Monday, January 21, 2013

Palliative Care

Although Cotton's heart is not failing, it is now so enlarged that it's blocking his airways.  We've got him on a new medication that should help decrease the size temporarily, but the vet made it clear that he is now on palliative care.

I have chosen quality over quantity for his remaining time, and also decided (with the vets support) to up him to the max - probably a little above - of the medications that do seem to be helping.  Again, she reminded me that this is temporary and his illness will progress. When the time comes that the medications don't help anymore, or if the medications damage his liver or his kidneys, it will be time to let him go.  

Last night, he had a really bad night.  He woke up multiple times, choking.  He also refused to eat last night before bedtime, and so I thought maybe the time had come.  At 6:00am, when a coughing fit reminded me that it was almost time for his medication, I got up and emailed work that I would not be in.  I gave Cotton his medication and then I went back to bed and wept.  I so badly don't want to let him go yet, but I don't want him to suffer.

After a few minutes the coughing subsided, and I decided that I would let him tell me if it was time. If Cotton refused to eat this morning, I would make his last appointment at the vet.  If he ate, then maybe we could have a few more days.  I stayed in bed until after 9:00, putting it off as long as I could until finally I got up to take a shower.  There, I let the water run for 10 minutes as I sobbed.   Finally,  I turned off the water, picked him up and carried him to the kitchen; refusing to put him down as I filled a bowl with his new favourite, canned rabbit.    And, thank God, he ate it all.

That, and the fact that he's not coughing now, tells me that it isn't time yet.   It's getting close, but I think his good days still outnumber the bad.

I'm not sure how much longer I'll have with him with me.  I don't know if I'll get a few more days or possibly a couple more weeks.  All that I do know is that this is the most difficult decision that I've ever made.


  1. Sending you huge hugs. It IS the most difficult decision. You will know when it's right.

  2. Janice I am so sorry. It is a terrible decision to have to make. I waited too long. Thinking of you and Cotton.

  3. Aww, I feel so sad for you but understand the not wanted to let him suffer. I will be sending you prayers and the strength to know what to do.

  4. This is the absolute hardest choice we have to make as never gets easier.
    We're all thinking of you here in WV

  5. I can totally understand where you're at right now... on the 16th I had to let my buddy, Simon, go. Life had just become too hard for him. You'll know when it's time, something inside just tells you.