[Warning: Graphic Photo]
It is 10:15 p.m., Monday, March 9, 2015, and I would like to just cry myself to sleep right now. But I feel a warm and loving sense of obligation to be with all of you now and share tonight’s events. I really don’t want to belabor this, as I am so tired and want this night to end, but I have to share with you that tonight we said goodbye to our Charlie. Yes, I now use the pronoun, “our.” I’d like to type this fast, as I am fighting back tears for the loss of this cat who used to be the bane of my existence. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but pretty close.
Would I be crying now if I hadn’t grown to love that scrawny, ear-bent cat who constantly returned to Ed for loving kindness and food no matter how offensive my presence was to him? Probably not. Would I have developed a blog series for him if I didn’t care about him? Probably not. Would I have even called the emergency vet in the first place if I didn’t secretly wish him well? No. If he only knew I really cared about him.
So yesterday I thought his face looked the best it had since the surgery. Blood had dried and fallen off; the swelling seemed to be gone. I don’t know what happened overnight, but today Charlie was worse. I thought it was strange that he was hissing more at me today from a motionless position, but I couldn’t tell any difference in his face. Then when Ed got home and went to feed him, he said he thought he saw some oozing from his face. I put a flashlight on Charlie, and sure enough there was all kind of pus coming from his face. I knew that meant infection, and thought I’d better bring him in- I sent a photo to the vet and they confirmed it looked very concerning, and yes to bring Charlie in.
I told Ed to let me take Charlie alone so we wouldn’t have to bring my son along, we packed Charlie in the red Christmas box like we did on Day 1, and off I went. God is so good- He knew what would transpire and kept Ed and Dillon home, saving them the emotional agony that would surely have been mine many times over, for both of them were far more emotionally attached to Charlie than I- I thought.
First, a gal took Charlie back to verify the pus/infection- she came back and said grimly, “Yes, it’s very infected. Go to room 2; the doctor will be in shortly.” You know that ‘this-is-not-gonna-be-good’ tone of voice?… she had it. And Charlie’s original doctor who did the surgery was out tonight, so it was a different doctor. A few minutes later, the gal returned to my room and told me the doctor had briefly examined Charlie and was trying to reach the first doctor to consult with him. I knew this wasn’t good. I waited.
The new doctor finally came in and asked me what prompted us to bring Charlie in in the first place (he didn’t know?), then asked me what made me bring him in tonight (another answer I thought he knew), then asked exactly what the first doctor did and told me (Really?). I felt like I was repeating everything he already knew, but I think he just wanted to be sure I was clear about what the doctor had done and was informed about the possible outcomes of surgery…specifically the possibility that Charlie could lose his eye. The doctor informed me of Charlie’s severe infection and asked me to sign a form to sedate Charlie and examine him to find the source of infection, importantly if it was from the eye or another area. If the infection was from the eye, the eye should be removed (enucleation), but if it was from the hole injury above the eye, the eye still might be savable, but there was still the hole infection to deal with, which could also affect the eye. He stressed that something had to be done, as Charlie was in a great amount of discomfort from the infection. Oh my gosh, that’s probably why he was hissing so much at me today; poor thing! Gosh, I thought, should we even be putting him through this much more? He’s been through so much already. What are the chances he will heal from all this? What kind of pain is he in? The dialogue between us was so fast I can’t even remember all the questions and answers that went back and forth, but I signed the form, called Ed to update him, and waited.
The exam seemed long, but everything was long now. I expected the infection was from Charlie’s eye, and the doctor confirmed it. When he returned, he said he felt the infection was both in the eye and the head wound; in fact it was running all down the stitches. He advised enucleation (removal of eye), but this was not a simple decision with Charlie being a feral cat- it would compromise Charlie’s outdoor prowess eliminating his depth-perception with the loss of one eye. He could possibly adjust (and would find out soon enough), but even if all that turned out, there would still be the head injury to deal with. It seemed things were getting more and more complicated, and I couldn’t help thinking of the prolonged trauma Charlie was enduring. I don’t remember when I mentioned the possibility of euthanasia, but I did, and the doctor comforted my evident distress saying something like humane euthanasia was a very reasonable option to keep on the table at this point- it seemed he was waiting for me to bring it up and was glad I did. Maybe it was the knot in my heart, but the way he worded it was so comforting to me as I struggled with what to do.
I had Ed on the phone who was listening carefully, as we searched for a hopeful scenario. The doctor surprisingly gave us one, seeming to make it up as he went along: He could possibly keep Charlie’s eye open a couple stitches wide, clean out eye as best he could, give him pain killers and antibiotic shots, and we could take Charlie home again and hope on the minuscule chance the infection was not from the eye- we would know if the pus did not disappear in 3 days. The look the doctor gave me said kindly that it was not going to happen, the infection was in the eye, and Charlie would continue to be in misery. Even if it miraculously cleared, we would still have to return for his head wound which could easily infect the eye again. The moment came when Ed and I together knew what needed to be done for Charlie’s sake, and the doctor made the painful decision easier reminding us that Charlie was already under sedation and wouldn’t even need to wake up. What a blessing for Charlie- not waking up to more misery with a torn-up infected face and no guarantee it would end.
Well Charlie, we made a run of it! We really tried to save you, but it wasn’t meant to be, buddy. We’re sorry you were so badly hurt, and that you endured so much pain; we hoped to help you get better and run free again…but then that’s what got you slashed in the first place, wasn’t it? We even got you a personalized collar so if something happened again, maybe someone would call us.
Well folks, I guess Charlie’s story is a good reason to spay and neuter our pets. Unless you are breeding animals and have homes for them, GET THEM FIXED so that animals are not left alone without a home to fend for themselves in the perilous outdoors, if they live to face the challenge. Yes, some animals are meant to be in the wild- others not so much. And if you’re looking to adopt a pet, PLEASE RESCUE ONE! Find a rescue shelter and go rescue a needy animal!
Finally and most importantly, I want to say THANK YOU LORD JESUS for the life of Charlie! You created him, brought him forth in Your time, and took him home in Your time, Lord. And You, Wonderful Father, let him be a part of our lives for a special little slice of time…Thank You so much!! I believe Charlie is with You right now, in a brand new feline body with a perfect healthy face, in a special place that You designed, enjoying the most beautiful secure surroundings imaginable! And how cool will it be, Lord, to see him again one day, to praise You together and to bend down and say, “See Charlie?…I told you it would be Okay!” ❤
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” –Rev 4:11
“In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” – Rev 5:12-13
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