After a few days of what was probably denial, and my attempt to make life wait for me to be ready, I had to wake up and smell the coffee. That Tuesday, I knew that Patches needed to see the vet. I knew I couldn’t hold off any longer. He hadn’t eaten much of anything over the weekend and was clearly not doing well. In my head, I was still holding on to the hope that this was just a bad flare up of his intestinal condition. But, since I had to take the kids with me to this appointment, I needed to prepare them for the worst possible scenario. After all, Patches was almost 15 years old.
When I explained to them that we might need to say goodbye to Patches, I got mixed reactions. Anna cried. Tommy was clearly sad, but did not shed a tear. Perhaps he was in the same land of denial that I was in. He asked if we could take a picture of Patches. We’ve seen this before with Tommy. He takes pictures of all our pets with us on vacation so that he’s not sad about missing them. It’s one of his ways of coping. We took a few pictures and then we headed off to the vet…in a very somber state. The appointment was fairly uneventful. The doctor took some blood and then sent us home with some critical care dog food, some pro-biotics, and some medicine to help with nausea. This was great for the kids, but I knew what was coming.
I was finally letting myself deal with the possibility that we would have to put Patches down. I waited anxiously for the call from the vet the next morning. The news was pretty much what I had expected. Patches had significant kidney failure. He gave us the option of bringing him in for IV fluids or subcutaneous fluids twice a day…and we’ll see what happens. At first I went for this…took him in for the sub. cu. fluids that afternoon. (I didn’t want to leave him all day for IV.) But I couldn’t ignore the numbers. Clearly, his kidney failure was severe. He wasn’t going to get better. It was time.
That night we all sat down together. We told the kids what was going to happen. They asked a lot of questions and cried a lot. The kids each took a turn holding Patches, hugging him, saying goodbye. We looked at pictures and even laughed a little bit. Tommy had a really hard time getting to sleep that night. (as did I.) The next morning, Tommy was ok. He said his last goodbyes and headed off to school. I think he had already moved on. Anna and I were another story. We were both falling apart at the seams. Grandma and Grandpa came to stay with Anna while I took Patches, and to be here so that I didn’t have to come home to an empty house. After school, Anna’s teacher said that she cried twice while she was there. She also got really upset at bedtime. Thankfully we had a very busy weekend ahead of us to keep our minds off of this.
This was whole experience was incredibly challenging for me. I’ve had Patches since he was 4 weeks old. I’ve always known that losing him would be very hard for me. As a mother, you just know that you have to be the rock for your children in times like this. But, I never could have imagined just how hard it would be to be that rock for them and to deal with my own emotions all at the same time. Definitely one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a parent so far.