Waiting for the Train
I've known for a few years now that Pan has a heart condition, and although there have been some scary moments, on a daily basis it hasn't been very worrying. He showed no symptoms, the medications were preventive, he was his same old self, all's right with the world.
Now that he's in CHF, I'm having much more trouble forgetting it. The labored breathing, although easily corrected by the new med, was an obvious reminder that he is not 100% healthy. And even with the breathing back to normal, I'm still having problems.
It's like waiting to get hit by a train. You know it's going to hit you, but you don't know when. It could be today, could be two years from today. It will hit you, and it will hurt like hell when it does.
And thus, with almost everything he does or doesn't do, I worry: is this it? Is that a bad sign? Is he breathing? Does his throwing up mean something more than indigestion or a hairball? Is his heart beating too fast? Does he want to cuddle because he senses something? Does he not want to cuddle because he feels bad?
And the underlying question to all questions: What should I do?
Intellectually, I know that I'm doing what can be done. He's on medications, I'm monitoring his weight and watching for any other symptoms, I'm keeping his life happy and low-stress. Emotionally, though, I have trouble accepting that. The situation is broke and I want to fix it. I can't forget, even for a day, and if I can't fix it, I wish I could forget.
Pan has always been my baby. He was my first choice that day I walked into the Humane Society, ten years ago this summer. I love Harold too, love him lots, but Pan is a mama's boy and extra dear to my heart (a bonus re: cats versus human kids is that you can say things like that, even put them on your blog for all the world to see, without worrying about therapy bills later). All the preparation in the world isn't going to help me when the time comes. And not knowing when the time will come is ... unsettling.
In my situation, do you think you'd rather know, or not know, how long he has left?