i want to talk about death, actually i want to talk about life.....
Carol · Jul. 31, 2007
because alot of people love tom and i have gotten quite a few calls and emails tonight about letting him go. everybody has a different belief on death and how and when it should happen. i showed a picture of molly today to some of the nurses and because she looks so horrible they thought it was cruel not to put her down. except looking horrible does not mean feeling horrible, she quit feeling horrible once those millions of fleas that were living on her were killed. so now she is hairless and she has damaged, thickened, elephant skin....it doesn't hurt her in the least but it hurts the people who see her. oh well, not her problem or mine either. she likes nachos and she really likes me to kiss her face. it is a decent start for her second day here.
pops, romeo, wee hopeful bug, dexter, the icky chi's, ogidie, jessica, michael, bill and now molly, ruby and tom. all ancient or sick animals...all visually hurtful to human eyes in one way or another. we equate looks with suffering. we equate disease and dying with irredeemible pain. well it is not. pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, shortness of breath can all mostly be controlled with medications as needed. some days everything falls apart and it is a scramble to get back on track. that is what palliative care and palliative meds are for...not to prolong life but maintain it's comfort. it does not stop the ravages of the disease, and eventually the disease wins. but there can be some really good times in between. dexter is almost skeletal now, he is dumping weight daily....the tumours on him are huge... but that dog doesn't care, and he doesn't care because he is on a good palliative medication regime...he likes his food and he likes his sticks and he likes to goof around the pond. he does not care what he looks like to other people or what they imagine he must feel. he tells us what he feels: he feels we should spend more time down at the pond and find him some more sticks and maybe order him a pizza while we are at it.
today, tom is not ready to go. he is having a good day. his meds have been adjusted, his feeding has been switched to small frequent meals so he is less likely to vomit, he is on tramadol for any possible pain now too. tomorrow i am picking up new meds to increase his gastric motility so the food doesn't hang around in his stomach for so long making him sick. tonight while i was cleaning, he was with me every step on the way. he was wrecking my swept up dirt piles, he was blocking where i wanted to wash the floor. and every time i passed the fridge, ever hopeful tom was hoping for another treat. he is licking my sore ankle at this particular moment and he is very much the same tom who was ruling my world a couple of weeks ago.
i will not let him suffer. i love him. but i won't for convenience or for the sake of a warm and fuzzy ending send him off before he says he is ready to go. and if that means a middle of the night crises, oh well...we have the drugs to help him stay comfortable and calm until we can get a hold of a vet.
i make mistakes with all of this, each life's ending is different. and i carry the burden when i don't get it right...it hurts...alot and for a very long time (like forever). which is why i struggle, and watch, and plan the best i can for their ultimate right to determine when they are ready to go and then i do my best to make it as peaceful and easy as possible.
most here are euthanized when they are ready, a few grab the ball and run to their deaths on their own. not every death can be predicted and planned to perfection, death is not really meant to go like that, as much as we think it can be. not unless i am going to play it safe and send them off before they are really done with it all. to me, when i get it wrong and rush them...it feels like murder. if i wait too long, i have inflicted pain and suffering but if i wait til they want to go, then it is simply a release.
i don't have a right to take their lives until they want to give them away.
i don't have a right to make them live past the time that they want to live.
and i don't have the right to knowingly make them fit my timetable or my vision of their perfect death.
but i do have the obligation to try to do the very best that i can for them no matter what greets us on any particular day.
at this moment i am content with how tom and dexter and micheal and remy and bill and ogidie and jesse and molly and ruby are doing...tomorrow this might change for one or more of them. and then i will do the best that i can for whoever it is who needs me to do it.