AMBER LOVE 01-FEB-2016 I’m sorry there’s no podcast for this week. Life fell apart last week.
On January 26th, I took Caico to the vet because of her sporadic eating and sometimes useless back legs. I knew months ago that she was deteriorating from old age. She got even skinnier from her normal tiny figure. She wobbled her entire life so when it got so bad that she would flop more than land, that’s when I decided to see if she needed X-rays or anything.
Her behavior was odd Monday; she obviously wanted to use the litterbox but couldn’t. She laid down in it and couldn’t poop. Then she begged to eat downstairs in the kitchen and I was thrilled if she ever wanted to eat at all so we went into our two-man effort to let her eat while trying to capture Ollie and keep him at bay. Then Caico got freaked out because she knew she needed to poop. She smelled all three bowls: water, Ollie’s dry food, and her wet food. She went rather berserk and scooped out all of Ollie’s food and managed to balance and squat on his dish to get out a little poop. That weirdness is what alarmed me that she needed vet help and couldn’t put it off any longer.
Her hind end was probably just arthritis, but she had kidney failure for sure. She saw a new doctor at the vet, Dr. Lewis, who was amazingly kind and wonderful. She suggested keeping Caico there for a few days on fluids. My little frail baby was hooked up to these tubes until Friday, but I got to visit her every day. She ate good the first night so Dr. Lewis was actually hopeful. But then she refused eat ever again after that. Somehow Caico still managed to look alert and interested in everything going on around her even when she couldn’t move her back legs at all. Maybe if she hadn’t looked right into everyone’s eyes like she kept doing, it would’ve been easier.
I’ve had to make the decision before. Once for Milton and his kidney failure which was a miracle story in itself; the vet gave him a six-month prognosis and he lived another two years. Then again for Binx with his liver failure which was a rapid onset. I knew when I brought Caico in on that Tuesday that there was a slim chance of her coming home. Dr. Lewis kept looking for any sign of hope though.
I drove out to the vets again on Friday, January 29th, hoping it was only for a visit and for good news, but quietly knowing that was unrealistic. A song came on my playlist in the car that 99.9% of the time makes me cry anyway. “A Life That’s Good” by the Nashville cast hits me hard. Always has. No idea why. I guess because I want that feeling they’re singing about – to feel like love and family are enough to get me through. Instead, with my brain’s wiring, I feel too much like a burden and that my folks and even Caico would have been so much better off without me. So there’s just something powerful in that song that sets me off every time; and there I was hearing it when I had to let go of the most beloved companion in my world.
When Dr. Lewis recommended doing “what was best for her,” she said I could bring Caico home for a night to say goodbye to everyone. I couldn’t keep myself together and had already seen my father an utter mess. I wanted her to be home so badly but, honestly, I don’t know if I would have survived the night if I had to be surrounded by crying family. I made the decision with Dr. Lewis to end Caico’s suffering that afternoon instead.
I got to spend another two hours with her as close to where she belonged as possible – in my arms and on my lap wrapped in my flannel shirt with Pandora streaming Celtic ambient music like Enya and Loreen McKennitt through my phone which was normally what I played while writing. It wasn’t home, but it was all I could think to do to make it feel as close as possible.
When Mansugar drove me home from the devastating vet visit, I left Caico’s brand new buggy in the backseat of my car. I walked in and climbed the stairs. I may have muttered something, I don’t really know. I took a Xanax and grabbed what was left of the Bushmill’s Irish whiskey and sat on the bed in despair so painful, I wanted to die. I couldn’t calm down so to call the reaction hysterical is an understatement. I took two more pills and more whiskey and still no signs of it stopping. I laid there curled up with a box of tissues and eventually reached for the Nyquil. Still nothing. An hour later the effects finally kicked in and I was out. Every time I woke up, I was already crying. Mind you, popping that many Xanax doesn’t do much if I’m anxious; I used to take 8 of them for a pap smear. I need the kind of tranquilizers they shoot bears with to get them out of trees.
Caico had more fan fiction written about her than most people in comics. She’s been to fan meetups like at the Steel City Comic Con. She’s gone to Free Comic Book Day a few times and made frequent trips to Comic Fusion when the weather was nice. She’s been to watch the rubber duck races on the Raritan River and got to vacation in a big RV last year. She sat with me every day that I wrote two novels and for most of my podcasts. She would insist on crashing photoshoots done at the house, but hated having a camera in her face. It was odd if she wasn’t present in my fandom and my attempts at making a living. She would eat strange things like stealing my corn on the cob, carrots, vegan cream cheese, and acorn squash. She was never Insta-famous like Grumpy Cat or Hamilton the Hipster Cat or the Adam Driver Lookalike Cat, but my sweet old girl had a lot of people who loved her and thought she was beautiful.