I'm not really sure why I'm doing this now, might be the copious amount of medication in my system, but I feel like if I don't do it now, I might never do it. I may never read this again, not even proofread, so a lot of this won't make sense...I'm doing this for me (I think).
My little old man Zachary died this morning at about 7:30 am. Why is still a bit of a mystery.
He was fine yesterday morning, even almost took one of my fingers off trying to get at his morning Pupperoni. Where Zander was always sick and his passing was expected, Zach has always been the picture of health (well, except for those three bladder surgeries to remove stones, but he always took them in stride). He was almost 15 yet as happy and playful as a pup (well, that was a lie, he was more of a grumpy cat, independent, sleepy head, but you say tomato...).
Due to work issues getting on my last nerve, I decided to take yesterday afternoon off. Even before I made it home, I got called out to the other hospital for a while, so my afternoon off was more like leaving work a couple of hours early, typical.
When I finally did get home, we went about our same routine...me unlocking the door, Zach barking at me while I turn the keys in each of the numerous locks, door opening, me saying "hey monsters, how was your day?", the 'jump, chase, bark at me by both kids while I walk into the kitchen' routine, the afternoon Pupperoni feeding, and then them usually snacking down while I open the refrigerator and marvel at the lack of food for myself and while I grab their can of food to start their dinner.
Instead, on my way to the fridge, I hear a loud thump. Zach had bad arthritis, he falls sometimes, so I wasn't panicking yet. When I look over, he's laying on his side, all four legs sticking straight out and stiff as a board, he's peeing mid air and he's starting to scream (a dog scream is one of the most terrifying and horrible noises you will ever hear and I've heard more than my fair share). I immediately reach for the phone and before the vet's office can answer, it's all over with and he's getting up. I, however, am in major panic mode, crying my way through the story to the girl, trying to make sense out of what just happened. She was very soothing, told me he probably had a seizure, but bring him in right away.
I am a panic mom...they get a papercut and I'm calling the vet crying (well, they don't get papercuts per se, but you get my meaning). I grabbed the closest towel, wrapped him up, and away we went. My freaking out had him shaking like a leaf, but he seemed OK by then (although still whining a bit).
I had to call my sister on the way there just so I could get across town without having a major wreck. I wasn't ready for this. He's been extremely healthy all his almost 15 years, I wasn't ready to deal with this on a simple Friday afternoon...one I took off early just to spend more time at home with my kids and now I'm rushing one to the vet for who knows what. God hates me. Always has. Always will. And right now, I pretty much hate him too.
Once we got there and I was able to speak enough to tell the new girls at the counter who I was, they took him from me immediately to start testing and I started popping Xanax like Pez. I eventually got called back to a room to wait, but the details are fuzzy. At some point, my mother showed up, but I'm still not sure how she knew I was there.
After an hour of blood work, examination, and x-rays, Zach was back to his normal self, I was swimming in Xanax-land, and I thought we were OK. The vet determined he didn't have a seizure, but rather a small heart attack. I've known for a while he has a heart murmur (what killed Zander), but his last bi-annual was at the end of February and we were still a grade 2, so no worries (or so I was told).
Now, all of a sudden, he's jumped to a grade 5 and his heart was taking up most of his chest cavity. I think I was more mad at what he was saying that the actual fact of the matter that my baby was sick. I think I mentioned he was fine at the end of Feb and how does one jump three grade sizes in less than 2 months, but I'm not sure half of what I was saying, to be honest, so don't get me to lying about what he was saying (not my favorite of the group's vets). Despite my anger/shock/general overall fearfulness, the vet was still very positive and said it might not ever happen again, but loaded us up on drugs anyway. I, once again, walked out of the vet's office with another $300+ plus bill but a happy pup, so I was ok (it's always $300, no matter which dog I take in or for what, I decided long ago it is a conspiracy, I was just glad I had enough space on my CareCredit card to pay for it, otherwise I would have been SOL).
In the middle of the whole ordeal, work had the audacity to call me for a stupid problem! They knew where I was and what was happening, but they continued to push anyway. I may never forgive them for that.
Panic mom-mode continued on once we got home and he was watched constantly. They get prescription food for stones (a Shih-Tzu side effect), but I spurged and ordered pizza and chicken bites for us all. We all ate like kings, recently re-started diet be damned...we had just been through an ordeal and we ALL deserved it, him especially, but me and Bam too! Things settled down and I started my usual nightly routine of stitching and TV watching and he started his of sleeping.
Around 1 am, the shit hit the fan. Another episode, this one really looked like a seizure. He calmed down for a while and then had another one, and another one periodically as the night wore on. None of us slept, we just all huddled together on the couch. I kept trying to heed the vet's advice...my level of calmness will determine his, don't let him see me freak. I failed because I was freaking left and right.
At 4 am, episode #4 started very fast and ended with labored breathing that continued on for the coming hours, worsening as time passed. By this time, every time he tried to stand up and walk, he would just fall over. I already started making preparations to march him right back up to the vet's office when they opened at 8 and a certain vet was going to lose the left side of his ass cheek if I saw him.
At 7, my mother texted asking how he was. Any other 7 a.m. day and she would have gotten her ass chewed for texting me so early...not this time because, by then, I was beginning to realize that if I took him to the vet's office at 8, they were going to make me kill him like they did Zander (aka "put him to sleep"...it's not "putting to sleep", Zander didn't go peacefully or gracefully, he whined and moaned while I was forced to watch. A murderer on death row is one thing, they deserve to suffer as much as possible, not my sweet babies who have done nothing wrong. I wasn't sure if I could do that again ever, I'm still not).
Mother insisted on coming up here and I no more sooner hung up with her than episode #5 happened. His breathing was still bad, but got better and he eventually even got off the couch by himself. I was thinking he was getting better as I heard my mother's vehicle turn into the drive. He suddenly fell over again, whined that horrible noise he had been making most of the night and started sporadically gasping for air. By the time she knocked on the door, he gasped his last breath and my precious child was gone. Just like that. Gone.
I held him for the longest time while he still laid on the floor. I was scared to move him. At one point, my mother tried to take him away from me and almost drew back a bloody stump. I did eventually sit myself up so I could hold him properly. Bam said his goodbyes (I know that was what he was doing despite my mother's baby talking that he didn't understand "did he"). I couldn't stand his head flopping around like it was. His eyes were still opened (which I was OK with because Zander did the same), but once I picked him up, his other eye was drooping badly and his tongue was hanging out weirdly. I tried to close his eyes, to no avail, but I did manage to get his tongue back in, but I was starting to form a not-so-pleasant last picture, so I finally handed him over because I couldn't take it anymore. My biggest regret with Zander was that they took him away from me before I was ready. I can honestly say I was ready with Zach. I needed to "know" he was gone and I knew, rather graphically and vividly, I knew.
Calls were made, arrangements taken care of and, at some point, he was taken away to the vet for cremation. I'm not sure what all happened. I sent out out a general text to those closer co-workers I felt should know and immediately turned off the ringer on my phone. I didn't want to hear it. It's still off now because I still don't. I had to talk to Tony at one point because we were supposed to go see Avengers today. Dude needs a cell phone so I can text him, that was too hard of a call, I could barely speak anyway, but my T-Boo knew and understood. It's why I love him so much and why he'll always be my best friend...only two people "know" me really, T-Boo and my sister Am. I've been too scared to call her. She had conversations with mother, so she knows. I'm not sure I could say the story out loud anyway and I don't want to.
The last picture of my baby was just taken a few days ago, he was the photobomb in my stitch progress:
They got haircuts a couple of weeks ago and we marveled at his graying eyes:
A far cry from his very first picture ever where he pretty much lived in "smoky eyeshadow land":
Or my all-time favorite pup pic of him and Zander in the good 'ole days:
He wasn't much of a traveller (unlike Zander), but he created a stir with his "choice" of seat (back before the days of doggie seatbelts):
passing people always noticed THIS bobble head in the back window (he wouldn't stay anywhere else):
Whereas Zander was more of a console kind of guy:
Bet you guys thought that was Bam, didn't you? Now we do seatbelts, but even on Bam's arrival into our family, Zach was NOT impressed (in case you can't tell by his look):
He and Bam were just starting to connect as evidenced by this pic, only a couple of weeks ago:
and I so hoped they would end up as close as Zach was to Zander:
I keep thinking I hear Zach...that heavy sigh of his that he sounds off numerous times a day "just because", his jumping into my chair and settling in sound, his continuous circling on the couch pillows to find "just the right spot", his eyes constantly fixed on me, boring a hole in my head, even his faint snoring (Bam could take lessons), but I guess I'm not hearing anything but memories. Pictures aren't painful yet because this whole day just isn't real yet. It's probably going to get really real really quick (as soon as these meds wear off...or when I stop taking them, whichever comes first). Even now, I have to move back to the chair to plug my laptop in (I may not have enough battery life left to post this), but I keep thinking I'll have to wake him up. He's not there.
I just hope Bam does ok without him. It's just me and the Bam-meister now. I intend on making every moment count with him. Some of you guys have been along with me since I adopted Bam and I hope you'll stick around for our future adventures, although right now I can't stop holding him long enough to even adventure to the bathroom...he's sitting in the crook of my arm as I type this. Bam was three already when he came into our family, so I've already lost three years with him. I'm scared about our future.
Guess I'll need to change my header at some point too...just not now. It's incredibly hard for me to look at pictures of Zander now, six years later (and, come to think of it, Zan died May 5th, 2009, so their deaths are now as close as they were...May is now my worse month ever).
I'm probably going to regret this post, so I think I won't read it again. I've already scheduled the A to Z Reflections Post, so forgive whatever cheerfulness it holds. I wrote it Friday morning when all was good with my little World. Right now I'm thinking it will never be good again, but it will...someday.
To my Zachary Pooh-Bear, I will love you always...give Zander a huge wet kiss for me and tell them I miss him somethin awful (but, you can do your usual jealous jab and tell him I loved you more, I know you too well my baby boy). My heart is broken. I may not have loved him as hard as I did Zander, but I loved him longer and less obsessively, which made for a much better love in the end, so Zach, no need to poke at your brother, I loved you better. Bam is so much like Zander, it's hard to control that obsessive love, but I'm trying to be an even better mom yet again.
Zachariah Binx Blair
10-18-2000 to 05-02-2015