Tuesday, July 15, 2014

He Was Not Mine

I had Arnold put down. How horrid that sounds. And yet I tried to make his last day as peaceful and memorable as possible. Well, more peaceful than memorable. Wheeled him through the park. Tried to express his bladder (yes some pee shot out but I don't think I nailed it). And then I wheeled him around the circuit, the full circuit, instead of cutting it short like I do most days, and he lay on the trolley and watched the world go by.

His breathing so laboured. His eyes so weary.

He could no longer walk, his back legs were paralysed and atrophying. He could barely crawl, pushing his way forward to his bowl or off his bed if he wanted to pee or poo. But with the paralysis, he lost control over his bladder and his bowels - he simply could not move them.

And yet I hesitated. I didn't want to put him down until I was sure he was ready to go.

Maybe he's been ready to go a long time and I was the one holding on?

I didn't know, I couldn't know...every step along the way I kept second guessing myself, as my friends and loved ones gently tried to suggest, provide support and guidance...and I, I was not sure.

I called Gasing Vet Hospital yesterday. Dr Melissa called me back in the evening. She made an appointment to come over this afternoon. I could hear the hesitation in her voice. I know she knew how much I loved him. Love him.

And today, after lunch, while waiting for her call, I put his head on my lap and he went to sleep for a while, a few minutes of blessed oblivion...his sleep is mostly disturbed these days. I would wake to find him staring, either straight ahead or at me. Have been sleeping in the hall. Allowing everything in my life to unravel as I grappled with what was too big for me to grapple with.

This huge heaving mass of pain.

And I loved him. How could I kill what I loved? How could I not wait for him to go naturally, in his own time?

But when would that be?

And in the meantime, he grew weaker and weaker and suffered so much.

Mike told me that there would be no pain at the end. That he would just fall asleep. That helped.

And so the Dr Melissa called to say she was on her way. I could hear the hesitation in her voice. Perchance I had changed my mind.

But I hadn't.

We discussed cremation options. I wanted him cremated by himself, not one of those mass jobs which they offer.

And then she came.

After the call, Arnold who had been sleeping peacefully on my lap was agitated. Did he know? Or had he picked up something from my energy?

I tried to calm him down. I called whatever Gods may be, whatever angels may be, to calm him down, to let him go, in peace.

And when she came...with an assistant....in that van...I opened the gate and they came in and I was unsure of where to arrange him so she could get on with it...finally we opted for the green bed which is open, the lawn bed. I held on to the back portion of his body because the veins in his back legs had collapsed...and she would need to find a vein to push in the anaesthetic.

She pushed in the needle and looked at me: "Are you ready?"

I nodded, not trusting myself to speak. I was already weeping freely.

And she depressed the syringe....slowly he ceased to breathe. She waited awhile and checked his heartbeat, his pulse.

And she said, "He's gone."

I collapsed sobbing and could feel Dadda's hand on my back trying to comfort me.

Arnold's eyes were wide open.

Finally at peace, finally free of pain.

He had fallen asleep.

He brought us joy...we loved him well. He was not ours. He was not mine.

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