Love, Donuts and Whipped Cream
I am so glad it’s the weekend. We’re home. No pets of ours are being put down – well, that I know of. Let’s hope they keep their shit together.
Upon learning of Elliot’s cancer diagnosis, we knew we would not be subjecting him to chemo. Elliot was 13 and he lived his life the way he wanted to. And he wouldn’t want to “live” by schlepping to the vet for chemo. The outcome would be the same but it may have bought him a few weeks or months. Elliot had stopped eating – masses in his intestines. We arranged for in home euthanasia.
During our recent trip to Vegas, we visited Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum. One of the features of the museum is Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s “death van”, which is a 1968 Volkswagen Vanagon. Kevorkian’s patients would lie on a gurney in the back of the van and when they were ready, they would press a red button that would deliver a mix of chemicals to end the patient’s life. Kevorkian’s first patient was Janet Adkins, a 54-year old woman with Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve worked in assisted living a long while and a few years ago had a conversation with a colleague – I can’t recall what prompted it but I know I emphatically said that I wouldn’t want to live that way.
“Really?” My colleague seemed mildly surprised, “I don’t think it would be that bad! You live in the moment!”
Which was a nice sentiment, but I still feel like Janet Adkins had the right idea. When Andrea and I returned from Vegas, she turned to me one evening and asked, “Did you feel the Kevorkian van was creepy?” “No.” I immediately replied. “I felt it was a kind ending. I don’t feel it was haunted – those people are at peace.” Andrea agreed. I mean – I think it sucks that they had to go out in the back of a van. I mean – if things were bleak for me, I’d like to go out the way Elliot did. In his last days, he would eat some whipped cream and glazed munchkin donut from Dunkin’ Donuts. He had plenty of fresh catnip. And on Sunday, the vet came to us to prevent further suffering – for all of us.
“Dr. Death is here.” I said, hearing the vet’s car roll into our driveway, initially disappointed she didn't have a VW Van.
“What?” Andrea asked.
“The vet is here.” I said.
“Oh. Did you call her Dr. Death?!” Andrea asked.
“Uh. Yes.” I said and Andrea gently scolded my inappropriate humor. Story of my life.
Dr. Sally examined Elliot and supported our decision. She gave him a shot to make him sleepy and he thought that was bullshit. He tried to take off, presumably to return to his new spot under the bed in our guest room. We calmed him and placed him on a blanket. Dr. Sally said we could move him elsewhere but that seemed wrong. We sat on the floor with Elliot, petting him and telling him how much we loved him and how handsome and good he was. We gave him catnip. Dr. Sally administered the 2nd injection and Elliot slipped away. She made a little pawprint – well, not little, of Elliot in clay for us. She stepped outside so we could have a few moments with him. After consulting with her, we brought the other 2 cats in. Dex and Elliot were never pals. When she was little and just before she was spayed, she tried to put the moves on him and he really never forgave her. Dex didn’t seem too busted up – but, being the opportunist that she is, she seized the catnip. Lola sniffed him and left. I think she got it but it’s heartbreakingly clear she misses him. She sits in the guest room.
Dr. Sally returned with a cushioned basket that she ever so gently placed Elliot into. She tucked him in with a lavender blanket and a few leaves of catnip. We followed to her car and she placed him on the passenger seat of her car. A final car ride that he wouldn’t hate. I shook Dr. Sally’s hand and thanked her.
“Can I give you a hug?” Andrea asked her. Dr. Sally agreed.
The next day, we looked at the many photo’s we had of Elliot. He was a photogenic guy. I found the photo of my leg after he’d
unexpectedly lurched at it and scratched it. That guy – spunky.
We should all be so lucky to have such a lovely ending as the one Elliot had. Surrounded by love. Fed donuts and whipped cream.