There’s a small chance you noticed that I didn’t post much last month. The few posts I shared at the beginning of April were pre-written.
On March 29, my first cat, Sandy, died unexpectedly at the vet during a drop-off appointment for a very routine blood sugar monitor application. He was my little old man, my Sandman, my Colonel Sanders. Needless to say, I wasn’t really feeling like myself.
I know a lot of people are against others sharing tragedies, but every time I tell the story, it gets a little easier. I’ve been finding it’s true that a burden shared is a burden halved.
If you don’t want to read the sad story, you’re welcome to skip past it.
Around 12:30, my phone rang, and I assumed the vet’s office was calling to let me know that Sandy was ready to go home. Instead, when I answered, I was told that the vet wanted to speak to me. After a moment, she came on and said “Sandy’s coding.”
My brain literally stopped working. I couldn’t understand. It took me several tries to get any words out, and I only managed, “what?”
The vet offered me a very succinct explanation: After they applied his monitor, during a regular round of checks on the cats, a vet tech noticed that he was panting. Shortly after getting him out of his carrier, all hell broke loose. He basically had a massive heart attack. Still trying to get my brain functioning again, all I could think to say was, “so I guess we should get there as soon as possible?”
Her heartbreaking answer: “I don’t know that he has that long.”
I barged in on Jim’s meeting to let him know there was a problem, and, within a minute, we were in the car. I think we made it to the vet’s office in less than 5 minutes.
With two vets and at least 3 vet techs working on him together, Sandy held on long enough for us to say goodbye before his heart stopped again. I think we got all of 30 seconds with him, maybe less. Since they’d already been fighting to save him for a while, we didn’t ask them to continue. While they left it up to us, I could tell in the tone of our vet’s voice and the look on her face, she didn’t have much hope.
I don’t know if it was our grief, or the shock of losing a cat in such an unexpected way, but everyone that had been working on him was teary-eyed.
Our vet didn’t have a definitive explanation for us. She said they’d gotten the monitor on him and had taken a urine sample — as they’d done every other time — then they got him back in his carrier. Once they saw he was panting, they got him back out to figure out what was going on, and within moments, it was all hands on deck trying to save him.
Her best guess is that he had an underlying heart condition that didn’t present symptoms. She offered us an autopsy, but it wouldn’t change anything, so we said no. Our boy was gone; the why didn’t matter.
The hardest part was leaving his body behind in the procedure room. I felt like I was abandoning him. Jim correctly pointed out that he wasn’t using it anymore, trying to help me, but I couldn’t get over the feeling, despite how nonsensical it was.
Everyone was very kind, ushering us through the handful of steps to finalize disposition of his body. We asked for him to be cremated, and have his ashes here at home now next to our girl Koya who we said goodbye to 4 years ago.
While I am grateful that we were able to say goodbye, that Sandy didn’t die without us, it still hurts. I spent most of April reading and playing video games in my free time to de-stress. And Bumbledore has been a big help. He’s excellent for relaxing because he calms you with his purr, then saps all motivation to move.
I’m slowly feeling better. After 13 years, in some ways I’ve had to re-learn life without my Sandy boy. I’m hoping to get back to writing more again. I enjoy it, and I feel like I’m recovered enough to get back to my blog. Posts may be less frequent for a while longer, perhaps only once a week.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones; make sure they know you love them.