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RIP Merlin

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  • Linda Lee
    I haven t posted in a while, but I wanted to share what happened with Merlin, who was diagnosed with severe HCM with atrial fibrillation almost a year and a
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 9, 2010
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      I haven't posted in a while, but I wanted to share what happened with
      Merlin, who was diagnosed with severe HCM with atrial fibrillation almost a
      year and a half ago (he also had early CRF and diet-controlled diabetes).
      About a year ago his condition had progressed to congestive heart failure,
      and since then he had been on a combination of Plavix, lasix (2x/day),
      vetmedin (2x/day), enalapril, and atenolol, plus Pepcid-AC a couple hours
      before evening meds.



      We moved two weeks ago (a local move, back to a house I used to live in),
      which I know was stressful on the cats, though Merlin seemed to be handling
      things much better than my younger cat. On the advice of folks from this
      list (and my vet), I had been giving both cats four drops of Rescue Remedy
      2x/day, along with other meds, to help with the anxiety. The Rescue Remedy
      seemed to work. Overall, Merlin seemed unbothered by the weeks of packing
      the boxes, and on moving day he was eager to move from the basement and
      explore the house. (In contrast, my other cat hid in his carrier the whole
      time, and then hid in the basement for several days after that.) He seemed
      content to sit in his favorite chair and mark everything as we arranged
      furniture and unpacked.



      Yesterday I took him in to see the cardiologist because it had been apparent
      to me for several days that the lasix was no longer adequately controlling
      Merlin's CHF. (My Internet access just got hooked up, otherwise I would have
      been looking for advice about this late last week.) He had the "puffed out"
      look all the time that he previously had only when he was due for meds, and
      I figured that his meds might need to be adjusted. Additionally, I was
      noticing more episodes of slightly labored breathing (not the open-mouthed
      breathing I knew indicated a life-threatening crisis), and in recent days he
      was reluctant to go upstairs or to move very much. Surprisingly, at rest his
      respiration remained under 30 breaths/min, so I thought things were
      generally still okay.



      The cardiologist, though, had really bad news. Merlin had progressed to
      end-stage heart failure. In addition to the large amount of fluid around his
      lungs, he also had a large amount of fluid in his abdomen (hence the
      round-the-clock "puffed" look). None of this came particularly as a surprise
      me. However, he also had a large clot in one of his atrial chambers; I can't
      remember which one, but the one that would result in the clot going to his
      lungs (a "fatal event," according to the vet).



      After discussing the options with the vet, I decided that the best course of
      action was to put him to sleep. It was not an easy decision to come to, but
      I believe it was the best one for him (though a heart-wrenching one for me).
      Knowing the draining the fluid from around the lungs and from the abdomen
      would be only a short-term solution (esp. considering the cardiologist did
      not want to increase his lasix any more because of Merlin's elevated kidney
      levels), and considering the risks of the procedure, I did not want to put
      him through that, especially given the size of the clot that the
      cardiologist saw. (Or more specifically, I did not want to begin a treatment
      program that would require more frequent, stress-inducing trips to the vet.)
      Having noticed that his quality of life had declined in recent days, and
      knowing that the cardiologist did not want to increase the lasix, saying
      good-bye now seemed the kindest and best of my unappealing options.



      Fortunately, a couple of good friends were available to go to the vet's
      office with me that afternoon, and we were able to spend lots of time giving
      him love, and petting him, and talking to him, and saying good-bye. The vet
      was gentle and supportive and no one there rushed us or pressured us in any
      way. And I was able to hold him and look into his eyes and tell him that I
      loved him as the vet helped him pass on. There were lots of tears and hugs,
      and I'm sure the tears will continue for some time to come. Merlin had been
      with me for nearly 15 years, most of my adult life.



      I had always imagined it would end in some big crisis -- a thrown clot, etc.
      -- at the emergency vet hospital in the middle of the night without friends
      to help me. Instead of that nightmarish scenario, this was peaceful and
      supportive and filled with love and choice. It was a gift, certainly for me,
      and I hope for him.



      And now I have a confused and distressed and cranky companion cat who is in
      a still-unfamiliar house and who doesn't know where his friend has gone. I'd
      appreciate any suggestions anyone might have for how to help him. I'm
      continuing to give him Rescue Remedy, but is there anything else I can do?



      Also, I had just refilled Merlin's prescription for Plavix on Monday, so I
      have 14.5 pills (nearly two months of meds) that might be of use for
      someone; contact me off-list - linda.lee@....



      Best,

      Linda and Nero















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Joe
      Linda I am very sorry about your loss. It was a very touching story --  at least you were able to be with him before he left. Please take comfort in knowing
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 9, 2010
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        Linda
        I am very sorry about your loss. It was a very touching story --  at least you were able to be with him before he left. Please take comfort in knowing he was fortunate to have you as a friend and companion.  I know it is tough but just take a day at a time. Losing a special friend like Merlin is hard, but he would want you to go on. Our cats who have left us all are still here in spirit, and we will be with them again one day.
        All the best
        Joe, with Beanie, Chelsea and April (RIP)




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • janie
        I am so sorry. Things moved a little too fast for your cat. I always make sure thecats at home see the cat who died when they die. To say goodbye. I learned
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 10, 2010
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          I am so sorry. Things moved a little too fast for your cat. I always
          make sure thecats at home see the cat who died when they die. To say
          goodbye. I learned this yeRs ago when I had one go like yours
          suddenly. I didn't bring him home the rest just kept looking for him
          for year just love him is all u can do xtra attention Janie

          Sent from my iPhone
        • Patricia Crawford
          Hi Linda, I just want to say how sorry I am for the loss of your beloved Merlin. I know what an agonizing process it is to let them go, even though a decision
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 10, 2010
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            Hi Linda, I just want to say how sorry I am for the loss of your beloved Merlin. I know what an agonizing process it is to let them go, even though a decision like this is made with all the best medical information at hand and based in one's own love and and compassion.

            When Isis had to be euthanized during exploratory surgery after a routine ultrasound (when they found a tumor on her pancreas), Bastet was inconsolable. The vets told me grief can last as long as six months and in Bastet's case it did. One vet recommended Chlomicalm (sp?) for the crying and calling, but I didn't end up using it (Rescue Remedy didn't help). The really important thing is to make lots of extra time to be with Nero and ensure he is eating enough. Some grieving cats will stop eating -- Bastet stopped eating and I had to resort to cypro and syringe feeding to her to keep her going. The cypro, however, made the howling worse -- I only used a tiny bit in the morning before leaving for work, and supplemented with syringe fed through the evening.

            Much much sympathy and best healing thoughts to you and Nero.
            Pat & Bastet

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Linda Lee <linda.lee@...>
            Date: Friday, April 9, 2010 5:24 pm
            Subject: [FH] RIP Merlin
            To: feline-heart@yahoogroups.com

            > I haven't posted in a while, but I wanted to share what happened with
            > Merlin, who was diagnosed with severe HCM with atrial
            > fibrillation almost a
            > year and a half ago (he also had early CRF and diet-controlled
            > diabetes).About a year ago his condition had progressed to
            > congestive heart failure,
            > and since then he had been on a combination of Plavix, lasix (2x/day),
            > vetmedin (2x/day), enalapril, and atenolol, plus Pepcid-AC a
            > couple hours
            > before evening meds.
            >
            >
            >
            > We moved two weeks ago (a local move, back to a house I used to
            > live in),
            > which I know was stressful on the cats, though Merlin seemed to
            > be handling
            > things much better than my younger cat. On the advice of folks
            > from this
            > list (and my vet), I had been giving both cats four drops of
            > Rescue Remedy
            > 2x/day, along with other meds, to help with the anxiety. The
            > Rescue Remedy
            > seemed to work. Overall, Merlin seemed unbothered by the weeks
            > of packing
            > the boxes, and on moving day he was eager to move from the
            > basement and
            > explore the house. (In contrast, my other cat hid in his carrier
            > the whole
            > time, and then hid in the basement for several days after that.)
            > He seemed
            > content to sit in his favorite chair and mark everything as we
            > arrangedfurniture and unpacked.
            >
            >
            >
            > Yesterday I took him in to see the cardiologist because it had
            > been apparent
            > to me for several days that the lasix was no longer adequately
            > controllingMerlin's CHF. (My Internet access just got hooked up,
            > otherwise I would have
            > been looking for advice about this late last week.) He had the
            > "puffed out"
            > look all the time that he previously had only when he was due
            > for meds, and
            > I figured that his meds might need to be adjusted. Additionally,
            > I was
            > noticing more episodes of slightly labored breathing (not the
            > open-mouthed
            > breathing I knew indicated a life-threatening crisis), and in
            > recent days he
            > was reluctant to go upstairs or to move very much. Surprisingly,
            > at rest his
            > respiration remained under 30 breaths/min, so I thought things were
            > generally still okay.
            >
            >
            >
            > The cardiologist, though, had really bad news. Merlin had
            > progressed to
            > end-stage heart failure. In addition to the large amount of
            > fluid around his
            > lungs, he also had a large amount of fluid in his abdomen (hence the
            > round-the-clock "puffed" look). None of this came particularly
            > as a surprise
            > me. However, he also had a large clot in one of his atrial
            > chambers; I can't
            > remember which one, but the one that would result in the clot
            > going to his
            > lungs (a "fatal event," according to the vet).
            >
            >
            >
            > After discussing the options with the vet, I decided that the
            > best course of
            > action was to put him to sleep. It was not an easy decision to
            > come to, but
            > I believe it was the best one for him (though a heart-wrenching
            > one for me).
            > Knowing the draining the fluid from around the lungs and from
            > the abdomen
            > would be only a short-term solution (esp. considering the
            > cardiologist did
            > not want to increase his lasix any more because of Merlin's
            > elevated kidney
            > levels), and considering the risks of the procedure, I did not
            > want to put
            > him through that, especially given the size of the clot that the
            > cardiologist saw. (Or more specifically, I did not want to begin
            > a treatment
            > program that would require more frequent, stress-inducing trips
            > to the vet.)
            > Having noticed that his quality of life had declined in recent
            > days, and
            > knowing that the cardiologist did not want to increase the
            > lasix, saying
            > good-bye now seemed the kindest and best of my unappealing
            > options.
            >
            >
            >
            > Fortunately, a couple of good friends were available to go to
            > the vet's
            > office with me that afternoon, and we were able to spend lots of
            > time giving
            > him love, and petting him, and talking to him, and saying good-
            > bye. The vet
            > was gentle and supportive and no one there rushed us or
            > pressured us in any
            > way. And I was able to hold him and look into his eyes and tell
            > him that I
            > loved him as the vet helped him pass on. There were lots of
            > tears and hugs,
            > and I'm sure the tears will continue for some time to come.
            > Merlin had been
            > with me for nearly 15 years, most of my adult life.
            >
            >
            >
            > I had always imagined it would end in some big crisis -- a
            > thrown clot, etc.
            > -- at the emergency vet hospital in the middle of the
            > night without friends
            > to help me. Instead of that nightmarish scenario, this was
            > peaceful and
            > supportive and filled with love and choice. It was a gift,
            > certainly for me,
            > and I hope for him.
            >
            >
            >
            > And now I have a confused and distressed and cranky companion
            > cat who is in
            > a still-unfamiliar house and who doesn't know where his friend
            > has gone. I'd
            > appreciate any suggestions anyone might have for how to help
            > him. I'm
            > continuing to give him Rescue Remedy, but is there anything else
            > I can do?
            >
            >
            >
            > Also, I had just refilled Merlin's prescription for Plavix on
            > Monday, so I
            > have 14.5 pills (nearly two months of meds) that might be of use for
            > someone; contact me off-list - linda.lee@....
            >
            >
            >
            > Best,
            >
            > Linda and Nero
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • cathy coleman
                 What a lovely story Linda. I woudl have written sooner but  I am just catching up on email as I ve been having a medical crisis of my own. My dad was
            Message 5 of 5 , Apr 14, 2010
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                   What a lovely story Linda. I woudl have written sooner but  I am just catching up on email as I've been having a medical crisis of my own. My dad was just diagnosed w/ lung cancer, and the family is reeling. Luckily, at least  Mr Winston *knocks on wood* is doing ok.
               
                    I was so sorry to hear of your loss of Merlin (love that name). He sounds like he was a wonderful companion and I know you'll miss him so much. It sounds like you did just the right thing based on what you said. The clot was worrisome and as you said, you and he had a peaceful experience  in the end as opposed to an emergency and you got to say goodbye with friends at your side.
               
                  It's good you were so on top of things and so observant. I worry sometimes that I may miss something w/ my Winston, esp with all that is going on now with my father.  I count breaths from time to time. He's on almost the same drugs as Merlin - plavix, lasix, and enalapril and so far the HCM is controlled well. Can you say more about what a "puffed out" look is. I want to make sure so I can know when I see it.
               
              Thanks and please take care of yourself., I know this is a tough time. I hope your memories will comfort you,
               Cathy & Winston


              At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities. ~Jean Houston

              --- On Fri, 4/9/10, Linda Lee <linda.lee@...> wrote:


              From: Linda Lee <linda.lee@...>
              Subject: [FH] RIP Merlin
              To: feline-heart@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Friday, April 9, 2010, 8:24 PM


               



              I haven't posted in a while, but I wanted to share what happened with
              Merlin, who was diagnosed with severe HCM with atrial fibrillation almost a
              year and a half ago (he also had early CRF and diet-controlled diabetes).
              About a year ago his condition had progressed to congestive heart failure,
              and since then he had been on a combination of Plavix, lasix (2x/day),
              vetmedin (2x/day), enalapril, and atenolol, plus Pepcid-AC a couple hours
              before evening meds.

              We moved two weeks ago (a local move, back to a house I used to live in),
              which I know was stressful on the cats, though Merlin seemed to be handling
              things much better than my younger cat. On the advice of folks from this
              list (and my vet), I had been giving both cats four drops of Rescue Remedy
              2x/day, along with other meds, to help with the anxiety. The Rescue Remedy
              seemed to work. Overall, Merlin seemed unbothered by the weeks of packing
              the boxes, and on moving day he was eager to move from the basement and
              explore the house. (In contrast, my other cat hid in his carrier the whole
              time, and then hid in the basement for several days after that.) He seemed
              content to sit in his favorite chair and mark everything as we arranged
              furniture and unpacked.

              Yesterday I took him in to see the cardiologist because it had been apparent
              to me for several days that the lasix was no longer adequately controlling
              Merlin's CHF. (My Internet access just got hooked up, otherwise I would have
              been looking for advice about this late last week.) He had the "puffed out"
              look all the time that he previously had only when he was due for meds, and
              I figured that his meds might need to be adjusted. Additionally, I was
              noticing more episodes of slightly labored breathing (not the open-mouthed
              breathing I knew indicated a life-threatening crisis), and in recent days he
              was reluctant to go upstairs or to move very much. Surprisingly, at rest his
              respiration remained under 30 breaths/min, so I thought things were
              generally still okay.

              The cardiologist, though, had really bad news. Merlin had progressed to
              end-stage heart failure. In addition to the large amount of fluid around his
              lungs, he also had a large amount of fluid in his abdomen (hence the
              round-the-clock "puffed" look). None of this came particularly as a surprise
              me. However, he also had a large clot in one of his atrial chambers; I can't
              remember which one, but the one that would result in the clot going to his
              lungs (a "fatal event," according to the vet).

              After discussing the options with the vet, I decided that the best course of
              action was to put him to sleep. It was not an easy decision to come to, but
              I believe it was the best one for him (though a heart-wrenching one for me).
              Knowing the draining the fluid from around the lungs and from the abdomen
              would be only a short-term solution (esp. considering the cardiologist did
              not want to increase his lasix any more because of Merlin's elevated kidney
              levels), and considering the risks of the procedure, I did not want to put
              him through that, especially given the size of the clot that the
              cardiologist saw. (Or more specifically, I did not want to begin a treatment
              program that would require more frequent, stress-inducing trips to the vet.)
              Having noticed that his quality of life had declined in recent days, and
              knowing that the cardiologist did not want to increase the lasix, saying
              good-bye now seemed the kindest and best of my unappealing options.

              Fortunately, a couple of good friends were available to go to the vet's
              office with me that afternoon, and we were able to spend lots of time giving
              him love, and petting him, and talking to him, and saying good-bye. The vet
              was gentle and supportive and no one there rushed us or pressured us in any
              way. And I was able to hold him and look into his eyes and tell him that I
              loved him as the vet helped him pass on. There were lots of tears and hugs,
              and I'm sure the tears will continue for some time to come. Merlin had been
              with me for nearly 15 years, most of my adult life.

              I had always imagined it would end in some big crisis -- a thrown clot, etc.
              -- at the emergency vet hospital in the middle of the night without friends
              to help me. Instead of that nightmarish scenario, this was peaceful and
              supportive and filled with love and choice. It was a gift, certainly for me,
              and I hope for him.

              And now I have a confused and distressed and cranky companion cat who is in
              a still-unfamiliar house and who doesn't know where his friend has gone. I'd
              appreciate any suggestions anyone might have for how to help him. I'm
              continuing to give him Rescue Remedy, but is there anything else I can do?

              Also, I had just refilled Merlin's prescription for Plavix on Monday, so I
              have 14.5 pills (nearly two months of meds) that might be of use for
              someone; contact me off-list - linda.lee@mindsprin g.com.

              Best,

              Linda and Nero

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]











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