My best Friend

4/29/07

Yesterday was a gift, not an improvement, but a reprieve. I knew that going into yesterday, and I lived it with abandon because it was handed to me. Maui is saying goodbye to me. I knew that, too, the night I sat in the hospital with him.


4/28/07
Sometimes this is so hard I feel as if the hurting will make me nuts.

Veterinary neurologist said: I don't know right now.

Three vets are baffled. Three vets have no idea. Three vets said the same thing. Three vets have cleared him physically: he is 100% in top shape, physically, so I'm told. Three vets say more "need moretesting." I'd gladly have an MRI done but this is cat not strong enough. They don't know if its a stroke, a head injury, or what. I suspect a stroke(s), but I'm not a vet. The lump on his head is a mystery. I would have felt something like this what with the way I pet and kiss him so much.

Teamwork. Maui won't eat on his own all the time so we split the duty. I syringe feed him his food, he eats some on his own. Nose to the sky, baby! I say, and he lets me gently put food into his body, shakes his head, and sits for more. Then I wipe the boy down with warm wet cloth. Wait. Repeat.

He is not freezing up and staring at walls as much today. Good days, bad days. He's here with me, eating, shaking his little head the way he always has when I've kissed him all over the face just a little too much.

We were told that he is okay to be left alone during the day. My mom needs a break. She travels 300 miles a day to make sure he is fed and communicated with while I am at work. She will be down all summer here with me. I don't expect this cat to recover. I only want us all to have a decent life and for this amazing cat to be free of distress or pain. He indicates he wishes more life; more please.

I'm looking at kittens online and my heart is open...no, not open, but fucking desperate. I'm dying inside, my body is betraying me and I'm losing two battles. But right now I'm in love with my sweet boy. That's all I have. I hate you God-why? Goddamnit, why! I'm sorry, I don't mean it. I can't breathe. This isn't happening.

He is outside in his giant fenced in yard enclosure, soaking up warm air in the shade. This scene is all I have.

4/25/07: 4/2407 - 8:29PM
Cat is resting peacefully on my bed, his head against the wall, tail curled around his back legs, his front arm stretched out to the tips of his back paws. A single paw out of place, pointed upward. His life; breathe in, breathe out. Again, and again. Triumphant day, another day, a gift. There is no out - it is me lying there so vulnerable, breathing in, breathing out. However anguished the path to reconciliation and peace, there it lies on my bed, a reflection of a long-elusive kinder self.

your comments here have left me grateful – from my heart I thank you.

4/25/07
3:29PM
At work. My heart is hurting beyond belief and I just want to find a cool dry spot and die there until it passes.

8:04AM

I just found the paperwork, a referral to a specialist for a brain scan.

"Possible stroke, pacing, vocalizing, seemed disoriented--acutely.
Boney knob over right eye noted.
Bloodwork @ ACCIM - NSF
BP - 156 mm hg"

You know, if someone out there passes by and is going through hard times and this post gives comfort then I'm comforted. Lately a lot of people going through losses or major changes have crossed my path. Last night it was a woman who lost her father. She regrets not driving down from Monterey more often to visit with him.

4/23/07
8:24PM
I can only guess that he had a series of strokes. I can't be sure, but I suspect. An MRI...I don't know. He is so fragile. I don't know. He is telling me with dignity what he needs.

His paw is stretched out on my bed, eyes half closed. An ear twitched slowly back and forth.

I worked. I ate a little.

On my way home from work I had a panic attack and drove to the police station hoping a K-9 cop might be there. I wanted to relate with a K-9 officer. There wasn't one available so a desk officer listened.

I have taken a few photos of him. I won't post them. Not now. Maybe never. I took one for my mom. My mother is driving over 300 miles a day so she can be close to him. She loves him very much. I worry about her.

Maui

what am I going to do without you. what am i going to do without you.

4/23/07
8:58AM
Maui is resting on my bed. I have observed him closely. He does not appear in pain. He meows loudly when he wants something. I do not know the prognosis. All I know is that there is a season for everything. It's up and down, so much so that I have realized that I am being not tested, but reborn in a way, emotionally. What I feel I know to be true, one small cat has helped me bridge the gap between my isolation and people. I am coming to terms, and I offer gratitude to a cat who has, despite my roller coaster life, remained constant, stable, and a reflection of God. I too, want to be loved the way I love him. I am learning about patience and compassion, and again, once again, learning about profound grief. I am sick with grief, another precious gift from a cat who has always been in his way a little teacher who always had me in mind.

People at work are amazing and compassionate. So today I'll work through things while I work, thankful for the respite. Maui has someone coming to watch over him.

Thank you for your comments and support.

4/22/07
8:29
I'm told by two doctors, the emergency room doc and his regualr doc, that he's in no physical pain at this time. His blood work came back negative, all of it. So they've ruled out some things. I guess that's how it is. They test and rule out. I don't know why I thought someone could know what's happened, so easily. They still do not know what is wrong. He is eating but not drinking. So I make a soup of his food and he slowly eats that. Water is forced down him to make sure he's getting enough. He's in and out of lucidity but mostly he's not present anymore. When he is present he rests peacefully, stretched out across my bed. He follows me and responds to the voices he knows by walking toward them. I know now that that only probably means he can hear. He does meow when approached, and sometimes I get one of his special meows. I'm told an MRI might be able to give more clues. Yesterday we were given a pill, prednisolone, which could help and then may not. We're told it will take two weeks to know if this medication is going to help. The doctor will not even come close to guessing at what is wrong. She says she would rather know, and even said that we may not ever know, and said that his symptoms are usually accompanied by other specific symptoms. She did explain one thing about his retinas being compromised by all of this but I can't explain it because I don't remember exactly what she said, but when I go back to have his MRI I'll bring a note pad. I was out of it. I appreciate this doctor's ethics and I would rather be told "I don't know yet" than be told a bunch of guesses and theories. I'm having the MRI done. I suspect I won't know what happened even so, but I have to try. I have to try to make sure his quality of life is acceptable. Yes I have considered that if he is in pain or if his quality of life is so compromised that I will let him go.

My heart is splitting in two as I watch my dear friend deteriorate. My whole life has changed. I've become a caregiver overnight. I don't know why this is happening but I know I was the lucky one who had 10 years with this amazing boy of mine. He was there for me when I was sick with some weird flu bug, glued to the foot of my bed for two weeks, watching me constantly. He was there when I was racked with pain from a root canal, he was there and watching me constantly--he was there on the curb when I left the house to get pain meds and 45 minutes later here was there when I returned, waiting on the curb for me. He was there when I was silly and terrified of a lizard; he watched me from atop my own shoulders for 6 hours while I slept, never leaving for a moment. Come to think of it, he has been here for me every day in a most special way, always watching over me, always so content and warm, so content! He was the most content, silly and happy affectionate little being. I did nothing my guardian angel didn't know about. Now it's my turn I guess...I guess that's it now. Its my turn to watch. I get tempted to ask why me, why him, he's not that old, but to be honest, well to be honest, I do ask, and the answer cuts me cut out. My boy is dying and I can't live without him. I have been beyond lucky to know this special animal. God this fucking hurts so desperately. If I lose him I know I'll lose myself for a very long time to come. Please, if you are reading this whoever you are out there, send us some good thoughts. If you pray, please pray for my whole family, who are all struck with grief as they all love him so much.

This post is about my grief. About getting through. About getting strong. About love. About committment. It's about me confronting fragility. It's about, once again in my life, being made so profoundly aware of how much a heart can feel, and love. I don't expect people are so interested in my love for Maui, I really don't. But if someone reads this and it comforts them somehow, then that's a bonus. In between tending to Maui, I'm pacing, not eating, crying, feeling fear, pacing again, crying and on and on. So this post, and this blog, comforts me.

11:12PM
The situation is deteriorating. Its not good. I can't blog about it anymore. I'll post the outcome.

4/20/07
Stayed home from work to take care of and observe friend.

There is a hard lump on his temple. How it got there is the question. Doctors cannot determine at this point if Maui suffered a stroke as a result of injury, or if having a stroke caused a fall resulting in a lump, or if he was hit on the head; the thought of someone injuring this animal in this way is unfathomable to me, unthinkable - something I cannot imagine. Doctors cannot tell me anything other than 'more tests' or tell he has some other neurological illness, like alzheimers, which they suggest could be a possibility. Of course, anything is possible, but nothing is acceptable. But he is 12. And I see with my own eyes that something is not just not right, but way off. I'm in pain. He seems so fragile suddenly; I feel so fragile suddenly, helpless, depressed, and hurting. Tomorrow he goes to his regular vet for a second opinion, another check up, and I hope for some lead to an answer, something I can work with. One can only hope their vet is ethical, and talented.

When he's not exhibiting bizarre behaviors he is eating a lot, and then mostly just sleeping and being loved. I normally spoil him but today I'm watching him like a hawk on mission.

Thank you, Sheryl, for helping me through the night. He's resting peacefully, soaking up electric heat on his new green fleece blankie.

4/19/07
I spent the night in the hospital with my friend. This picture was taken several nights ago. He always has this look on his face. He'll have to go in for more tests. He's resting now. We could use the prayers. I really haven't cared for several years that it appears I'm completely obsessed with this cat. All I know is, he's brought me joy. I never wanted to love an animal so much...but with this one it was always too late to stop.

20 comments:

confessing7girl said...

oooooooohhhhhhhh the cat is beautiful!!!!!!
im totally in love too!!!!! but shes a dog and she's just soo sweet i wouldnt know what to do without her!!
kissesssss

Dawn Coyote said...

What madness to fall so completely in love with a creature, knowing that one day you'll hold his lifeless body in your arms. What exquisite cruelty we bring on ourselves. But what's the alternative? How could we deny them any part of our heart? Take care of yourself, Gypsy. Gentle, gentle.

Galatea said...
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Galatea said...
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TenaciousK said...

Oh Gypsy, I’m so sorry about Maui. I’ll send all the healing thoughts I can muster – for you, as much as for him. Sometimes I think the love we feel for animals is more pure than what we feel for each other – less sullied by projection, expectation and disappointment. Maybe the reverse is true as well.

Love transcends separation, because the loved continues on. It’s a gift honored most in remembrance when the giver is no longer accessible. I hope Maui will be well again. If he can’t be, I hope you will be well enough to remember his gift to you. You’ve been extraordinarily blessed, and privileged to recognize and appreciate the blessing you’ve been given.

It’s a shame such precious things must exact such a cost, but only cowards and fools choose isolation. I hope circumstances don’t require you to plumb the depths of your courage, but it's as deep as the love you share for each other.

Best wishes, Maui.

And Gypsy.

Galatea said...

Dear Gypsy,
You know my heart is with Maui & you. Please give him a big kiss for me and tell him I love him. Thanks.
Much LOVE,
Galatea

Galatea said...

Hi Gypsy,
Just checking in... Give the sweetie sweet boy a kiss for me. I'm glad he's cozy in your bed. May you sleep as well as possible and may he dream of rolling nummely on a sunlit suface, with a butterfly dancing above him for entertainment.
LOVE to both of you.
~ Galatea

Archaeopteryx said...

One of the most fortuitious accidents of evolution is the fact that we can be so strongly connected with a being that is not even in the same species as we are. I used to be embarrassed that I feel closer to my cats than I do to most people. Not any more. Cats are better than most people.

My heart is breaking for you.

Gregor Samsa said...

Hi Gypsy

I have always feared this, having read your doting over Maui. The only thing I have resented about the little rascals is their life span, so unforgivably shorter than ours. L'amour, c'est aveugle.

It's a bit of a good sign that he hasn't lost his voice. I'll keep my fingers crossed, and wish you strength one way or another. You'll need it some day.

Bite oftheweek said...

Hi Sweetie

I know what loving a cat means.

Reading about you, and your dear friend, has left me in tears.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Gypsy.

Schmutzie said...

I'm hoping for the best for you,and I know what you're going through. We do become attached don't we? Small wonder when I think about how much joy our pets bring, while asking for nothing in return. (Except for scratching behind the ear. Ralph gets a little edgy if I don't do that!)

Tonight, I'll think about this post while I give him his little scratch.


Schmutzie

(Don't forget to eat and sleep etc. Sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves while caring for beloved friends.)

Leg iron said...

Gyps-
I'm sorry to hear that you and Maui are at this point in The Game.
It isn't fair that we have to outlive our furfriends, but we do.
And when they're gone our grief is as real as any; but after a while the tears in the kitchen when you see the spot where the food bowl was and the bad moment when you move the chair to vaccuum and find a favorite and oft-hidden toy come less and less frequently. You miss your friend as fiercely as ever, but grief is finite and there will come a day when you will look into a basket or a box and be captivated by the brave little face peering back at you. And it's OK. A new friend can never replace an old one, and they don't try to. They're the next in line, and although they'll never know it, their journey with you has been pre-shaped by their predecessor.

I'm having a hard time with this, Gyps. I hope you'll forgive the ramblings; I don't think I'm expressing what I want to say very well. On Dec. 30th I lost my bestest bigdog to bone cancer; I'm posting this with tears dripping off my chin. I empathise.

Pass gently, Maui.
Thank you for being Gypsy's friend.

DragonTat2 said...

Vocalizing... I can still hear Maui's voice. What a beautiful sound that boy makes.
He let me touch him. Helped me feel welcome, at a time I felt welcome nowhere. You did, too, btw.
No need to talk about that last day... it's over. Thank the Gods. And I thank you & Maui for those good days.

You and Maui taught me about true kinship and love ~ just watching and listening to the both of you.

Peacefulness in living and peacefulness in passing... may the passing be gentle for you both.

I've seen love and felt love ~ there in that house where Gypsy and Maui dwell. Together.

Praying for you both ~ go easily into this next experience ~ always ~ Susan.

Lillianne said...

I had no idea. You both have my deepest empathy and love. I know you know that I have experienced the same thing, and there are literally no words.

Much love to you.

Lillianne

Lillianne said...

P.S. Please e-mail me if there's anything I can do for you.

Lillianne

rundeep said...

Got my first kitty this past November. Despite never being a "cat person," I've fallen head over heels for him, just as I have for every pooch I've owned. Even when (or perhaps because) he crawls under the covers and up between my husband and me. It's hard, it's sad, and it's inevitable. Much good luck.

DragonTat2 said...

Thank you, Gypsy, for the update of 4.28.2007
I am glad for you both. You know Maui loves you as much as you love him. :)

My senses tell me there was a trauma, though my mind doesn't pin-point what that trauma was.
Maui's swelling of the bone structure might go down aided by a small zip-lock type or something bag of frozen peas applied to the area for no more than a few minutes several times each day. Peas work well because they give out good coldness and they also adapt to the form they are placed upon. I often used peas for my own children's head bumps and knee bumps... any and all bumps, really, as well as bumps and pains of the elders I cared for during my nursing days.

Peace and Blessings to you and Maui... and your mother.

Susan

Anonymous said...

Hope

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

emily dickinson

Galatea said...

Dear Gypsy,

My love has not stopped traveling the wind to Maui and you. Please tell the sweet nuzzler this; tell him my life is enriched because of being introduced to him by you!

~ Galatea

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