Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Remembering Hula.

WARNING: This post is super long....and of course it's really posted for me to read again another day, though it's pretty depressing so I'm not sure when I'll read it again, but I needed it all recorded here.

Hello there!!
(This picture actually made it into the 365-Cats-a-Year Calendar. 2005, I think)
It's taken me a while to put this together, but finally, here it "tribute" post to Hula and all that went wrong on Easter Sunday 2016.  It will certainly go down in the record books as the least favorable Easter ever.

Litter Mates. Love Bugs. Sweet Babies.

We went to Mass and Brunch and then came home. We were going to go to the zoo, but the weather was iffy so we decided against it. We then decided to go to the mall to walk a bit, but discovered it was closed, so we came back home and in hindsight, I'm SO glad things played out like that. We were MEANT to be home.

"How dare you wake me up!"

At about 2:30pm, I heard the strangest meow. It was Hula and it was a cry I had never heard from her before. She was heading my way to the office and when I saw her she was open-mouth breathing. Not good. With her congenital heart defect, I had always been told that when her heart was failing, she would likely begin open mouth breathing and that would be a sign the end was near. I know now that she was looking for and coming to me for help. Her tongue was already purple at this point so she must have been open-mouth breathing prior to coming to find me. :(

My  beautiful girl.
I called the UT vet hospital, where I had taken her for heart tests years ago, because I knew they'd be open. I told the lady what was going on and that we'd be there in 20 minutes. 

They took her back right away to try to stabilize her. In hindsight, I don't like how this was handled and wish I could have gone with her...she was freaking out and didn't know these people. She was probably so scared. :(  The vet said I got there "just in time" and feared that Hula would pass within minutes. She was turning purple...
Proof they love each other.
So thankful that Milo seems to be doing ok being alone. They are litter mates and have never been apart.
Add to that, he's always been so "needy" that I really thought he'd be a HOT mess without his sweet sister, Hula. 
While she said her lungs sounded good, which is not typical with heart failure, the only way to find out what was really going on was to intubate, but I refused to put her through this and the vet agreed. It was so likely that this was tied to her (significant) heart issue anyway. I hated making that choice (though I felt there was NO choice really) and wish it was more obvious that it was her heart, but she was struggling SO much and I knew she was uncomfortable. I had been preparing myself for the worst on the ride to the hospital, but I don't think anyone is ever fully prepared to lose their sweet furry family member.

2005 - after one of  her EKG tests at UT hospital - you can see where they shaved a bit of her fur. 

I wanted to see her again before everything was to end and so as they brought her into the exam room where I was waiting, she screamed even a louder cry that I had heard before. She was freaking out I'm sure. We got her on the table and I talked to her and kept petting her but could see how she was struggling so I told the vet to hurry so she wouldn't be suffering anymore...I couldn't stand to see her this way. While I was so glad to hold her and be there with her (she did calm down as I pet her and she heard my voice), I cannot get the feeling of her body going limp in my arms out of my replays over and over again and it's tearing me up. The vet said she wished I could have had more time with Hula...and I felt the exact same way. :(
Sweet fur baby. So loved.

Here's where things go south...

Because she was a 100% indoor cat, during our last regular vet visit they told me that it wasn't really a requirement for her to get a rabies she didn't get one. I say that because after about 15 minutes passed, the vet came out to tell me that Hula had bit the vet student. Hula was never mean or would purposely bite anyone, but I know she was freaking out, didn't know who these people were, etc. and that is probably why it happened. I'm also (a little) mad at the vet student because you would think they know these things can happen and would handle the animal in a way to prevent this from happening...either way, I know it's not the student's fault, please don't get me wrong. I'm sad it happened at all...for both of them. 
Always a fan of sleeping under my desk lamp.

Now because that happened, they had to test Hula for rabies and could not release her body to me that day and possibly not at all. After calling Oscar and sending him out in the backyard to dig a hole, this is what they tell me, just making everything more painful.

She was a pretty funny gal...always looking for the "best" places to catch a snooze!

Though I have no idea what the vets name is who helped us, she was very kind and compassionate and I appreciate that. One thing the hospital offers is a paw print made in clay and so I requested one and it is adorable. 
No words.

Before being told about the biting incident, I had made the decision to bring Hula's body home so we could bury her in the backyard. Since they had to do the test, that was no longer an least that day and the vet said possibly never. So I went from taking her home that day and attempting some closure with my family to NEVER??? I was NOT ok with this. 

Always right next to me while I'm working at my desk.
I will miss her company and her sweet purr.
After spending Monday at work in tears (I was a big mess) an awesome co-worker who is very involved in animal rescue told me to call my regular vet so they could call UT and advocate for me in getting Hula back. I cannot express how glad I am that she told me to do this. My vet and her employees worked hard for me all week and on Friday I picked up my sweet baby Hula at 4:30pm, took her home and we buried her. She has a statue of St. Francis at her grave to keep her safe. Ethan and I will also be making a stepping stone mosaic to put there as well. 

2007: The only picture I have of me & Hula together.
She wasn't a fan of being held - a typical cat - everything on her agenda.
Side note: beware, this is my crazy side...but I really wanted to open up the box and bags they had her in to make sure it was her. I don't know why this was bothering me but it really was. I got past the box and the first bag (canvas) but the final bag was plastic and taped quite a bit so there was no knowing what part of her body I would be opening up to and I did not want to see her face/head as that would be VERY different due to the rabies test. In the end, I did NOT open it up and had to set my crazy feelings aside and know it was her. Also, the kind man from the UT hospital said he was the only one handling her and he knew it was her, so I did have that...but apparently I also have severe trust issues. 

March 15, 2004 - March 27, 2016
So loved and so very missed every single day. 

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