He’s gone. This morning at about 9:25, DeeJay drew his last breath.
I waited for a while in the examining room. When the vet came in, he had the syringes in his hand. Before he did anything, though, he checked Deej out. He asked what the problem was, before he injected DeeJay with the fluids that would end his life. I told him that DeeJay was constipated. He felt DeeJay’s bowel and said “no, he’s not constipated, there’s nothing there”. He asked if DeeJay had been eating (yes, up until this morning). Had DeeJay been vomiting (only after trying to push out one of those great turds). I told him about how large in diameter and how hard and dry the feces was that he was pushing out this week.
He said that was good, since a cat which had had the surgery that DeeJay had (back in December, 1999, he had a sub total colectomy, where a large portion of the colon was removed, due to megacolon) usually had pretty loose stools. Maybe, but it wasn’t right. It just wasn’t right, there was something terribly wrong, I thought to myself. Somewhere inside of him, something wasn’t drawing the moisture into the feces. I’m no doctor nor am I one on television, but I just knew those hard dry turds were not a good sign. I told him that Deej also had another bladder infection, that there was blood in his urine (I started him on orbax last week for this).
The doctor started reading DeeJay’s history. “Man, he had that surgery a long time ago, I’ve never had a cat live this long after that.” Then he said the same thing about the CRF, that three years is a long time (that he knows of) for someone to be able to keep that kidney disease at bay. He told me that I’ve done an excellent job. The vet checked different parts of DeeJay and ran his hands over his back. He told me that I was pretty good at giving fluids, because there was no scar tissue on DeeJay’s back. He said “let’s see if there’s anything we can do for him”.
(God forgive me, but my heart sank. It’s taken me years to get to this point and if I’m wrong and DeeJay is well enough for me to keep this going, I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to make the decision again in my life. I’ll never be able to work up the courage.)
Anyway, we discussed DeeJay’s history here at home, how everytime something happened, DeeJay would bounce right back from it. (The vet mentioned the fact that DeeJay must have been a fighter, that he didn’t want to go, because everything that’s had happened to him should have shortened his life considerably.) But this time, he didn’t bounce. And how this time it started when Annie got sick. And how it’s just gotten a little worse each day. I told him that I’ve been telling DeeJay for years that when he’s ready to go, to not eat. That’s the only sign I’ll know. And that this morning, DeeJay turned his nose up at food. That the fight has left him, he’s tired. Then DeeJay did some twitching. Something that just started this morning. I remarked on that.
The vet then looked into DeeJay’s mouth and smelled DeeJay’s breath. Then he looked at me. “You’re doing the right thing” he said. He continued that DeeJay had ulcers by his back teeth, his breath was bad (like Rusty’s) and that he’d seen the twitching before in cats who’s kidneys had quit working, that the toxins that the kidneys weren’t cleaning out were going to the kitty’s brain. The hard stools could also be an indication of kidney failure. He said the time was right, that letting it go any longer would make it miserable for DeeJay.
Then he injected DeeJay with the sedative, we waiting as DeeJay fell asleep. The vet said “just a little bit longer, let him get a little deeper into sleep”. Then he injected Deej with the fluid that ended his life. The vet listened for a heartbeat, heard none. Then he closed Deejay’s eyes all the way. “He’s gone. You did the right thing. You’ve given him a good life, you’ve done everything you could. Every day since that surgery back in ‘99 has been a gift.”
I think DeeJay said goodbye to us last night. I really do. We were both here in the office, Brian on his computer, me on mine, when DeeJay got up from sleeping next to Annie. He came over to me and wanted up on my shoulder. I held him there for a little bit, he purred for me and put his head against mine. We stayed like that for a few minutes, then he got off of me and went over to Brian. He stood in front of Brian and pawed out at him. He wanted up. He got on Brian’s shoulder and laid down for a few minutes, doing the same thing to Brian that he did to me. Then he got off of Brian and went back to his spot by Annie.
Good bye, DeeJay. We’ll miss you. We’ll miss you a lot. I’ll miss your grouchiness. I’ll miss you begging for food in the kitchen. I’ll miss you begging at night by the dinner table. I’ll miss you here in the office.
But I will be seeing you. Know that. And know that I’ll never forget you. Never.