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Happy Holidays to everyone out there, along with supporters and what not. If you want your holiday to be happy, I suggest you stop reading now and wait until a bit later. With a heavy heart, I lost one of my pet cats, Helix, at 2 1/2 years old on Christmas Eve. His condition started developing near the beginning of December. His eating became minimal, low energy, lethargy, difficulty in swallowing, weight loss, etc. The veterinarian strongly believed he had gastric reflux, so we tried doing remedies for that with no improvement. We tried two steroid injections over the last couple weeks. The first time showed vast improvement thinking he was almost cured, but then relapsed. The second time wasn't as strong of an improvement, then he dived off a cliff. I knew something was catastrophically wrong when I saw him at 4AM stumble and walk like he was drunk, urinate on the carpet, and lie down where he stopped.
I immediately got him to an emergency care center within hours, as they ran blood tests. The main issue is he had a low red blood cell count, limiting the amount of oxygen circulating through his body. This had residual effects causing damage to his liver, kidneys, etc. His body was literally destroying itself. Predictions are it could've been IMHA or a version of anemia. He was struggling for breath at certain points. Even during testing, the top vet had to be pulled out of an appointment to tend to Helix since he was gasping for breath and going comatose during blood tests and X-rays. Once diagnosis was finished, the options I feared were presented.
I could either try to pay for emergency treatment, stabilization, which would cost me thousands of dollars, with much less than a 50% survival rate (not to mention future lifespan and problems), or I could go for euthanasia. My haunting predictions became a reality. I decided to call my parents explaining the situation, but started to become hysterically emotional on the call. Without even able to swallow and finish sentences on the phone, my mom decided to come to the emergency center.
I knew what had to be done, which is why I became a mess. I couldn't even hold Helix for more than 3-4 minutes without him starting to gasp for breath, become clumsy and stumbling, etc. He had to be on a respirator. I chose to be with him when the euthanasia was administered. I know he was confused and scared. The two-stage injection was done while Helix was in my arms. He went to sleep, then his heart stopped within 20-30 seconds. It was quick and painless, but let's just say, I can't remember a point in my life where I cried harder. Even the vet was tearing up. I've been a mess the last 24 hours. What a holly jolly Christmas right?
I thought I was taking my cat to the vet to be properly diagnosed and cured. Instead I walked away without a cat in my carrier and meows on the way home. Ironic that it happened at Christmas Eve. I joked with the vet that if the universe was a conscious entity, it was giving me the middle finger. All I wanted was Helix to not suffer. What makes it difficult is how young he was. He was always the rockstar, comical, funny, energetic, cat. I even said that he was so good at being a cat...aka a professional cat hehe.
I had the option of keeping his ashes after cremation, but decided that the past needs to stay in the past. Helix will live on in my graphic novel Cashmere Sky (aka Theo). That's how I will remember him. Thankfully, I still have Pixel with me (aka Nelly), though she hasn't fully figured out that Helix is gone yet, as I will be monitoring her for animal depression in the coming weeks. A new playmate / cat will be on the horizon, but for now this is Helix's moment, and I will remember him as a best friend, and even more...a family member.
Thankfully, I had the chance to hold and comfort him, and express my emotions before the end was near. If there's anything to take from this, cat, dog, person, etc...life is short. Don't miss the chances to show and express your love to those you care about. Try to realize the things you currently have and cherish them. It's much better to get through life with the support and love from those you care about. I will miss Helix, but never forget him, and have him live on through my hand in Cashmere Sky.
Helix "Theo" Hudson
2014 - 12 / 24 / 16