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I made a big mistake

Discussion in 'Rainbow Bridge' started by slw, May 9, 2020.


  1. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    I don’t know where to start. I wish I had thought of a site like this recently as I think it would’ve been more helpful than my vets.
    One of my cats had a “ polyp” diagnosed 3 years ago on her larynx. This didn’t cause a problem for 3 years until noisy breathing and not eating. We went to our vets and I asked if it was a specialist job to remove it. The vet said we could go to a specialist but she was confident to remove it. So, my vet went ahead. My cat has excessive mucous n her throat straight after the op and they had problems clearing the breathing tube, but it eventually settled after a high dose of steroid and the breathing tube removed. as my vets wasn’t manned at night they sent her home the following day for me to tube feed. I felt this was too soon but they said not.
    She recovered brilliantly apart from clearing her throat a bit, but my vet said that was something she may always have now.
    After 8 weeks she suddenly had a gurgle sounding breathing and breathing wasn’t as easy. This was during lockdown and when I rang the emergency vet I was told it wasn’t urgent enough but they would put steroids in safe box for me to collect that evening. So I took her to the vets the following day where I was told it was mucous in her throat, carry on with steroids and give her Bisolvon powder. Seemed to work at first until I asked how long I should give powder for a few days later and asked about steroids and they told me to cut down on steroids and powder. The breathing got worse again. Called vets and was told to go to 1 steroid again. Things didn’t improve so we went back to vets again to be told there was swelling in her neck so either try to feed her liquid food if she was able to take it and unfortunately put her to sleep when ready or get referred to specialist. I chose the latter. However, after requesting a specialist local to me as I have 2 young children in tow also, with the current situation. They got me in at a vets an hour away. I suggested a local specialist and they said they couldn’t get me in soon. I rang them myself and they said they hadn’t had any communication from my vets and could’ve got us in, though they didn’t have a manned site so would have to decline in case of breathing difficulties if anaesthetic or an operation was needed. They suggested another local specialist. I asked if my vets could refer us...the lady on the reception said no. I rang said specialist and they suggested I contact another local vets and ask if they could refer us. I did and they could. Went back to my vets to tell them and they were cross, said they could refer me now and told he not to contact anyone and just Leave it to them. Got referred and got an app for a couple of hours later. I had been really very anxious over the couple of weeks of the breathing/eating difficulties and the lack of continuity from my vets so after the couple of days of trying to get a local specialist , I broke down with high anxiety. My other half was totally against going to a specialist as he thought it would have to involve another operation for her and he said that wasn’t fair. So I felt I had no support and I am ashamed to say I crumbled and cancelled the prevcious app I had worked so hard for. I followed my other half’s opinion of getting my beautiful lady put to sleep instead. I was scared in case things weren’t good at the specialist and I made things worse and she suffered. But straight after we had put her to sleep I have badly regretted it. I’m not sure how to move forward with this at all. I know if I was reading this I would be wondering why on earth the person didn’t go to the specialist. I can’t believe what I have done. They may have been able to help, they may not. But I will never know now. Very hard to live with. Although my cat was having trouble breathing and not really eating, she was still pottering about inside and out with me and still as loving as ever. It has broken my heart and I regret it all enormously. I also regret not taking her to a specialist for the operation in the first place as really she should have had a ct scan and biopsy beforehand, I’ve found out since. I know you will all hate the sound of what has happened here, but I really needed to voice it all as it is killing me. So although my cat hasn’t suffered, I may well have ended her life too soon.
     
  2. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    What is important is that she didn't suffer. You went out of your way to help her. YOU did everything you should. She is at peace now. Too soon is better than too late after all. It's normal to feel guilt after a loss like this, but I hope you can let the guilt go in time, because you did all you could for her. I'm so sorry for your loss {{{hug}}}
     
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  3. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

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    You have NOTHING to feel guilty about, at all. The vets dithered about and gave you the run around whilst your poor cat was struggling. You can explain to a human being what is happening, they can consent, they can express what they want. You can't do this with an animal. You can't explain that "soon you'll be better". You were your cats advocate, and the ultimate last act of love is to know when it is time to say goodbye, and you did this. You did the hardest thing in the world, but an important one and it sounds like you made absolutely the right decision. YOU showed her love and compassion and stopped her suffering. As lorilu says, she is at peace and better sooner rather than too late. A cat cannot comprehend "next week" or "tomorrow", they live in the "now". All she knew is that she went to sleep and that was it.
    Feeling guilty is normal after a loss, after all, you loved her. That feeling of guilt will eventually leave you, but your girl will always stay in your heart. I'm so sorry for your loss. xx
     
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  4. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    Thank you for your kind words, but I don’t feel I can ever be at peace with this. I never found out whether the swelling was related to the polyp that had been removed or whether it was something that could be treated. All I needed to do was take her for the specialist to look at but I was scared and confused what I should be doing for the best . It’s such an awful feeling. Her eyes as she looked at me expecting me to protect her as I’ve always done. How can I ever forgive myself. Equally cross with my vets for not seeming to do much for her - I know things are so hard at the moment and my vets have 1 veg on duty with 3 nurses that answer the phone too. It’s my fault completely but circumstances didn’t help at all and I made the very wrong decision.
     
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  5. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    You did protect her. She's safe now. However you are still in shock. You will need to grieve. Try to be gentle with yourself. Spill it all out here, we've been there, and understand. xx
     
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  6. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

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    You did protect her. You stopped her suffering, she is safe. Cats don't understand the concept of death the way we do. She wouldn't have thought, "I'm dying", she would just have felt sleepy and then gone to sleep and passed on.
    "What if...." is a common feeling with grief, you have just lost a member of your family, they aren't "just" a pet. Be kind to yourself.
     
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  7. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    If I was reading what I’ve written I would wonder why I hadn’t taken her to the specialist. I can’t even explain why not - hesitated because of the unknown, scared in case I made matters worse and didn’t want her frightened as she was very timid with others. Heightened anxiety through worry for her over the last couple of weeks whilst trying to homeschool my children during this strange time. I keep trying to figure out why on earth I didn’t go for that appointment but I’m going round in confused circles. I can’t imagine anyone has ever made such an awful mess for their beloved pet. I really wish I had found this forum beforehand as I think it would’ve helped me do the right thing.
     
  8. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    How will I ever know if the swelling and mucous were due to the polyp possibly growing back? Would it grow back 8 weeks after surgery? The vet that removed the polyp said she didn’t quite remove it all , presumably so she didn’t need to remove any of the larynx. She had done a clearing of the throat noise ( reverse sneezing) since the surgery which my vet wasn’t concerned about. I worried the internal stitches were irritating her throat or there was a foreign body in there, but the vets didn’t think so.
    it was the swelling that was causing the breathing/eating difficulties and I’m not sure if this swelling was near to the larynx as I’m not sure you can feel the larynx from the outside?
    I have so many questions....
     
  9. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    But I keep wondering if the specialist could have made her better? A ct scan may have revealed the problem. Or a biopsy. When I asked if the removed “polyp” had been sent off for testing, my vet hadn’t, they had just thrown it away! The polyp may not have even grown back, it may have been something else. Something that could’ve been treated and made her better. I felt time was running out with her not managing to eat enough to feed a mouse, but somewhere what she did eat was enough to keep her going. Felt so wrong that she wasn’t eating property yet nothing was being done. Are all vets like this? I had a bad experience years ago and never thought it would happen again.
     
  10. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    All your self doubts and agonies are normal. I'm sorry you have to go through it. There really isn't anything we can say to take it away, but it's good for you to put it on paper (so to speak.)

    But think about this: If you HAD gone through with the specialist and the turn out was bad, you'd be berating yourself for putting her through it. You'd be saying "why did I make her go through that for nothing?" The "I should have" or "why didn't I" or "If only I" can be played out endlessly but it won't make you feel any better.

    What matters most is that your precious girl is at peace. SHE isn't suffering. You are. You will get through it. xx
     
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  11. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    As @lorilu says these doubts and guilt feelings are a normal part of bereavement. You saved your little cat further pain, surgery, fear and suffering, for that she would thank you.
    I had my little dog put to sleep 18 months ago, she had severe breathing difficulties. The vet said she could treat her and make her feel better for a while but the breathing problems would come back. Rather than put her through that again we let her go. I did feel we'd possibly given up on her too soon but she was an old dog at 15 yrs old.
    Cherish the memories.
     
  12. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    I’m so sorry to hear this. We had similar with our dog a long time ago when his back legs went - he was 17 but amazingly healthy. The vets said they could give him something to help but would only last about 6 weeks. We couldn’t think to have to go through the thought of having him put to sleep again so soon and it really was sad that his back legs wouldn’t hold him, so let him go then. Again, the eyes of trust looking at us never left us. My thomasina has just turned 15 a couple of weeks ago. She was the fittest and brightest 15 year old cat I have ever known. You’d never have known she was that age. Her breathing difficulty was due to swelling that didn’t seem to go down. No idea if connected to the polyp that may have grown back. Too many unanswered questions haunting me when I could’ve found out. All this happened just recently with me making the stupid mistake on Thursday, yet feels like she’s been gone for much longer. My other cat hasn’t a clue where she is. Although I have two young noisy children in the house, it seems so quiet and still and thomasina was always after my affection and strokes and could sense when I sat down or went to bed as she was there in a flash! I feel I let her down so badly and would do things so differently in hindsight. I just couldn’t see the wood for the trees after so much stress and still can’t!
     
  13. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    I think this is what was worrying me so much - it’s what my other half was trying to tell me - what if the news was bad after they had done a ct scan and biopsy and whatever other tests they may have done . She wouldn’t have liked that.
    But I can’t help but wonder if it was something that could’ve been treated easily without being invasive. I just hated the thought of her going in without me in these horrible times where we can’t be with them during a consultation. I feared the unknown! I will never know if we did the right thing or not, but at the moment it feels very wrong that I didn’t try to find out when I had miraculously got an emergency referral for the same day. Sigh....
     
  14. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I would hate that too. I have a 16 year old with IBD and a 10 year old cat and do worry if either of them get ill, they will have to go through that, being taken in for an examination without me by their side..

    Something to remember, that when a cat finds breathing hard they don't understand, and it is terrifying for them. You did right by your Thomasina. xx
     
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  15. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    PS - You are a Paul Gallico fan I take it? One of my favorite authors! In fact I had a cat named after one of his characters too, my Jennie. (named for Jennie Baldrin) She left me January 2019, she wasn't even 13 yet. She had colon cancer.

    {{hug}}
     
    #15 lorilu, May 9, 2020
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
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  16. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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  17. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    The 1963 Disney film was based on a book called Thomasina, written by Paul Gallico. He wrote several lovely books featuring cats. You could get the book and read it to your children, if they're old enough.

    (The book is much better than the movie! My mother read us Thomasina as children and when the movie came to the drive in when I was about 8 she took us to see it. It was paired with a movie called The Shaggy Dog starring Fred MacMurray. Funny the things you remember isn't it?)

    Two editions of the book are available on AmazonUK

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=thomasina+Gallico&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss
     
    #17 lorilu, May 9, 2020
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
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  18. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    You may find your other cat goes through a period of grieving as well. Pay very special attention to him or her now and talk to him (her?) about what has happened to Thomasina.
     
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  19. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    Oh I hadn’t realised it was based on a book! Haven’t watched the film for a very long time, but it always stuck in my mind and I loved the name. Don’t think I could bring myself to read the book or watch the film at the moment. My eldest may like the book at some point - he’s 8.
    It’s been confusing for my other cat as thomasina was in my bedroom for a while when recovering from the operation, so she was out of his sight. Then she appeared with a strange bandage round her neck and her feeding tube. Then things were normal again, though he seemed to realise things weren’t quite right recently with her noisy breathing and reverse sneezing whilst trying to eat. he kept close by to her most of the time. She had always kept her eye on him - he’s 8. We have had her for just over 6 years. She turned up in our garden the day after we had to let our cat, Dylan, go. She was desperately crying, turned out to be very hungry. After trying and failing to find out if she belonged to anyone and it being winter and very snowy, we built a little shelter out of a gushing box for her with a sleeping bag and fleece inside. The roads were too bad to take her to the vets to check for a microchip just then. When we were able to take her, she did have a chip but none of the numbers were answered. They wrote to the address given, but no reply, so we adopted her. I did find out eventually that she and another cat had been left behind when a tenant had moved from a rental property near us. She had been living rough for 18 months apparently! So that’s how thomasina came into our lives. From the moment she did, she has always been forever grateful and extremely loving. Never known a cat like her. Gosh, it’s hard. I think it seems to quiet now as I’ve been so wrapped up caring for her, then watching her and trying to encourage her to eat lately buying all types of soft cat food to try and make it easier.
    I can’t help but keep asking myself, what if the specialist could’ve helped her. It seemed so wrong putting her to sleep whilst still able to potter around!
     
  20. Dougal

    Dougal PetForums Member

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    I am going through the same (see previous thread), Had my dog PTS last week and now feel I should have taken him for a second opinion. Was with him for nearly 11 years and I can't forgive myself at the moment for not doing more. He was in a lot of pain and distress and I thought it was the right thing at the time. Like your cat, my dog was able to walk, although very gingerly. It all happened so quickly and made worse due to lockdown as I was not allowed inside the vets.

    I hope things get better for you. I am sure, like my dog, your cat had a good life and that's the way to try and get through it.
     
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