Saturday, October 18, 2008

Farewell My Furry Friend

This is my first, and it’s really hard. I can only hope he was comfortable. It’s difficult to know what to expect – six days ago he was still chasing his favorite string around, still waiting for us at the front door when we came home in the evening, still smacking his lips when he heard the sound of ice clinking in a water glass.

Now he will no longer come bounding down the stairs when he hadn't seen us for half an hour. No more lying on his back like a furry rug with four paws sticking straight up in the air, as if gravity suddenly reversed itself. No more patting of my leg with his left paw when he wanted my attention. And no longer will I have this fuzzy warm animal snuggling against my feet at night, or jumping up and down on my tummy to wake me up in the morning.

But he will no longer be vomiting bile and blood. Nor will he lose 10% of his body weight in two weeks. No more seizures, pills, injections, blood tests. No more shaving just to find a vein or conduct an ultrasound (he was an incredibly placid cat, but electronic shavers and hair dryers really freaked him out). No more x-rays, barium meal, steel sterile cages at the hospital.

Probable diagnosis: non-leukemic feline lymphoma. He was ten; that’s like being 50 in people terms. Inside always so he didn’t have leuk or FIV (we confirmed with bloodwork). Prognosis: median of 60 days, even with chemotherapy. When we visited him today at the hospital, his liver had just completely shut down in the last three hours – despite all the supportive care. He was in no condition for further treatment or diagnostics, so at 3:30PM Singapore time, 18th of October, we let him go.

What’s so weird for me is that I work in the field of medicine, and this isn’t the first time I’ve listened to physicians and patients talk about dire life expectancy. But it’s the first time I’ve had to deal with this personally. And it’s complicated because he’s an animal. That means the notion of trying to live a little longer just to be able to see or participate in some future event is meaningless. Patients will often want to “make it” to the next graduation, wedding, birth, etc. With pets, they’re just miserable and suffering.

So I had no idea when I played with him and brushed him six days ago, it would be the last time I would see him as his former self.

Were it to be the last
How infinite would be
What we did not suspect was marked
Our final interview.
- Emily Dickenson

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Can You See the Birdie?

It’s been awhile since we’ve last put a post up because our beloved animal has not been doing well. And when I’m depressed about something like that, everything you write seems melancholy.

But a few weeks ago, before all of the aforementioned events, we did manage to witness our first live Singapore sports event – for free! A doubles badminton championship was being held at You Chu Kang Sports Complex, and my better half graciously agreed to go with me. So we joined the crowds in an unairconditioned gymnasium.

Clubs and schools from different areas had sent their best, and supporters lined the stands. Raffles Girl’s School seemed to have the loudest, if not the largest cheering group.
I felt a bit out of place, as I had no idea who to root for, but it was amazing just to watch. As with other sports, you have no idea how fast it is until you see it live. The players stalked the court, leaping up for blazingly fast slams, and covering them with fervent tenacity. This was one sporting event I daresay I’ll probably never see in the States.