Time, TBI & Death


I hate death.  No.  Really.  I do.  I have not been on speaking terms with death since my Mom passed away when I was just 16, and she was in her early 50’s.

My kitty with Kidney Disease had a very, very rough day yesterday.  She started vomiting in the morning and anything she consumed, even water, got tossed up.  I couldn’t be strong for one more moment and started crying in the afternoon wondering what to do.  Vets aren’t open around here on weekends; would we have to take her 65-miles away to an emergency vet?

I needed time to figure out what to do, Richard was out working and I needed direction.  For me, it came in the instructions from a naturopath Veterinarian whose book is often referred to when dealing with cat or dog issues.  It was one of the first books I purchased an updated copy of as soon as I could after selling the house.  It’s “Doctor Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats”.

This is another area where Brain Injury kicks my ass (sorry for being blunt or crude.)  But I HATE that I struggle to come up with not only a solution but try to look back at precursors that may have caused her to get sick in the first place.  It’s in these moments of desperation that the voice of doubt rears its ugly head and says maybe I’m not fit to own animals in the first place…

Then there’s the anger.  Angry at my Brain Injury, angry at God asking him why in the hell do people and animals have to die anyway?

I digress.  Back to the book.  It talks about giving chicken broth and I thought, “Great!  I can boil some frozen chicken and she can drink the broth.”  Nope.  We are out of frozen chicken so, looked at the container of organic chicken broth.  I’ve always been hesitant because it’s not 100% chicken broth, it’s close at 98%, but am deeply concerned when it comes to moments like these where I need to help her and not be a hindrance.

I warmed up the broth as the book suggests, and added water (my own idea), and she drank it.  Next came the waiting game of seeing if she could keep that down.  Success!  Then we tried pieces of turkey breast we get from Costco, and waited, waited, and waited.  Success!

She did climb into bed again last night as she’s done most every day of her life, she settled down on my sweatshirt at the edge of the bed and quickly fell asleep.  She must have been absolutely exhausted.  I did not sleep much last night, waking at every sound.  I’m suddenly brought out of the fog of Brain Injury to notice every detail, taking note of when she eats and uses the litter box.  This is how I used to be without Brain Injury…

I am in a quandary and most likely will take her to the vet 65 miles away when I can get her in.  Here’s the hesitance: she gets great care, she does well with the acupuncture, but they take her blood every 4 months and it’s of great difficulty each time.  I can’t stand or sit there while they fish around after shaving her neck.  Richard can’t stand it either, so it’s not just me.  I’m hoping I can ask them if they can sedate her this time…LOL…and maybe ME TOO!  🙂

I really hate TBI too, for moments like this when I feel like the wind is knocked out of me and I have to do my absolute utmost for her.  She’s been the sweetest of kitty friends.  But I hate TBI because time passes and I have no concept of it.  It’s heartbreaking that 10 of the 14 years I’ve had Tux I have had a Brain Injury.  It feels like I’ve had no time with her at all.  I felt the exact same way when my dog got sick and later had to be put down in 2009.

I can look at the notes on my paper where I wrote Tux’s birth year, the math I’ve done showing me it’s been 14 years, but it doesn’t feel like that long.  I don’t know if any time with animals is ever quite long enough.

With all this I completely forgot about setting the clocks forward.  Completely!  I had it marked on the calendar but that was overridden in my brain.  I’m glad Richard had the wherewithal to start off by resetting the clock on the toaster oven.  I was really out of it…it usually takes me a while to adjust to the time change anyway.

I’ve wanted to stuff all these emotions away where they can be stowed for later…but later is now.  I have to ventilate or I will be unable to make wise decisions when the time comes.  Sometimes I really wish I wasn’t such a mush ball with a wobbly heart when it comes to issues with pets.  Egads, even writing this is making me cry, guess there’s still more heart to be ventilated.  I have to be as prepared as I possibly can…and do the right thing.

I loved Tux even before we met!  At that time Richard and I were together, he came home and said someone he knows has a really sweet little black and white kitten with a little white on her chest.  I said I’d take her and I’ll call her Tux!  She is pretty much the embodiment of sweet kittiness.

For now, she is eating and keeping things down.  She has a buffet of food to choose from, this is exactly what I did for my dog with Cancer.  I know in my heart of hearts it doesn’t matter if I hate death, or am angry about my TBI and time.

What I learned from walking my dog through Cancer is as long as life holds her here, I will fight with everything I’ve got to keep her alive and well, but when her time comes to go, I will help her go.

But that still doesn’t mean I’ll be on speaking terms with death anytime soon!

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About Resilient Heart

TBI x3, that's me! If you had a Traumatic Brain Injury (or Injuries!) and knew you might not remember dates, events, people, etc., would you live each day differently? Would you give more, forgive more, heal more? I am. The statistics for me developing Dementia or Alzheimer's is a high possibility - one, because of the TBIs, and two - because I'm genetically predisposed. Come with me as this present moment is all we know we have... Wishing you all the best - today & always. Blessings, Love & Peace, RH
This entry was posted in Animals, Friends, Grief, Lettiing Go, mTBI, Pets, Sadness, TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury, Vulnerability and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Time, TBI & Death

  1. I am just beginning to get my understanding of death under control. When I “died” on the hospital table, even if it was only my mind dying, I came to better grips with it. I don’t hate it anymore; I simply choose not to visit it right now. I will have to deal with others as they come and go. I know my poor Tamika (cat) will go someday. It will be 7 years in June.
    Smile. God is not done with either of us yet.

  2. i’m so very sorry that your cat is ill, and you’re suffering too xo

  3. Oh, Resilient Heart … I feel for you. Death is a hard thing to accept, especially when you’re seeing it in the eyes of a loved one. I lost my 14 year old cat to kidney disease last year. Same symptoms as you describe. Heart wrenching. I don’t know how I got through it as I was also quite sick at the time. The thing is to be grateful for every moment and accept that death comes to us all. Its still hard though. 😦 Keep smiling and give your girl lots of hugs …

    • Dorothy, thank you so much for your beautiful words. I’m sooooooo sorry to hear your kitty died from the same disease, it really is heart breaking…I’m not sleeping well, eating, etc., I feel like I’m in a vigil and all other life has stopped. Sometimes I cannot stop crying for the life of me.

      I agree, gratitude is the one thing that changes things around no matter the circumstances. The Dr. Pitcairn book has some beautiful words about death too, about it’s mysteriousness, and we need not fear it. I have a quote by Pema Chodron on my calendar that says, “Resisting life causes suffering.” So true. And it is so very hard.

      Thanks again, yes, I’m trying to love on her as much as I can without being annoying! 🙂

  4. Lydia H says:

    I’m sorry to hear about Tux being sick. Death is hard. Living with ferrets, my little ones go to Rainbow Bridge too often. I love my furkids and enjoy them as much as possible. I do my best to provide intelligent vet care. Sometimes, that mean supportive pain management towards the end.
    To me, death is part of the cycle of living. It closes this chapter but our souls, or spirits, survive. We are souls (spirits) with bodies, not bodies with spirits (souls). Our loved ones are always near. Love transcends death. It’s just harder for us in physical life to understand and hear those wo crossed.
    I know how tough it is when furkids get sick. We want so much to make it better and we can’t. It’s so hard to see them go through it.

    • It really is a struggle to see them sick, I know it is ‘the tunnel before death’ so I love on her as much as I can.

      This morning…after the hurl episode, she fell back asleep and I just watched and listened to her completely lost in the moment. It was so sweet.

      I totally agree that love transcends and doesn’t stop just because the animal isn’t here anymore. I certainly hope if there is a heaven or whatever that all our animals are there…if not, I’m talking to management! LOL! 🙂

      It’s tough too when we’ve had them for so long there’s just that bond, that sense of knowing each other. If that in itself isn’t sacred, I don’t know what is. I’ve always been fascinated with human-animal friendships/families. They’re truly remarkable little angels with fur on, as Oprah says. 🙂

      I love being able to be there for them, so they never go through anything alone, I can be that one steady thing in their life. So many facets to these relationships, it’s clearly not just a physical thing, but spiritual, emotional too.

  5. Lydia H says:

    I know the animals live on. They were made by the same Love that made us.
    I love those moments of peace and connection also. It is so peaceful, just watching them being… Them.

  6. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time. I’m a TBI X4 and it’s not a great place to be but I don’t like the alternatives. Tux is one lucky kitty to have a loving home and someone that cares so dearly for her. We are pet owners also and I always believe they own us for they live inside our hearts each and every day. The one thing I’ve learned through the many years I’ve had the privilege of sharing my life with animals, I’m the one that’s been blessed over and over by their daily presence. They are the ones that have gotten me through the really tough times. God Bless and hold Tux close to your heart. You’ll understand when the time comes to let her go.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Sheri, especially since I just ready you’ve had surgery on your right hand. Wow, it really is amazing the intricacies of life we take for granted because they are second nature.

      It’s really hard to face losing Tux, it seems to be a season for letting go with my Dad and her. I love how you say they own us, I jokingly call myself my kitty’s slave! I would have it no other way really. 🙂 The light and sweetness animals bring to my life are well worth the sorrow when it’s time to let go. They love us with their lives,, the least I can do is my utmost in return.

      People haven’t always been there for me, but animals have. I’ll be indebted to them for life, I shudder to think where I’d be if it hadn’t been for the saving grace and unconditional love of animals. I’m so glad you have your animal family too, I like what Oprah says about them being angels with fur on. 🙂

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