We are still in a holding pattern regarding the house. We have an offer and a contract and are waiting on the Request for Repairs. We aren’t expecting anything unmanageable, but I do photography and marketing for a real estate brokerage and I now know all of the WORST CASE SCENARIOS so I’m paranoid and unable to breathe easy about this move until that comes in and we don’t find out our house is haunted or inhabited by aliens.
Unfortunately, in the process of boarding our pets for the inspection, our vet discovered my cat – Sunflower – looked a little yellow around the eyes and gums. They did bloodwork and found out that she’s essentially dying of liver failure. She’s 17, so they’re not honestly suggesting anything can be done about it and have basically sent us home with a list of things to monitor so we can get an accurate judgement on her quality of life. Things like food and water consumption, requests for snuggles and purring. It’s weird because her spirits seem fine. She has seemed a little lazier than normal now that we think about it – but she was spritely over the holidays when trying to attack E’s cat who came to visit.
While there’s really no “good” news to hope for on the Dying Cat front. I do find myself being a little morbidly humorous about the whole thing because COME ON. I just held Bambi in my arms while he died a few weeks ago…and now my other cat is dying? GIVE ME A BREAK, UNIVERSE.
But as long as the home sale proceeds without hiccups, I’ll still consider it a Net Gain in terms of gifts from the universe. Sunflower is 17 years old, it’s not like we were expected her to live another 10 years. We felt like at this point every year is a bonus. The average life span of a domesticated cat is 12-18 years. This is upsetting (I’ve cried so much already) but not unexpected.
It is very weird though. Every time we go through this with one of our animals (we’ve had to decide with all of them to put them down) I think about when my Dad was in hospice. Once he made the decision to just die instead of living his life bound to dialysis, he wanted to die IMMEDIATELY. He even joked about it the first few days. Like, CAN WE DO THIS ALREADY? While Kidney Failure is a painless way to die (You basically just get more and more tired as your blood becomes more and more toxic without the renal filtration) it takes awhile. It’s not quick. And Dad found this very frustrating.
So every time we start discussing quality of life with our pets, I think about how weird it is that we can do that with our pets, but not with humans. My Dad decided his quality of life was too terrible (he was also in a lot of pain from the microfractures over his skeleton caused by the blood cancer) and was ready to die and he basically just had to sit and wait. There is no humane way to end someone’s life if they’ve decided that’s what they want. You just make them comfortable and wait for it to happen. AND THIS FEELS SUPER F*CKED UP, I’ll be honest. I can recognize when my cat no longer wants to live and I can sedate her and then hold her as we give her medicine to stop her heart, but if it’s a human who I love more than myself? I have to just watch him stare into space every day waiting for his blood to finally be toxic enough to shut down his body.
I MEAN. COME ONE.
Many fights against assisted suicide stem from the idea that it is only God who decides when someone’s life is over. And if you help someone end their life, that’s a sin. And if someone ends their own life, that’s a sin. Religious people have a hard time wrapping their head around the ethics and morals of assisted suicide.
I do not.
I think about it in the same way I think about my dying cat. She can’t tell me when she’s ready to die so I watch how much she’s eating and drinking and how many times she gets out of bed and does she come to me for snuggles and does she play that game with her tail and does she purr…I have ways to evaluate whether I think wants to still be alive. And when those measurements indicate she does not, I do the right thing because I love her and don’t want her to suffer. And that is what I wish I could have given Dad. That is my one regret. That we don’t live in a world where people can remove mysticism from death and just look at it pragmatically. Someone’s quality of life has deteriorated to the point where they have requested we end their life for them and we can’t do it unless we have lived in this state for X amount of time and X amount of doctors have confirmed the diagnosis of death in X amount of time.
It’s just strange. I mean, I get it. I understand the complexities when you look at the ethics and morals, especially if you factor in the idea of souls and afterlife. I’m not trying to minimize that as important to consider, I’m just saying for me personally? I just can’t see any other “right” way than to allow people to decide when to die on their own humanely and peacefully. It should be a perk to having advanced brains capable of complex thought and medical intervention. But nope. Not us.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let’s talk about how my dying Dad should have been allowed to die sooner! Like my cat!
Oh, man. I gotta work on the humor up in this joint.
How about instead we look at this picture of Sunflower from several years ago and ponder the question:
Why doesn’t anyone come over for Pizza night anymore?