Now, with my political rant/statement out of the way, hope all out there in cyber-land had a good few weeks away, if in fact you did have no work to do over the break time. Me, I left for home a few days before Christmas, and came back here the Monday before New Years.
As I said to one of my co-workers about the break, when asked how it was, I said, "It varied between periods of great fun and moments of unspeakable horror." He thought I was kidding.
Granted, unspeakable horror is a bit much, but I was going for effect, not for accuracy. I enjoy going home, resting a bit, seeing family and friends, and doing all that homey stuff. This time, however, was a bit different, because we had to put one of my mom's cats to sleep two days after Christmas.
Merry Fu*cking Christmas, indeed.
It was especially hard, because Emily was only 11 years old. She seemed tired and sluggish on Christmas day, but I thought she was just getting into the spirit of the holiday. The next morning, she was obviously unwell, so I took her to the vet. They discovered quickly that she was dehydrated and suffering from a lack of potassium (she couldn't keep her head up, that's how they knew about the potassium). Cats should have a temperature of about 100-102. Emily's was about 96, which the vet said, almost in passing, meant that her "systems were shutting down."
I knew then that this would not end well.
My mom visited Emily in the hospital later that day, and said she was just really unresponsive. The vet was giving Emily a IV to rehydrate her, but there wasn't a lot of hope put out.
The next day, my mom and I went to the vet around 2pm, to see Emily. She was doing a bit better, but could still not really move much. The vet confirmed through the blood work that Emily was suffering from kidney failure, which can really strike cats at any age, not just older cats. Even if medication helped reduce some levels of toxins in her blood, there was no way she'd last very long. So, we had to make the decision to put her to sleep.
I don't know how many of you out there are pet owners, but it's a hard decision to make to put your pet, a companion, a friend, to sleep, even if you know it's the "right" thing to do. Emily had been my cat alone for a few years, when I lived in Boston. Her name was "Killeen" then. When I went to grad school in 1996, I had to leave her with my mom, because living in residence halls, we're not allowed to have pets. So, it wasn't just my mom's cat who I stayed with as the vet injected her with an overdose of drugs, but my cat from 1993 onwards.
So, that was my holiday. It put a damper on things for the rest of the time home, obviously, but now, things are looking better. I remember more of the good things about Killeen/Emily than the last few moments at the vet. I won't forget that time, when I had to say goodbye, but I'll be able to focus more on the better times...