to purrs, I have to sit down and stay down. I also realize, in those moments, how precious all those moments are. How wonderful is it to get to know another creature so well, to have that creature present in so many different stages of your life, and for it to trust you enough to let you shove pills down its throat nearly every day for 18 months. I bet if I did that to Guy, he wouldn't be so tolerant.

While all of this has been going on, I'm still working on Gestalt HMO's remodeling projects, the progress of which seems to be picking up steam. We still don't have a schedule for the projects yet (when do we want everyone moved in and operational in their new spaces? You don't know? What?!), but we're working towards it. I'll write more about that process later. For now, I'm enjoying these late days and hours with my kitteh, curled up near me and softly purring while I spend a moment of quiet in m otherwise busy days.


ms. kitty said...

Boy, our animals are truly our teachers, aren't they? Thinking about you and Maddy in these last days.

Nancy said...

Many, many hugs to you.

Cynthia said...

Last days can be precious ones if (like you describe) you can focus. And your friend is right, you'll know when she's ready and you are ready.

Spare a little focus for Hazel if you can. In a similar time at our house I spent weeks trying to get my old cat to eat; my younger cat developed a freaky food obsession that he never really got over. I think he figured food equaled love and he had to be sure to get his share.

Miss Kitty said...

Hugs and snugs. The HKC kittehs & I wuv you & Squadeleine. >^..^<

Mile High Pixie said...

Thank you to all of you for your kind words. And Cynthia, you make a good point--Guy pointed out to me that I can't ignore Hazel during this time, because she's still going to be here after Maddy's gone, and she's about to be top cat for the first time in nearly 12 years. She comes up and asks for a petting now and then, and I do my best to oblige her. (Like right now, she's purring and rubbing on my ankles as I type this. She's never done that until the past 6 or so months.)

thecatsmeow said...

Stopped by after reading about Maddy on Miss Kitty's E & P. As a lifelong owner of several spoiled kittehs, I wish only the best for you and your pretty kitty. It's never easy when they get sick; I still miss a lovely black boy we lost to cancer several years back...his name was Howard and he was the sweetest kitty evar; just about broke my heart into bits to have to put him down. We are truly blessed to share our lives with these furry little heart-stealers.