I promised myself I wasn't going to daylog this Iron Noder, but Iron Noder is suddenly less important.
I was on a four-day trip to Dad's house in Vermont. I had a laundry list of things I needed to get done up there, some quite involved, many of which I'd been putting off for up to six months, and I hadn't seen him in a while. So I went up this past weekend. I got nearly everything on my list done, save one not really important thing which can wait, so I was in a good mood. On the way home, I stopped to see my friend who is also my ortho surgeon because my right knee has been super painful for about six weeks, forcing me to hobble everywhere. I can't use a cane because the inflammation markers are also causing a flareup of rotator cuff tendinitis - in my right shoulder. So I can't really support myself anyway. So I stopped off, and he set me up with a steroid shot into the knee joint which should calm things down for a few months (we've done this before).
On the way home in Darth, I was wearing a Suunto cardio watch I'd found in my room in Vermont, for no good reason other than that I meant to see if any kids I knew wanted it. I was checking my pulse during the five hour drive. Generally, I was at around 75 BPM pulse, which considering I was driving at around 75-80mph was fine.
However, on the Merritt Parkway, which is a two-lane, no shoulder, curvy, jersey barrier on both sides road, I was driving around 85-95mph, because traffic was either going 55 or 95. Everyone drives the Merritt like a racing driver, because you have to to survive. The slow lane means dealing with cars entering from crazy short on ramps at slow speeds. And of course there are always morons wanting to go 55 in the left lane. So it's very much, at night, like a really high resolution driving video game - narrow, twisty, not always enough room for two cars comfortably, occasional idiots.
Tonight, I was averaging around 89mph on it. Oh, everyone does this because the lack of shoulders, no on ramps and traffic mean that the odds of getting caught by a cop are effectively zero. There's a bit of a truce on the Merritt - if we don't drive *incompetently*, they don't fuck with us.
So I'm too old and fat and boring to ever have Top Gun fantasies. As a pilot, also, I find I aspire to safe flying way more than 'cool' flying. I'm not super good at driving or flying, although I enjoy them. But I was amused to note that during the 45 minutes I spent on the Merritt at high speed (prior to traffic and NY border), my pulse averaged 56bpm. Apparently, I get quite into the zone.
Anyway, that's not why daylogs aren't important.
I got home in good time and even found parking on the proper side of the street. I hoisted all my bags and various parcels and walked up the hill home.
My (larger) cat was lying on the floor in the foyer, mostly unresponsive, having soiled himself.
I panicked for 15 seconds, then I got on the internet and looked for a 24 hour vet near me. There wasn't one, so I bundled him into a carrier (he meowed weakly, fairly piteously) and called a car service. Then I had him drive me downtown to the New York Animal Medical Center. I made it to the second floor, noting that he was now unresponsive, and said to the lady at the desk "Help, my cat is unresponsive." She punched a button on her phone and two orderlies slammed through a door and sprinted over like they were going to tackle me. One of them, a lady, said "Watch your fingers, sir" as she and her partner nabbed the cat carrier, and they vanished through the double doors again.
A doctor came to debrief me and get permission for them to stabilize my cat (that's $400-600, so they ask). I said of course, but not to use heroic measures. (Don't laugh, this is the hospital in Manhattan for rich people with pet emergencies, they lack *nothing* that a people ER has, and I'm not kidding).
I was steeling myself for bad news. It wasn't good. Apparently he was deep in shock and probably had been for 12 hours or so (my brother had fed him late the night before and said he looked a bit peaked but came over and purred and nuzzled hands). His blood was acidic as hell, his glucose was around 24 (it should be over 80). Blood work all fucked up. They were giving him fluids and glucose. We discussed it, and she gently told me that they'd be happy to start doing tests to see what was really going on, but she could feel a lump when doing deep palpation of the abdomen, and if she had to guess, it was an abdominal cancer blocking his gut. He wasn't diabetic (glucose low, not high). His kidneys didn't seem to be failing (no blood in his urine). I asked her what she would do if this was her cat, and she said she couldn't make the choice for me, but that 'restoring a normal quality of life would be difficult, assuming the base problem ended up being treatable' and that it would take several thousand dollars to even see if that was possible. After a moment's pause, she said "Seventeen is good innings."
I agreed, and asked if in her opinion he would suffer less if we euthanized him. She said yes. I signed the form. They brought him in to me wrapped in a towel. He was recovered just enough to track me with his eyes but he couldn't move. I hugged him, kissed his head and nose, and scritched his ears and chin.
He purred, twice, clearly with great effort, and that almost broke me.
She flushed his IV catheter, then gave him an anaesthetic. He went to sleep almost at once, and he cheek-rubbed my hand once as he went under. When he was sleeping, she gave him the dose, and his heart stopped.
I hugged him, smoothed his fur, and cried for a time. Then I covered him and left to go comfort his sister.
Seventeen years, and he was only suffering for the last 12 hours or so. That's good, good innings for a cat.
Recesqat i pacem, Emo. I love you. I'll see you soon. I'm proud to have been owned by you. Wait for us by the bridge if you can.