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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder
My Cat Maddy

Maddy and Me

Maddy is Gone

I always adopt from a shelter; she came from the one in Rockland, Maine.

Michael David Crawford, Baritone,

July 24, 2007

Copyright © 2007 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

I Wrote This Last Summer

But delayed posting it here until I could speak to my Vancouver landlady in person - she just adored Maddy. Even after doing so, it was hard to bear working on this page.

A gentler soul has never walked the Earth. But she will walk it no more.

At about one PM this afternoon I made the decision to have my cat Maddy put to sleep. She went quietly and peacefully.

All along we thought she had epilepsy. It turns out it really was a brain tumour.

It's been a little over two years since she had her first seizure. At the time the vet back in Truro said it could be one of three things: epilepsy, liver failure or a brain tumour.

Liver failure causes seizures by flooding the blood with toxins. Known as hepatic encepalothy, it was quickly ruled out with a blood test.

The vet said that a brain tumour could only be diagnosed by, of all things, a CAT scan at the Atlantic Veterinary College on Prince Edward Island. But she also said there would be other neurological symptoms, such as an inability to walk, and her two pupils dilated to different sizes.

We saw nothing that indicated a brain tumour; in two years, she had just four seizures. While she was disoriented after each one, she always recovered completely.

The vet also said that if it were a brain tumour, there was really nothing they could do to help her.

Four seizures in two years - until this last weekend. Starting late Friday night, she had four more seizures over the weekend. She recovered from the first two OK, but after the third she could no longer walk, though she continued to try. She also wouldn't eat or drink.

After the weekend's fourth seizure late last night, she never fully regained consciousness.

I don't have a car here. I don't have a phone book in the house I'm living in. I also only had a few dollars left on my pay-as-you-go phone, and needed to conserve them to talk to the vet and taxi company this morning. I don't have Internet at home either.

Last night when we spoke I asked Bonita to looked up Sunnyvale vets and taxi companies for me on Switchboard.com, and wrote them down in my notebook.

Today the first vet I tried, Sunnyvale Veterinary Clinic, said that I should bring her in right away. They wanted to ask me more questions, but I had to cut them short so I'd have minutes left on my phone for the cab.

I'm sure it was only a few minutes but the cab seemed to take forever.

After examining Maddy, the vet wasn't certain whether it was epilepsy or a brain tumour. She wasn't holding out a lot of hope, but said that if it was epilepsy, a shot of valium and IV fluids would help - she was very dehydrated.

I asked her to do what she could to save her.

Then I asked to look at a phone book. "What are you looking for?" the woman at the desk asked. "Radio Shack," I said. I could add minutes at Radio Shack. She said it was nearby, and, leaving Maddy in their care, I set off down the street.

On my way my cell phone rang. It was the vet. She said "Maddy had a temorary respiratory arrest. Her heart didn't stop, but it slowed down," she said. "We revived her."

Maddy's urn and pawprint

"She's trying to die," she said. I can't imagine that's an easy thing to tell anyone.

She asked me to call my wife. We'd spoken while I was in the waiting room, but Bonita had gone out after that.

When I hung up from talking to the vet, I got a text message from the phone company that said I had a zero balance. But there across the street was a Cingular store - I could buy minutes there.

I returned to the vet hospital. I kept trying Bonita, every couple of minutes, but she was still out.

"You can go in and see her," they said.

Poor Maddy! She had an IV catheter and a breathing tube, and she was covered with an electric heating pad - her temperature had been low.

I don't really want to go into detail about our conversation. The vet didn't hold out any hope for a recovery. She said Maddy's condition had worsened since I brought her in.

I made the decision. I signed the consent form. When asked how I wanted her remains disposed of, I asked for cremation. When I see her next she will be ashes in a cedar box.

At least I was able to give her a good home. Maddy adored me - it was everything I could do to send her on her way to the next world.

I'm crying now.

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