Love Lost

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, a long weekend of worrying about Ripley came to a sad and abrupt end. As you may know from a previous post, Ripley had surgery Thursday, August 21, to remove an intestinal mass. The surgery lasted almost four hours and Dr. Z described her findings as a 'nasty and massive tumor.' The tumor extended around Ripley's intestines and into her pancreas. She was slow to come out from the anesthesia and she was nauseous. I visited her after surgery, before she was transported to the local animal hospital for overnight observation. It was so hard to see her that way. I felt awful for putting her through the surgery, but I knew that was the best option to try and save her life.

I picked Ripely up the next morning and took her back to Dr. Z's clinic. She looked much, much better...responding to stimuli and being affectionate. She continued to progress the rest of the day on Friday. I visited her that afternoon. We then started trying to reintroduce her to soft, watered down food. She really wanted no part of any of the many offerings I tried to feed her. I left her there, knowing she would still continue to progress.

Saturday morning Dr. Z called and informed me that Ripely did not eat anything overnight and she wanted to insert a NG tube to get the vital calories and hydration to Ripely. I agreed and went in to visit Ripely. Still no eating...not even for me. Jeremy brought her some tuna, her favorite. At first she wanted nothing to do with the tuna, but then she took a couple of licks of the juice. We had never been so happy! But that is all she would want because she was so nauseous. We left her so Dr. Z could insert the NG tube. The rest of the day, I kept my cell phone nearby. However, I missed a call from Dr. Z around 9:30pm. She checked on Ripley and found she vomited several times and was very concerned that Ripley's incision in her intestines may be leaking.

I talked to Dr. Z again on Sunday morning, and after checking in on Ripley that morning, she had the same to report, Ripley seemed to be rapidly declining. She was still nauseous and very unhappy. We went to visit Ripley, and Dr. Z set out several options to find the problem. We decided to do minimally invasive test on Ripley to determine if the surgical site was leaking. Ripley had her NG tube still in her nose at that time, but she looked up at me when I walked in the room to see her. Her eyes were still beautiful green. I could tell she was unhappy and I hated that I had chosen to put her through this, but I felt it was all necessary to try and make her more comfortable in the long haul. Dr. Z left us alone after we made our decision. I cleaned Ripley's gunk out of her eyes and dusted the dandruff out of her fur. She was too preoccupied with trying to get better, to tend to such superfluous things. After lots of petting and kisses on her head, we left Ripley to Dr. Z's continued care.

Dr. Z called around 2:00pm and said the test was negative for any leaking but she wanted to transport Ripley to the Animal Hospital to determine if her conclusions were correct and to allow Ripley to be observed overnight. Not hearing anything, I called the Animal Hospital around 8:45pm, the vet on call, Dr. Dawes expressed concern for the texture of Ripley's abdomen. She found it very hard and tense. Her advice was to open Ripley back up to determine if there was a blockage or if the surgical site was leaking, or anything else. She advised that an ultrasound in the morning would tell us very little and if something is wrong internally, time is the enemy. I called Dr. Z and she agreed with the idea of exploratory surgery. I called Dr. Dawes back and authorized the second surgery...hoping that would fix Ripley.

At 12:20am still not having heard anything, I called the Animal Hospital to verify they have the correct phone number. They assured me they did and that they would call when Ripley was out of surgery. I prayed that this would be it and Ripley could come home and get better. At 1:38am, my cell phone rang. It was Dr. Dawes on speaker phone from the surgery suite. With the beeping of the heart monitor in the background, she told me once inside, she found that Ripley's pancreas was necrotic and abscessed and there was nothing that could be done surgically. She adivsed that if I decided on euthanasia, it would be easier on Ripley to do it while Ripley was on the table, and not to bring her out of anesthesia, and thereby avoid any pain. Jeremy was standing behind me as I sat on our stairwell talking to Dr. Dawes. I thought about saying no, so I could go see Ripley in the morning and tell her goodbye, but that would be totally selfish. I said "go ahead and do it now; it is what's best for her." Ripley would not be coming least not in the way we hoped.

It was such a difficult decision. But I find some peace in knowing, that we did everything we could possibly due to save her. The pathology report came in Tuesday. Turns out Ripley had high grade carcinoma. I said to Dr. Z, when she told me, "she didn't have much time anyway, correct?" She agreed.

I went to pick out Ripley's urn on Wednesday. I wanted to find one that matched Leo's. It's really sad that we just went through this with him, in May. A green marble urn caught my eye. I picked it up just to check the price. There it was...a name tag on the green urn that said "Ripley." It was meant to be to be hers.

All of our friends were very supportive during this difficult time, which we really appreciate. It's never easy to lose a pet, but it makes the heartache less painful when you hear kind words from those that care.

No comments: