Unfortunately, the good morning did not carry into the afternoon. When I arrived at the vet, Atom's blood was being drawn, to see if 2.5 days on IV fluids had improved his numbers. Their blood machine wasn't working correctly, so I had to wait. I talked to the vet tech—who was awesome and made me feel good—and Atom sat in the kennel and purred as I rubbed his head. He looked tired, but not bad. But when Dr. Ebeling came up, I could tell it wasn't good news. Atom's creatinine had gone UP, not down. He was worse despite the treatment.
There aren't many options. Any time spent off the IV, for now, will make him lose ground. There is no guarantee that he can get better, but since he looked good, the doc and the tech recommended up to 3 more days on the IV. Some cats DO overcome this. Their office isn't open on Sunday, and no one would be there to monitor Atom round-the-clock. So he had to go to the emergency vet, at least until Monday morning.
I followed their advice and took Atom home to feed him, since he hadn't eaten in 24 hours. He was either too uncomfortable, or just too bewildered from staying at the vet's office. He refused to eat. He didn't want to be held. I could tell he didn't feel good. So I picked up Kelly and we took him to the e-vet, discussed all the options and I failed to fight back my tears. Atom looked good, but didn't feel good enough to eat. I hated to subject him to more treatment, but I also didn't want to give up on him too soon. It was heart wrenching.
Euthanasia can be the kindest gift that we give our pets, to end their suffering. But when it's so unclear if they are ready to give up, or trying to rally, then the owner suffers. With Atom I just can't tell. I decided to leave him at the e-vet until Monday, transfer him to my own vet, and have them check his blood again. If he is improved, I'll let them administer more fluids. If he hasn't eaten or his levels worsen, then the decision will be made for me. I feel helpless. I love him so much and will only keep pushing if his quality of life is still good. But even if he is declining, on some level I will feel that I'm killing my friend.
It has been many years, thankfully, that I've had to make this decision. It never gets easier.
I'm going to spend tomorrow with friends, so that I won't be cooped up in my house with Atom being conspicuously absent. If you're reading this, please keep us in your thoughts.