Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The biggest kitty heartache ever (pt 1)

There was little on the Seamus front after his urinary tract infection. Certainly, Marcie had her arguments with him and his wild streak shot out whenever he was allowe outside, fixed or not. But one day, that all changed.

"Mao hooooff!" Seamus coughed.

He was barely able to breathe.

"Mu HOFF!" he coughed again, his head sagging to the floor pitifully as his eyes closed a bit. He coughed hard and his tongue came out.

"Spit it up, Seamus," I said, half expecting a gigantic mouth-turd of fur to issue forth like some ungodly spawn of feline spite and hell. I was happily disappointed at first when one did not.

My relief would be short-lived. Seamus began coughing again later in the day. It was the off-season for my day job, renting and manning inflatables, but I left a note for Marcie as I went off to my job with Pavia-Volpe, a finance company.

"Look out for hairballs. Seamus is coughing," I wrote. "Probably will be huge, so watch your feet"

When I got home, I opened the door to Seamus's coughing and Marcie holding him, rocking him in our couch and holding him close.

"Honey, he hasn't stopped coughin all night," She said. "I don't know what to do."

"Oh, honey, it's just stuck is all," I said.

She nodded and set him gently on the couch. His eyes looked a little glazed, I noted. But he recognized me and let out a rather pathetic "mrrrr."

I spent the night petting him and calming him when he coughed. He coughed all night and through friday. By Saturday morning, we had to take him into the vet. There was one sure sign of a problem.

"Honey, he didn't eat all his food," Marcie said, in tears. "What's wrong with him, why is he so sick?"

"The hairball probably is filling up his stomach," I said, beginning not to believe myself one bit. "But let's take him in, okay?"

He did not fight as we put him in his cage. That was bad. He did not yowl as we went to the vet's. That was worse. When he did not hiss at the vet tech, we feared the worst.

We were told to leave him there, they would call us. When they did, the vet tech asked us to come get him, the doctor was done with him.

We rushed over and waited, holding hands and nervous that they had said so little.

Dr. Mason, our new Normal Heights vet, sat down. "I am not sure how to tell you this, so I will just say it. Seamus has a collapsed lung with a mass on it, according to his X-rays. I think he may have cancer."

We were devastated.

"What can we do?" I asked.

"Well, I am not sure what you can do," she said, looking at us. "But if you want a better look at him and a diagnosis for certain, we can bipsy him or we can get an ultrasound of his lung done.

We nodded, but the doctor shook her head. "You may want to put him down, it's not cheap to get an ultrasound for an animal at all. Chemotherapy for him would be hell, and may not be possible. Once he got his wind today, he started lunging in his cage at us. He would have to be sedated for it, which he is a little old for..."

Marcie squeezed my hand and looked at me, about to fall apart. I tucked her head into my chest softly and kissed her hair as tears flowed, then croaked out, "Please make sure he can't be helped. He is the best friend we have, and we need to be sure."

She nodded. "You'll need to have $600."

I nodded back, then asked, "What is the chance he has something else?"

She shrugged. "It's hard to tell, because his lung is collapsed. If it's asthma, we may get the lung back. If it's cancer, then it's almost all cancerous now."

Marcie was wracked with a sob and curled into me, clutching my shirt. I stroked her back and breathed her hair in, her scent. Dr. Mason mumbled about getting Seamus back to us now and left, uncomfortable. I noted it.

I took him out of his cage and he crawled into my lap and went limp. He was almost damp from stress. I kept him in my lap all the way home.

We slept together on the couch and we fell asleep, exhausted with grief and fear, in the middle of the cold and clutching his soft fur and each others' hands in it.