Daily Archives: January 28, 2006

Kitty kidney collapse connundrum

28 January 2006

…So after wondering why Oreo, our kitty, has been listless, nauseous, and generally unresponsive for days, we took her into the vet to discover she is suffering from kidney failure, and was so dehydrated that we had to take her in (last night) to get an IV bag of fluids. Julie’s going back today (this morning) to go for a second hydration round so she can watch how to… administer… the IV. That’s right, we get to regularly infuse our poor ailing kitty with fluids. Maybe once a week… maybe twice a day. We don’t know yet.
*sigh*. When is it time to throw in the towel? Julie says she’s willing to put in the effort for as long as it actually seems to help. I agree with the sentiment, but living the DIWK lifestyle (Double Income With Kids) doesn’t leave a lot of time for kitty maintenance. And this isn’t even mentioning the vet bills which have just begun and which promise to get much worse before the end.
The end. I have to say this is the first time as an adult that I’ve had to deal with end-of-life issue with a pet, and it brings up all sorts of issues around death in general, and one’s attitudes towards it. In specific, when do you let go when you know the inevitable is near. There’s some unspoken equation that happens in our heads and hearts that balances the expense (time, money, emotion, physical pain) against the benefits (retaining the life of the one you love). With people I suppose the benefits are higher, so we tend to fight longer and spend more, but it’s really the same equation. Problem is, with animals, you can’t ask them when they think they’re done. In a sense, it’s like taking care of some one dying of a mind-debilitating disease, where they no longer can give input in on the process. In the end, it turns out the decision seems to be more about the survivors than about the dying. How do you value life, and how does that value effect your decisions? With pets, it also brings up the question of how you make decisions between the differences of life, between human life and animal life. Again, as a meat-eater, the question becomes less about life and more about how much we care about that life. Oh great, now it moves from the realm of the abstract to the personal. If you decide to give up the fight, does that mean you just don’t care enough to fight anymore? Does that mean the animal/person/whatever dies because of a defect in your own personal make-up?
Now don’t worry, I’m not taking it that far — I’m just being philosophical. But, it does give one a lot to think about. Personally, I think the whole thing is rather organic and the decision presents itself when it must. For now, we’ve entered down that road and for now, we’re going to play the game of help her survive. The balance sheet is started, and we’re filling in the double columns.