Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Advice, please.....


Well we are all still here, fighting on!

Without the support of steroids it is very hard to control Scooter's blood sugar. 
We are keeping a food diary for him, noting what is offered, what is eaten, and how he is in himself at the time.
It means monitoring through the night, too.

When he eats regularly he is fine, he is like his old self, and you wouldn't think there was a problem at all.
But sometimes he won't eat. Whatever you offer him, he acts as though he is actually repelled by it.
This in itself is a symptom of hypoglycaemia, refusing to eat, depression, disinterest. When he is like this the blood sugar has already sunk. Bearing in mind that it was only 1.6 when the vet tested it, and that was on a good day, when he'd been eating ok.

He had one more seizure in the week, and couple of times I have spotted that he is on the cusp of one- staring, glass eyes, twitches.

I asked the vet about glucose supplements, and he said that they do sometimes have capsules of glucose in stock, and that owners of diabetic pets sometimes have them for emergencies. But there was nothing said about me getting some. Arrgh. 

I went online and looked up 'raising a cat's blood sugar' and checked that honey was ok to give. Today and yesterday I've loaded my finger with thick honey and wiped it onto his tongue. This has lifted him out of a stary-eyed state enough to get him to take a few mouthfuls of proper food. They recommend a tablespoon of honey for a cat. I manage maybe a teaspoon :(

When he eats a lot he is alert and active. Otherwise he is depressed and wobbly and weak. I guess no matter how much food we offer, we can't control his appetite. If he isn't hungry, he won't eat. That's it.

I found something on line called calo-pet paste. It's a meaty-flavoured paste that's basically vitamins and minerals in a water and glucose base. It's 20% glucose. I've ordered some and will start either putting it in his food or in his mouth.

Mum has been telling me to let him go. When will I let him go. I've got to. Blah blah blah. I was in tears. This was in front of him. I don't want it discussed in front of him! I'm convinced he knows what we're saying. 

Yes, I do think we are in palliative care mode. 
Yes, I do think we are losing the fight. 
No, I don't think we can control the blood sugar. 
No, I don't think it's fair to keep him if he is constantly either depressed or having a seizure. 
But what about the times in between when he is  his old self? 
Do I give up on those too? 
How many of those times is too few to carry on?

I am exhausted. I am in my fourth day of a migraine. But I can't part with him because of MY tiredness.

I don't know what to do.

I shall try the glucose supplement I've ordered. I'll also nag the vet for glucose capsules. I have to try. I have to be able to look back and know I tried everything for him. I owe it to him, surely.

It is just so hard to accept that he is slipping away from me, because he is such a BIG cat, still capable of getting up on the windowsill and purring away, rubbing his scent on his box to claim it as 'mine', and holding his mousie between his paws.

After nearly 19 1/2 years, Fiv, hyperthyroidism and flu, it is a crime to lose him to low blood sugar. I know it will damage his brain if it continues. Do I wait for pain? For brain damage? Do I wait till he can't walk? Till he can't get to his poo patch? Surely I don't want these things for him. It is a game of chicken, knowing when to call time.

Please send your best healing vibes, purrs and purrayers that he will feel better and also that I will know when to let go...... I realised last night that the low blood sugar causes depression, something I hadn't considered. Why the hell not, considering my past??? I don't wish depression on anyone! Poor Scooby.....

**** *** **** *** **** ***
Love, tea & cake,  
Helena

29 comments:

Hammie Hamster said...

Oooh, how hard that must be, we had a situation like that with our cat some years ago, it's very difficult to say when is the right time to let go...
We think of you, and wish you strength to make the right desicion...
Big hug from all of us!

Angel and Kirby said...

It is a very hard decision to make. You can not let others make it for you. You will know in your heart and when he tells you. When he no longer has good times, he will be ready/

MorningAJ said...

If your vet isn't giving up it's not time. Have you tried him on pate? And my Barney loves some little green "choccy" drops that are cat nip flavoured. Can you get hold of some of those?
Big hugs for both of you.

KC and the Giggleman Kitties said...

I think Scooter will tell you when it is time to go.
You will both know.
As long as there are still times when he is his self, I wouldn't do anything. I went through the same thing with my little poodle, Bear.
One night it hit me that she was not herself, when she wouldn't react to any thing I did. She was spending days at the vet... that night when she came home, with all the food caked around her mouth from the force feeding, she told me she was ready to go.
I knew it as well.
Ninteen and a half years! Wow, I hope my cats live that long. That is a wonderful, long life, but it is not enough. I know.
Sending you lots of love and purrs,
ML & Kitties

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Oh Helena, my heart aches for you and Scooter. Sounds like the honey is a good idea. He's like a very old person with a poor appetite. I wish I could help. xx

Jan's Funny Farm said...

It's so hard and humans worry so much about whether they'll know. But you will know. And it's unfair of anyone to badger you over it. It's your decision, yours and Scooter's. Sending purrs and pawhugs.

Eileen said...

Oh dear Helena, I don't have any advice really, just lots and lots of heartfelt thoughts and my own teary hugs. Only Scooter and you will know when the time comes. It is so hard, I know. Much love to you all, Eileen x

Cory said...

Just remember the decision is between you and Scooter. When the time comes you will know. If he still has times where he's his old self, it doesn't sound like it's time yet.

The Lee County Clowder said...

Light (clear) Karo Syrup is basically glucose. If you can't get anything from the V*T, it might be worth either adding some Karo to his food, or syringe feeding Scooter a dose of the syrup if he looks like he needs a boost.

Worth a shot, anyway.

ppuurrrrrrrrrssss & purrrrayers

Everycat said...

This is such a hard time for you both, and those upthread who say it is between you and Scooter are spot on. When the bad times really outnumber the good times, then you will know, Scooter will tell you.

I know there are several drugs used to stabilise blood sugar in cats - could you ask the good vet about this? There may be something other than steroids that will work to help him.

There's the high calorie Hills food AD, which can be mixed with water to make it easier to syringe feed with.

I wondered if an appetitie stimulant would help Scooter, with Angel, the vet gave us Diazepam for her (she had neurological issues) but boy did it get her eating though I don't know if it's used specifically as an appetite stimulant or how long it's action would be.

We send you love and rumbly purrs and we are thinking of you both.

Oliver, Gerry, Mungo & The Ape xx

Found art blog said...

A smudge of honey on his lips and gums sounds like a good idea for a quick and easy sugar hit .... otherwise I don't know. Big hugs!!

SuziQCat said...

I agree with a lot of the comments already made, and do not envy your situation at all. It is hard to make such a decision, but you will know when the time is right. If you are still questioning, then it isn't here yet.

I've used Karo syrup for kittens before to help their sugar come up, and it has helped a lot.

A/D canned food is usually well tolerated by cats and is easy to water down to be syringed if needed.

Thinking of you and Scooter...

Cheri said...

When the bad days outnumber the good, then you will know. I am going thru a similar situation with 19 year old Yoko with hyperthyroidism and CRF. She keeps rallying so I keep going. Keep looking online for alternative solutions - vets are a limited resource - I have found that out. I have had more success with natural things I found online myself than anything they gave me! Sending lots of purrs!

cats of wildcat woods

ABBY said...

I know I am echoing what others have said, but it truly is between you and Scooter and he will stop fighting and you will "know". It sounds like he is still in the game with you, I wouldn't give up until he says to. I can only imagine how hard this is... nearly 20 years is a long long time (but not long enough) to have a dear friend you love and cherish. Will keep you in my prayers and hope that the answers become clearer.

(((hugs)))

Alasandra, The Cats and A Dog said...

As long as he still has good days I don't blame you for continuing the fight. Scooter will let you know when it is time. But be sure that he isn't hanging on because you are not ready. Let him know that you love him and always will but that when he is ready to leave you will be OK, even though you will miss him.

Julie Baugh said...

I am sorry to hear about these problems, we had to make a similar decision as to when to send our last cat to the rainbow bridge too. Once she had been blind for a couple of years, had had a tumour for several years (which wasn't causing symptoms), then could hardly walk, and finally started getting diarrhoea, we decided that was the time. We didn't know if she was in pain, and half term was about to start so our young son would have been bothering her which wouldn't have been right given how weak she was. By then she seemed to be getting fed up too. You will know when your cat has had enough.

It must also be very hard on you to have to monitor him overnight. If you are having to do a lot of overnight care, this has to be a factor in the decision too.

Thinking of you as I know this is a difficult time.

Sweet Purrfections said...

Many others have given you excellent advice. Scooter will let you know when it's time. Also depend on the advice of your vet.

Trying having a long talk with Scooter. Tell him about all of the good times you've had together and that you'll be okay when he's tired. Someone sent me this advice when Sweet Praline had cancer and it really helped both of us.

Marg said...

It is so hard when they get sick and old too. There are tons of good suggestions here and you will know when it is time. Try that stuff you ordered and see if he perks up. I was going to suggest an appetite stimulent too. The steroid should make him hungry. We sure are sending tons of purrs to you Scooter that you bounce back.

cattywumpus said...

Ahh, this is so hard. I've had trouble getting Skootch to eat from time to time. One thing that does work is a [human] appetite stimulant pill. But you have to give the kitty a very small amount (like 1/8 of a pill). It must contain some sort of stimulant, because it seems to make him drool and make his heart race (which I find alarming). My prayers are with you and Scooter.

~*Connie*~ said...

You are in a difficult position. End of life care is such a delicate balance and it doesn't help that you do not have the support of your family.

not being there and not seeing the intentions of the cat, it is hard to say what is going on, so my suggestions from here on out are not for you and your situation, but my thoughts on cats in general in this type of situation. Take it as you want/need.

When Emmy was dying, she did NOT want to go. She was adamant. Every time I told her that she did not have to fight this fight if it was too tiring, she got indignant and turned her back on me. When I would make the phone call to make the appointment she would come 'running' over (quotes because her run was more of a waddle at that stage) and meow at me as if to say NO! NOT YET!! Everyone always says "you'll know when she is ready" well sometimes they aren't ready. I made the final appointment for her out of her ear shot and sobbed waiting for the vet because I knew in spirit she was not ready, but her body was two days beyond being done. It ached that I was 'forcing' this on her.

Before and after the fact I feared I was projecting and that I was reading too much into things and seeing what I wanted to see. But then several years later when my next cat was dying of VAS, he was himself and acting as if nothing was wrong right up until the day he decided he was done. The cancer came and was removed several times and he brushed it off like a bad matt. One day he was done and it was beyond apparent and I knew keeping him another hour longer would be doing him a disservice to who he was as an individual and I let him go.

You have to decide what your believe your kitty can and wants to live with. If you feel he wants to put up with the care that is necessary to keep him alive, and you are willing and able to do that care, then by all means do it no matter how crazy the people around you think you are.

But it is not wrong to give up. You are dealing with end of life issues here. There is little hope of a recovery and a long happy healthy life after this, so letting him go sooner rather then later is not an unkind option to take as I had to take with Em. There is a saying, better a day or a week early then an hour too late.

While this is about what your kitty wants, it is also about you. What you can handle on either side of the question. Will you not forgive yourself if you 'give up' and put him down now, or will you not forgive yourself if you wait and you realize he is in pain and suffering at the end.

Death is part of life. It was a responsibility you took on when you agreed to share your life. It can bring you so much closer, but if not handled with care it can leave you scared for quite some time.

So difficult as I said. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through this difficult time of transition.

Feronia said...

I do so feel for you, Helena. Not being a cat (or other pet) owner, I don't feel qualified to give an opinion. But I am so holding you and dear Mr Scoob in my thoughts.
Hugs & love,
E xx

Laura and Taffeta Rose said...

We continue to purr for Scooter to be comfortable and to feel as well as possible. And for you, too.

It can be difficult to balance a cat's blood sugar, but it sounds like you are doing very well. Is your vet having you test it regularly? I believe it's done from the ear. It seems that when his sugar is good, he feels well. I would concentrate on that. As many have said, he will tell you when he's had enough. It is unmistakeable. Thank you for taking such good care of him. Purrs.

Laura & Taffy

Beedeebabee said...

Oh my goodness, Helena, how my heart goes out to you. I so wish I could offer some good advice. One of my cats is diabetic and the vet told me to keep Karo corn syrup on hand for when, in an emergency, we see the signs of diabetic shock. Then we just put some on our finger and rub it on his gums. We did this once and it helped him till we got him to the vet. I don't know if it will help your Scooter though. I wouldn't want to make his situation any worse. Maybe you could ask the vet about it. It probably works in a similar way to your honey. Keeping you guys in my prayers. I hope your headache goes away soon. xo Paulette

Cherry City Kitties said...

all the questions that are so hard to answer. And so many good thoughts from friends, furry and footed. The only thing I could add was from my experience was to take time when he's in a good place and ask him. And be ready for whatever the answer is. He will let you know.

And from one human to another, who shares a lived experience with you, make sure to do the things for yourself that YOU need to do to stay in a good place right now. I am reminded that I am of no use to anyone when I am not of taking care of myself.
Peace, purrs and luv.
Carolyn and the Boys at Cherry City Kitties

Noir the Texas Tabby said...

Prayers and purrs from our house to yours...Tommy here, I am the human in my pride of felines. I so agree with Cherry City Kitties---because I have done just that. I have asked two of my before kitties if there were ready to go--and I had to be ready. I had to be honest when held them in my arms, against my chest and heard my heart--as they went to sleep. Scooter will tell you. He will make sure you are OK.

Tommy
Psalms 50:15

The Island Cats said...

You have gotten good advice from others. We agree with them and don't have much more to add. Other than we are purring and praying for you and Scooter. We know that this is not an easy time.

Wally, Ernie, Zoey and mom Sue

Ikaika said...

Helena,

Please consider assist feeding him instead of offering him food to eat on his own. Here's a link that might help, or you can Google "assist feeding cats" for numerous sources of help.

http://www.holisticat.com/ffeed.html

Good luck with this.

'Kaika's mom

Ikaika said...

Thinking about you and Scooter and just checking for an update. Hope he is doing better and you are feeling less stressed. Warm thoughts coming your way ...

'Kaika's mom

Everycat said...

Just dropping by to leave love and rumbly purrs for you and Scooter, we hope this last week has been a little easier on you both.

Oliver, Gerry, Mungo & The Ape xx