I am struggling with how to be human versus humane. Indiana stopped eating over a week ago. Well, to be fair – she slowed down long before that. We thought it was the heat. Later we thought it was her food. Still later we thought it was her “getting older.” We left it at that and that and that. When she stopped eating completely we assumed it was her teeth and promptly went out for wet, soggy, nasty canned crap. She ate a little. And her reward? A trip to the vet. She hates nothing more than to be confined inside a box in a loud, moving vehicle. Her cries were pathetic but maybe she just needed her teeth cleaned. We just wanted her to eat. We were innocent of thoughts of anything worse. When the vet threw a litany of options our way we shoved aside anything we thought unnecessary – blood work, fecal test, urinalysis, radiology, ultrasound. The price of each was astounding.
$150 (for the basics – exams and the necessary by law vaccinations) later we took her home and tried to ignore how angry she was at us. When she hid under the bed we shrugged, callously thinking she would get over it. There are worse things in life. Two days later and no improvement in appetite or disposition brought us back to the vet for a fluid insert and (begrudgingly) the blood work, fecal test and urinalysis we previously decided we couldn’t afford. $400 later we took her home and couldn’t ignore her unhappiness. When she hid under the bed we wrung our hands fretting she would never come out. There are worse things in life. A day later and it *might* be a urinary tract infection. There is a swelling in her abdomen and blood in her urine. Antibiotics shoved down her throat. Kisa called me with updates every time he went home for lunch or got out of work before me. Nothing. No improvement whatsoever.
Last night we brought Indiana back to the vet. This time her gut wrenching protests were reduced to wispy whimpers; a silent cry here and there. She wanted to voice her displeasure and for once, I wanted to hear it. After 15 minutes with the vet he was gentle in his approach, “she is depressed. I would like to at least take an xray to see what’s going on.” And just like that we were running another test we previously agreed we couldn’t afford. At end end of it all we have more questions. The film displays an undetermined mass in her belly. Could be cancer, could be a nasty knotting of small intestines. Maybe she ate something. Words flew out of the vet’s mouth like black bats from a cave, “Ultrasound, hospitalization, IV drip, surgery, 24 hour emergency care, cancer.” Cancer was the only bat I captured.
Here’s what I can’t walk away from. By not paying for the bats I am killing the cat. I am playing god with the life of another living creature. Who am I to decide how she dies when she has more life to live? Just knowing there are things I *could* be doing, but don’t because of dollar signs. How do I say goodbye when guilt is my grief?