My beloved companion and *baby*, *Georgie* passed away Sunday, 2nd February 2014.
He died suddenly – from what the vet has told me, She said he was just sitting up in his
crate at the Animal Hospital, the suddenly took two deep breaths (meaning a sound like a death rattle which happens with humans), and he passed away. We had just visited with him, I brought *Callie*, his BFF, because she was missing him terribly whilst he was in the hospital.
He was sedated when they brought him in, and although I could see that he was happy that we were there, when I carried him, he held onto my coat so tightly, I thought of bringing him home. I knew I couldn’t because he was to have surgery the next day, and they had to prep him. But, something kept nagging at me—at that time, I was trying to lift his spirits and reassure him that we were going to be there and he would be coming home SOON.
When I cupped his precious face in my hands, and kissed him, I was concerned by his eyes. They were not their usual BRIGHT and Sparkly selves…He looked at me with such sadness – I felt he didn’t believe me when I said he would be fine and we would all go home soon.
My intuition was all over the place…I was concerned that the vet in charge of caring for him, was too detached. I have had and cared for Many, many pets…– kitties, puppies,birds, bunnies, and even a duckling (Penelope was an Easter gift for my 3 yr old daughter, along with a sweet Holland lop bunny, named “Thumpy”). So I’ve had oh so many experiences with different vets. Some I loved, others I found too negative and uncaring. BUT…in all my experience in working with a vet to help my pet, they ALL at least held, pet, caressed, my babies. Not this one. She did not even pat him, pet him, or anything affectionate. (She leaned against the wall opposite of the exam table that he and Callie were on, and I felt she couldn’t wait to get out of the room.
I couldn’t find Georgie’s *baby* (his favorite toy that he loved and carried around with him) at home so I bought him the closest toy resembling his lil baby. When I asked that they keep it with him, she looked at me incredulously like I was crazy. Then asked me if I thought he would eat it. That should have told me, she knows nothing of cats, nor does she seem to care.
I explained to her about his love for his other *baby* and assured her that he would not “Eat it”. I then asked about what his newest blood test results were. She told me that she had not done a blood test on him. (I should have immed. taken him to a different vet) He had been there all day Saturday, and part of Friday. What the hell ? ) I was shocked and if it wasn’t a Sunday, and if I could have reached his other vet, I would have taken him there immediately.
From the beginning, I expressed concern that perhaps the hernia he had been diagnosed with 5 years ago, may be the cause to the obstruction in his intestines. Every time I mentioned it, the vet insisted that Georgie did not have a hernia. (And I did bring it up way more than 10 times). She wanted to do an ultrasound because she seemed to think (so negatively) that he had a tumor and cancer), and when I asked, “would you not have seen it in his bloodtests? She said that since the blood test he had received when we took him in on the 17th of Jan. was clear, that it doesn’t matter because blood can change in minutes, hours, or days.—-Then why did she not do a blood test as soon as we took him in ? Huge Mistake -another reason I should have taken him elsewhere.
So, after what we thought was a happy visit with Georgie, I kissed him, hugged him, and told him, “See you tomorrow *baby-bear*!”, still uneasy because of the vet’s detachment from Georgie….I am the type of person who wants the Person caring for my pet to LOVE animals, and to not be detached – It’s important, because I need the vet to empathize with *baby* and to give lots of love and consideration – For goodness sake, animals cannot speak for themselves, like babies, so they need the people caring for them to be empathetic, loving, thoughtful and able to anticipate what he/she may be needing. Also, her telling me that she’d only been working there for under a year, did not calm my fears. I know that length of time working as a vet is the only factor in whether she is a capable one or not, but I don’t take chances when it comes to my family’s health. (fur-babies are family as well)…S
We reach home, I decide to shower, and as I’m about to step out, I hear the phone ringing. — I knew. It was the vet telling me that Georgie had just passed. This is less than half an hour after we’d said Goodnight to him. I was in utter shock and disbelief. I asked her if she had tried to resuscitate him, and she said “No”… What the what???? She said “he was just sitting up, then took two deep breaths, and when we went to carry him out of the crate, he passed.” So why not try to resuscitate him???? Because you don’t care?? He was not on the verge of death when we saw him 30 minutes earlier. So many scenarios and thoughts were running through my mind….and my heart…..shattered…
Georgie depended on me …trusted that I would make sure he was treated with care and love – the way I would treat him….I felt that I failed him. My intuition had been nagging at me…telling me take him to his original vet. But I didn’t want to endanger his life by taking him off the Iv until Monday. I literally wanted to die…I felt so guilty and so sad….
I gave permission to do the necropsy, because I wanted to find out what had caused his intestinal obstruction. When she called to tell me what she had found, I was so upset, I had to sit, because I would have fainted. Georgie, DID HAVE A HERNIA WITH 2 PERFORATIONS. FAT HAD SQUEEZED THROUGH ONE OF THEM, AND PART OF HIS INTESTINE HAD SQUEEZED THOUGH THE OTHER, CAUSING THE BLOCKAGE AND OBSTRUCTION…
I was still in shock, still in disbelief that my chubby angel had passed, I asked why the ultrasound did not show that he had the hernia. She replied that looking at the ultrasound results now, she could definitely see the hernia –BUT that it is “hindsight, because now we know where to look for it”. She also said that the radiographer did not spot it either, and that she would have a serious talk with her about missing the hernia.
I know that Doctors are human, and not perfect. Like everyone else, they make mistakes. What upsets me is when they try to gloss over their mistake, or pass the buck to someone else. I mean, I’ve been in hospitals and have had more ultrasounds, xrays than I can count, and almost 95% of the time, the tech doing the xray, MRI, or ultrasound does not tell me what they see, even if it’s really bad. The Doctor is the one who gives me the results. So yes, I was a annoyed that she seemed to put her ego first and try to make it seem as if it was the radiographer’s fault. At that point I was so sad that Georgie’s vet had, in my opinion been neglectful in her care or lack thereof , of my sweet angel.
After telling me this and having to admit that he indeed had a hernia, and that it was the cause of the obstruction, she told me that after we left “We did a blood test on Georgie and I was going to call you anyway to tell you that we wouldn’t be doing the surgery tomorrow, because he was so anemic. I was going to tell you that he needed a transfusion before anything else so we could stabilize him. So you know, I think this was George’s way of saying he was done fighting…” I wanted to tell her this: “You do not know my Georgie. He is no quitter, and if you had done the blood test as soon as he was settled in when we brought him in the 2nd time, you might have seen that he was anemic 2 days ago, and been able to give him the transfusion. Also, if you didn’t dismiss my repeated concerns about his hernia being the cause of the blockage, HE might still be alive today!!!” – heartbroken and exhausted by all that had gone on, I just thanked her and decided to not say anything before calming down and thinking about my poor baby’s last days. I also had to comfort *Callie*….she meowed all night – not her usual playful meow but a sad, almost wailing meow….We listened to their favorite lullabyes by Jewel…and although she eventually fell asleep…I could not…and didn’t for over 55 hours…Tormented by guilt, and despair of what had happened.
There is much more that happened that I am too tired to type out…And as far as that animal hospital, I shall never take any of my babies there ever again. This is not *the process* I go through when one of my babies pass, because I ALWAYS do Everything I can do save their lives, and if they are sick with an incurable disease, I care for them and give them love, holding them until it is their time to say good bye for now…And after they pass, I can grieve and mourn their passing, and the empty place in my life without this feeling of failure and worst, guilt.
I can go on and on with the “If I did this….”, but tragically, it *Is* too late. One thing I KNOW for sure, is that I will listen to my intuition, and not doubt it again. After all, I am the one who knows my babies the best, we have a connection despite not being able to speak with words. This is the first time, that I cannot find peace in my heart…I fully expected to feel sad, even depressed until my heart heals, and I can smile again. But in this case, the peace in my heart and soul is not to be had, because I feel as though I failed Georgie. I should have taken his holding onto me tightly as him telling me, not to leave him there. I asked the Vet for the reason he passed so abruptly, because he was not anywhere near death when I was holding him whilst visiting him, and for him to die half an hour later, I needed to know what caused him to die. This is her answer : “I really can’t say. I don’t know why. I think he was just waiting to see you all and after you left, he let go.” I could accept this if he had a terminal illness. Under the circumstances, I don’t buy it. I’ve been so distraught, I spoke with my doctor about this, and even he doesn’t buy it. Something happened that they are hiding. (I’ve read all of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ books on death and dying, and have cared for many many animals and nursed them back to health, even when a vet has said they will die within days. So I am not in denial and trying to blame someone for this tragedy (for me, it is one), I normally allow my heart and soul to take as much time as needed to grieve and feel what I’m feeling, while going through my scrapbooks and remembering all of the joy that pet has brought into my life….knowing that death is a natural part of life… —This time, is different. I can’t find peace, and for the first time I am equally as angry as I am, sad.
To add insult to injury, this money hungry animal hospital, made it clear (as they do with all pet parents, that they need to pay upfront, and because I was extremely ill on Saturday, I could not have gone anywhere to save my life, or my baby’s – but I did give them my credit card info. as well as banking card info. which they did use to check for an authorization–which they received). Why they did not do the pre-op blood tests, is beyond my comprehension. There is no excuse. And now….now that my beloved Georgie is with the angels, and welcomed by all of my beloved pets that are there waiting for me, they (the animal hospital/clinic) is not returning my phone calls regarding the refund for the amount they charged for the surgery he never had because he passed away before they did anything to treat him. The Vet who was supposed to be caring for him, told me because I’d paid 3 payments. One on the 17th when he first was taken there – and we were told he was “fine”. $400 for a brief exam, and blood test. I had wanted them to keep him overnight for observation and given IV fluids due to him being obviously dehydrated, but no…they sent him home. A second payment when he returned to the hospital because his health had declined and he stopped eating and drinking water. $850 for them to administer an IV and to do an Xray – which is when they found the blockage/obstruction in his intestines. – They did not treat him, other than the IV fluids. After they saw the obstruction, they pretty much stopped treating him with anything because they thought given me the choice of 1. putting him down (which I’d never do) or 2. surgery to remove the obstruction, they thought I’d choose to put him down. When I made it crystal clear that I would never do that, esp. when surgery could be done to resolve the obstruction. I told her, not in a rude way, but in a way that she would know that putting him “to sleep” is not going to ever be an option…I told her quite simply…” I don’t play God/Goddess”, and “why would I even entertain that thought when absolutely NOTHING had been done to treat him. It’s not as though all options have been exhausted.”
That is when the 3rd payment was demanded before they do the surgery. They estimated the cost would run between $3000 – 6,000. Money is not important to me esp. when it comes to my *babies*….I can’t put a price on saving the life of a sentient being. As I said before I was very ill that day, and I felt faint every time I sat up, or stood up, so I couldn’t go in, and therefore gave them 2 Visa cards info. The vet kept expressing that surgery was needed ASAP, but even at that time they were so disorganized, I wanted to change vets. Unfortunately, the other one, was closed during the weekend. They charged both cards – which is so odd, because they could have done it all on one. I gave them info for two cards because my bank will often not give authorization if an charge is over a certain amount and charged by a company whom I’ve never done a transaction with before. They had their authorizations, and still, they did nothing. Not even a pre-op blood test. I don’t know that they would have even done one had I not asked what the results were when I visited George on Sunday. In my opinion, the vet dropped the ball in her care/lack of care of my beloved Georgie.
When she called me to tell me Georgie had died, that is when I fully realized how negligent their treatment of him was. (I am not one who frivously blames others when something tragic happens)…In this case, I was appalled, and sickened by what had transpired. Still at the time, I was in shock and grief-stricken…so I hadn’t had the time to absorb everything that had happened. Now, it has been 5 days, and they have yet to give me his ashes, let alone return my calls. But they have done a most efficient job at finding every thing they can add onto Georgie’s hospital bill. The night he passed, the vet had told me clearly, that since the “treatment that Georgie had received up until his tragic death, was already covered, by the initial 2 payments, the amount paid for his surgery to be done, would be refunded, minus the cremation and necropsy. (which would be $180 for a private cremation, and 250.00 for the necropsy). She then said that the supervisor would call in the morning to speak with me about refunding the amounts charged to the 2 accounts. Next day….no call….Following day…no call..to this day, the person who knows about the charges and the refunds that should be done, has not called.
I called after the 2nd day of not hearing a peep from them. Mostly because I didn’t want them to mess up Georgie’s cremation. They also do a “group cremation” where they cremate a group of pets together and spread their ashes together in the ocean. I suppose ppl choose that one often because it’s $25 as opposed to the $180 for the private one. I chose the private one because I have kept my pets’ ashes and will have them scattered with me when it’s my time. And I’m so frustrated with them, If they messed up his cremation, I think I would have a nervous breakdown. (It’s been hard these past few years…mostly due to my chaotic life. I’m an uncomplicated person caught in a complicated life…) Anyway, I’ve since called them 4 times, and have been told that the managing supervisor would return my call the very next day, and I’ve yet to receive ONE call from her. They have made no attempt to refund the money they charged and received for Georgie’s surgery. The one he never lived long enough to have.
It’s times like this, where my belief in humanity is hard to hold. Greed is an ugly thing. I made a promise to myself. Should I ever have the slightest change in my health, where it would allow me to at the very least *try* to study veterinary medicine, I will. And I would help and care for any animal that needs care. I wouldn’t turn away any animal and the family who loves him/her, over money. If I didn’t have the money to pay for Georgie’s surgery, they would have done NOTHING. He would have died as he did, waiting, even though I was able to pay for his surgery. I do not wish that torment and emotional torture on anyone. I have a message for veterinarians out there who are more in love with money than animals : Do the world a favor please find a different vocation where loving and being empathic of animals is not part of your career. Be a lawyer, astronaut, businessman/woman, loan shark, etc….I believe a psychological test should be given before allowing anyone into vet school, and certainly, a Love and Respect for animals should be a Requirement.
My beautiful, sweet companion of 7 years, was killed by an indifferent vet who works for a money hungry animal hospital–perhaps unintentionally, but surely with neglect. My heart is shattered, my mind and soul cannot find peace, and even more heartbreaking is seeing my kitty, *Callie* pine, and cry for him. (if anyone hears the way she meows, since Georgie has passed, I’m sure they would agree she sounds like she’s wailing/bawling/crying…
I miss you so, my darling Georgie…I’ll be seeing you soon enough, my baby-bear…♥
♥ Je T’adore…mon petit pois ♥