This beautiful little guy, Lester--the one I blog about a lot, and photograph a lot, along with his twin brother Larry-- Lester the pink nose/Larry the brown nose-- Lester the good cat/Larry the naughty cat.....
A very unfair and inexplicable thing happened Thursday morning...Lester, just age 5, went to the vet for routine Distemper and Rabies shots and a slight eye infection-with some runniness that we were wiping....Lester apparently had an unusual and rare reaction to one of the vaccines and died suddenly at the veterinarian's office.
Lester did not deserve this. He was the sweetest, gentlest cat we ever had. He never hissed, he never did anything naughty. He loved routine. He loved the doorbell and guests. He didn't mind wearing hats. He was very fastidious and clean and always smelled like fresh linen. He liked my mother's old afghan best for napping. He liked to catch bugs. He didn't like to snuggle too tight or he would get wiggly. He liked the faucet, and he liked his family. Us.
I cannot imagine what Larry is thinking right now, and how confused he will be, how much he will miss his brother.
I am devastated. I fear he suffered. I know he was alone when it happened, because the vet said no one noticed until it was too late. How could that happen? I feel terrible for my kids and for Paul, my DH. They are suffering.
The kids have their grown-ups lives now, and my daughter even "shares" her own cat, named Naughty, with her boyfriend. Paul, on the other hand, had Lester. And I had Larry. Lester slept with Paul every night, followed him everywhere, and watched television with him every night. Lester preferred ESPN. He even preferred basketball to other sports, followed by football and golf over baseball. No idea why.
The other unfortunate scenario, making this even worse, is that it was handled very strangely by the veterinarian and his assistant. Lester was dropped off mid-morning, and we were called around 11-11:30 to pick him up, that he was done, just fine and good to go with his shots, shot record and eye salve.
Paul went to pick him up at lunch, and encountered what now seems like a staged event. Lester was not in the room when the doctor presented his discharge papers and medicine, where he might normally have Lester on the table while demonstrating how to apply the medicine. The vet acted "off." The nurse suddenly rushed in and asked him to come out. This was done oddly also.
Then Paul was told Lester was dead and asked if he would like to see him! Can you imagine? The shock of going from one extreme to another in seconds had to be unreal. We were told he died while no one was looking. How did that happen if shots were given earlier in the morning? Wouldn't staff be watching vaccinated pets for reaction? Or did they just inject him while Paul was there, and if so, why would they call and say he was already ready? Why would they offer to let Paul see him if he had just died on the spot, and yet they said he had an anaphylactic reaction and that his lungs filled with blood and he essentially suffocated or his lungs burst? It pains me to write this, as I can hardly bear to think of his pain, his fear, his panic, his struggle, his wonder why no one was helping him. He hated to go to the vet anyway, although he was gentle and clawless also.
But wouldn't he have been in a rather shocking and unpresentable condition in that instant, with blood, mucous, sweat, loss of urinary or bowel control? We know, we went through a couple of dead pets before. We made the (possible) mistake once of wanting see our sweet Myrtle after she died.
It is sad to have to wonder, and to possibly distrust a veterinarian and the caregiver of one's pets and the last person to be with them before death. But we feel maybe Lester died earlier in the morning, and they staged the announcement to avoid any hint of liability.
We don't want anything. We are not litigious people. We would only want Lester back, or the truth. We only want to be able to trust, and to know what really happened, and whether he suffered. We suspect the wrong dose or the wrong vaccine was given or that simply he was left alone or ignored. We may never know, and we are grieving.
When my DH can handle it, he plans to inquire about the process with another vet. He already did talk to one other vet today in his grief. A vaccine reaction can happen, but is truly one in a million. It typically is not a delayed reaction, and it is one, that while it may be abrupt or irreversible, it is quite noticeable. So perhaps they simply were not watching. We'd rather know that, than a lie or the unknown.
So, please go love your pets. If you don't have any, then just be kind to animals. They can't help themselves. They are innocents. But they are our responsibilities, also. Paul and I used to joke that we loved animals so much because we didn't really like people very much. The people we do like and love (like you, my blog friends) know what we mean.