As I was leaving the house this morning on my way to work, my phone rang. “Hi, it’s Carmen,” said my tech. “I know you’re probably just about to leave anyway, but I wanted to let you know Comet is here and he doesn’t look good.”
I grabbed my keys and shot out the door.
Comet is owned by one of my favorite clients, an extremely sweet woman who adores her cats. Not three months ago, she lost a recently adopted cat to a nasty virus that has been striking hard in the local shelters. It hit very fast, and despite all our efforts, he died. I spent a lot of time turning over in my head every decision I made, every diagnostic I did or didn’t do, and wondered what I might have done better. Would it have made a difference? Probably not, but still. His owner had nothing but thanks for me, which of course made me feel even worse because regardless of what I did, he was still dead.
Comet was in last week because he wasn’t feeling well. I did some tests, I was waiting for some results, and I called on my days off to follow up on his care. I didn’t want to drop the ball on anything because I got the feeling she had just barely recovered from her other pet’s death. I spent last night planning a course of action with my boss for Comet’s diagnostics today. We weren’t going to lose this one. I was worried about some recent results but I was still hopeful we could figure out what was going on with him.
Once I was on the road and had my Bluetooth hooked up, I called back to give the tech some things to start while I was driving. “Hey, it’s me,” I said to the receptionist. “Tell Carmen to get a PCV going and run him on O2 if he needs it. I’ll be there in 10.”
“On who?” she asked.
“Comet,” I said. “Carmen knows what’s going on.”
“Comet just died.”
I spent a long time in the room with Comet’s mom, as surprised and unhappy as she was.
“Why did he die?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied, honestly. “We never got a chance to find out.”
We talked a bit about necropsies, what we could learn, what we couldn’t. She decided not to have one done.
“Thank you so much for everything,” she said between her tears, and all I could do was hug her back.
“I don’t feel like I’ve helped you very much,” I replied. Half of her household pets now, gone under my watch. And she thanked me.
She is a very kind person. What a way to start the week.