February is the heart month. Most people associate the image of the heart with love. 

Is it a coincidence that Valentin’s day is in February? 

You probably heard the expression “follow your heart”. 

It seems that heart is the engine of life and purpose. Love gives us purpose and joy. 

The most intense feelings of love and attachment tend to be for fellow humans and fur babies/pets. 

Spending time with your pet can be relaxing, encouraging the release of endorphins, which are brain chemicals that help us de-stress and feel good. And petting a beloved animal can even help lower your blood pressure. What an unexpensive treatment!

Pets turn into family and as a dear friend said “the level of love they offer cannot be matched by any human”. Yes indeed, I cannot agree more with this statement. 

While for some a cat is just another cat or a dog is just another dog, for the one who cares for them, that cat or dog is so much more. Dogs, cats, birds, cows, horses, sheep or any other animals are precious creatures. 

I recently lost my cat due to the fact that I could not find a veterinarian to clean a growth that got infected. In my line of work, I had seen many people let down by the health care system, but I honestly never expected to see this when comes to these innocent creatures. 

What did I learn from this experience? 

  1. Don’t rely on health care system to go the extra mile in order to find the right cure or treatment for you. Very few health care professionals will take the initiative to not follow the protocol and cater to the specifics of the illness, and finding them is like playing the lottery. Instead take care of your health and guard it like you would guard the most valuable treasure in the world because it is.
  2. Ignore your health and it will go away. At first sign of disease or any discomfort, drop everything and take action to address it. The growth my cat had started as, what we thought it was a little scratch, but this little thing start growing, and the process was too fast. 
  3. Hope vs reality- after checking with multiple vet hospitals and being turned down on treatment or surgery, we learned about a veterinarian that is taking cases as the one our cat had. We took him in for a consultation and within couple days from it, we received the cost estimate. Surgery got scheduled. Hope was up! The reality hits later.
  4. Human error can be pricey- we took Pisi in for the surgery, but got a call from a different doctor telling us that he can’t remove the whole growth. This doctor was not the doctor that consulted the cat. How is this possible that in today’s world, at least two people are not checking who the patient is and what doctor this patient is assigned to? Getting familiar with the case before a surgery?! Would you be feeling safe if talked to one surgeon about your problem, but on the day of the surgery being operated by someone who knows nothing about your case and it tells you that he can’t really do much for you? 
  5. Promises and disappointment- rescheduled with the right doctor – the procedure was delayed couple weeks. Time is critical- the non-cancerous tumor grew and by the time we got to the right doctor, it was too late to operate due to size. Trips to vet were very stressful for Pisi, he did not like car trips or cages. The most calm and respectful cat we knew would turn into most stressed creature when put in a cage. During the last trip to vet, he scratched the growth, he was bleeding pretty bad. We kindly asked the doctor to at least clean the wound to avoid infection since she refused to proceed with surgery due to size. The answer was a dry no, but offered an antibiotic. Does it sound familiar? Between getting the hands dirty or throwing approved narcotics- option 2 is less work and same, if not more money. The scratch was deep.
  6. Time – most precious resource available.  The beginning of the end started with that dry no. That scratch did get infected as I suspected. Another search started to find someone to drain the pus and clean it. Called every vet hospital and vet office I found online and they all offered to look at it, but not to clean. 
  7. Running out of options – a last resource- Holistic Management. Unfortunately, not only for pets, but humans too, when running out of options, they’ll take anything. It seems that in all cases, a holistic approach helps. How much? It depends on how soon you start. In this particular case it made a difference and kept him free of pain and discomfort. With no one willing to help, I took matter in my own hands- used a holistic approach with food and supplements that kept him energetic and playful till the day he left this world. I cleaned the wound the best I knew, but because of its depth, and not having the right education, tools and resources, it was hard to get to the root of it. The infection got worse and started to smell bad. My fur baby was still active, no signs of discomfort, was playing as usual, eating as usual, sleeping as usual, drinking water as usual, responding to stimulus as usual. The only unusual was the smell of the infection. 
  8. Last try- as it was rotting, I reached out to vets, desperate, again, to find a doctor to drain the pus and save this fur baby. The race of calls started again, but the answers didn’t change. In a whole county not one doctor was willing to extend the life of this precious soul. Hope dies last. Picked the hospital with best yelp reviews, took him in with high hopes that maybe I’ll run into someone who would go one extra step, but no, not even a proper investigation. Point blank threw surgery or death as solutions. That was the time when I lost hope and trust in what’s called health care system. A system yes, but not to heal, but to make money. I said yes to surgery knowing he will soon come back telling me it’s impossible. It took less than 10 minutes until this happened. I start asking questions about why can’t he clean it?! The vet doctor didn’t even listen, talked over me and repeated like a broken record- euthanizing is best solution. Why? Because there is no protocol for it.
  9. Last breath – I knew my cat will eventually get worse under the circumstances. It was out of my control and the ones that could do something, refused to do it as there was no protocol for it, so why even try? We were reunited with the one that offered comfort and love for the last 7 years. He was happy to see us, alert to surroundings and curious to get familiar to this new room. We held him and told him that it’s our goodbye. His face expression was somehow confused. He trusted us, he was acting normal, he was a good cat, intelligent, curious, and very accommodating of our schedule and now we are telling him that these are his last moments? He was calm as we held him for the last time. 
  10. The power of chemistry – the doctor walked in the room with 3 syringes. He started to administer the clear liquid and within less than a minute, the innocent creature that brought so much joy was gone! Less than a minute! The hardest thing I ever witnessed. 

What did I learn from this experience? 

  1. Time and timing are two very precious concepts. 
  2. If your body shows any signs of discomfort, take care of it right away. Working with a holistic professional and a health care professional might be your best bet. 
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of chemistry. Food is medicine, but you have to learn how to properly use it. Not all healthy foods are healthy for everyone. 

Heart requires special care! 

It impacts and it’s impacted by everything around us! It’s the magic “box” that keeps us alive, holds our pain, love, joy, dreams, memories and yet in most cases, it’s needs are ignored, but the expectations are high. I often hear people stating that they’ve been doing great health wise, just blood pressure that’s been well controlled with meds. To me that’s like saying- the dog is really happy, he is in a great place, chained behind the house and fed an old dry piece of moldy bread once a day! While meds are helping, there is so much more that can be done to keep the heart happy and healthy.

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart” (Hellen Keller).

Enjoy every heart beat!

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