I have always said that the hardest part of being a pet owner is the time when you have to say goodbye to them. It’s something that, throughout my life, can still call up some real surges of deep sadness and emotion. You never get used to pets dying and even less do you feel the pain of such an event. I feel it the same way now as I did when I was 10 and my first ever guinea pig Sniffy passed away suddenly and it’s no secret that I do get very emotional when it happens. I cried when Alphonse died, I cried for Hope and I cried for over a week when Patch left this world and I did cry for Zell, Nero, Gizmo, the rats and even Gatsby (even though we only had him for a week) and Edward. I just didn’t think it would have hit me as hard as it did.
Kadaj was getting old and he’d had this on and off cold for over a month now (sometimes he really seemed to throw it off, others he was just not himself at all and I nursed him through as best as I could) and I think it was strange that he wasn’t interested in the cucumber and tomato that I was giving out yesterday. I had been planning to take him to a vet to get him checked over, but sadly he just couldn’t hold on anymore. Guinea pigs aren’t very easy to look after when they get sick and usually by the time they show any real signs you’re already past the point of no return and there is little, if anything, you can do for them than make them comfortable and hope that they either pass in peace or can wait to be put to sleep. I’ve done the whole having a pet put to sleep, it’s probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. That walk from the door where the vet was standing ready to set my Alphonse free to the door where people were waiting for me, felt like it had extended to about 10 miles and I don’t think I have ever felt so powerless and so guilty in my life. It’s not easy when you know a pet is ill and dying. Patch died in my arms and I felt him go, I think that was another time when I just wanted to stand up and scream at the top of my lungs about how cruel life is and how painful it is to love. I found Kadaj this evening, I had gone to make something to eat and felt the room seemed eerie. My instincts were to check Kadaj right away because I couldn’t see him and Miles and Phoenix were being unusually quiet. I think my heart sank when I brushed the hay and newspaper away and found his body lying there. He’d probably only been gone for about 15-20 minutes but everything about my boy was different.
Kadaj was always a spirited little fellow, from the moment I saw him in the Adoption Centre at Pets at Home (under the name Marley, he was about 5-6 months old) and our eyes met, I knew there and then that I wanted that creature and I flat out refused to leave without him after hearing about his terrible ordeal. Originally Kadaj had belonged to a person who owned reptiles and they had only gotten him, and I think one of his brothers, to use as live bait. I’d not long had Gizmo and Hope and I remembered seeing this nutty little tortoise-shell with a mottled face in the pen with them as well as another young boy. I don’t know, nor do I think I want to know the fate of the other guinea pig, but I knew this little creature needed me. He needed someone to love him and show him that not all humans are cruel and depraved and I was already feeling raw about Alphonse, despite having Hope who was blind and deaf and relied on me heavily anyway, so I had him and I raised him. Yes he was sometimes a naughty little thing and he didn’t shy away from a scrap with some of the other pigs (not to mention his “Barbering” incident with Gizmo), but he was probably one of the most loving guinea pigs I had ever known. He wasn’t stupid either, although he wasn’t really a wheeker, he had his own way of getting my attention by bounding around the cage or standing up on his back legs before rolling over backwards because, let’s face it, he was a chunky boy and was probably one of the most food motivated pets out there. He had a good life here and was loved and well looked after. He seldom bit people unless of course you were winding him up, but most of the time, he was happy enough just to have a big pile of hay, a bit of veg perhaps a good lap to snuggle up in to. He will be sorely missed by all of us here, especially the youngsters who spent most of the evening looking for him and wheeking as if to call him. That in itself was heart breaking because I knew how much of a bond those little mites had forged with Kadaj over the last month or so.
I suppose what has been happening with my own health has also come as some kind of a shock. The problem is if we had started looking down this path sooner, I could well have been back on track by now, not a year later and it’s still not completely resolved. I have been having an almost constant run of chest infections which haven’t really responded to the various kinds of antibiotic medications that have been thrown at it. The problem is that this infection is probably caused by fungal spores which come from rotting organic matter (I.E. cut grass not cleaned up, fallen leaves and other things that normally we would come across and not have a problem with, but as I am immune-suppressed due to prednisolone use) and if we can’t shift it with antifungals and get the right lung’s lower lobe working properly one possible outcome may possibly be facing surgery to remove the failing lobe and a long hospital stay. To be honest, I have enough of an issue attending in A+E and staying overnight, being there for days while I recover just makes me feel uneasy. I have so many worries on how this could turn out. It’s kind of scary to be honest and I worry about what kind of future I look forward to, for myself and Jace. I think I need to get through the hardest part of it and keep trying to kick this off with medication. We are keeping up with antifungal meds and Lorazepam for the pain (as well as helping the distress of the pain, it helps to relax the sore and overworked chest muscles that have been making my whole body feel like it’s working too hard.)
I have another set of worries healthwise and this one is a bit more looming as it could well mean a stay in hospital in itself. Because of my gastrointestinal problems I have to be admitted to the endoscopy unit soon to have a colonoscopy and gastroscopy. I’ll be heavily sedated for this and I have no idea how my asthma is going to behave (if its anything like it is at the moment then I have plenty to worry about) before, during and after the procedure. During which they’ll be removing polyps and taking biopsies to check for the worst case scenario illness like Crohns or Colitis (and even the slight possibility of bowel or stomach cancers, even though, I stress that this is a SLIGHT possible outcome and it is more likely to be something like Crohns or Colitis). The most unpleasant part of the procedures is the fact that I will be having cameras inserted in to me in a rather uncomfortable way, but with luck, I won’t be awake enough to remember much and will probably sleep like a log for days afterwards. I just hope that this is a problem that can be put right as well as the Hiatus Hernia and problems with my stomach valve (causing my reflux) and after a bit of treatment, I can be back on track with that. Maybe if I can eat properly without pain, I can get the energy to get over all of this and move on to the next phase of my life.
The next phase of my life of course involves Jace and me living together as soon as possible. We have started making our mark on the place where we will be living, making small alterations to the layout and décor and making the place look not only warm and inviting, but the place where our love story is set to continue. I don’t feel scared of showing Jace the reality of what an asthma attack looks and feels like, how scary that can become and how it can get from 0-100 in less than minutes at times. He copes better than most people would and when I had a huge attack on the Monday, he was so calm, so kind and so gentle in making sure that I was going to recover and rapidly. I think that had it required the emergency services, then he would have coped well there and would have been more than happy to go in to hospital and make sure I was going to be alright. I think things are definitely working out for me. I don't know exactly how things are going to go, but we'll find out soon enough.