It’s been a little over a month since we lost Maisi.
The night before she died I was Skyping with my brother. He was trying to get me to think about what we’d do if she took a turn for the worse. His reasoning was that we couldn’t keep throwing money at trying to keep her alive if her death was inevitable. I remember telling him in no uncertain terms that she was going to get better.
The morning of Sunday 28th July I woke full of nervous energy. I set up a twitter account ready to appeal to anyone who would listen to help us raise money to get Maisi better and bring her back home.
Just after midday we got a phone call from the vet. We were told Maisi had taken a turn for the worse. She could barely breathe.
We asked them to wait, to let us come and see her to say goodbye. The response was that they weren’t sure she’d survive long enough for us to get there.
As we raced around trying to get ready to leave they phoned us back. They didn’t have a choice. Maisi couldn’t wait for us. They had to put her to sleep.
All the hopes I’d had. All the defiance. The belief that, no matter what, we could get her through this. It was all gone.
We waited until the evening and went to see her. There was no hurry any more. Nothing we could do would change the outcome.
When we arrived at the hospital we were left sitting in the waiting room for nearly two hours. Two long hours.
Finally we were allowed to see her. She was on the table in one of the consulting rooms. Wrapped in a green blanket. I remember thinking how much green suited her.
She looked like she was sleeping. I wish she had just been sleeping.
Her head felt wrong. Almost as though she wasn’t real. I wanted to run her tail between my fingers, the way I always used to. It wasn’t the same though.
Weirdly, stroking her side and stomach she felt almost more alive than she had when we’d left her at the hospital on Friday night.
The pads of her feet were cold.
I had to see her diamond again – the patch of black fur on the back of her neck. The way she was lying it was awkward, but I found it, and stroked it. I thought of all the times I had her sleeping on my lap, and played with that fur, messing it up into different shapes, but always stroking it back to the perfect diamond.
I’m not sure how long we stayed there. I cried over her, and couldn’t stop. I kissed her little forehead. I whispered in her ear asking her to please wake up. Please.
And then we had to go.
I couldn’t bear to leave her, but what choice was there?
We made arrangements for her post-mortem and subsequent cremation. I hated the idea of both, but we need to know what killed her, especially if it could affect her sister, and we didn’t have anywhere we could bury her body.
We’re still waiting for the final post-mortem results, but preliminary findings imply that if she’d been properly examined by the vets we took her to when the problems started, she would likely still be alive, and healthy, today. We will be complaining. Maisi died needlessly and in pain. It should not have happened. We should have her home, with her sister.
I’m sure Lola misses Maisi. She spends most of her time nowadays curled up sleeping on my desk whilst I’m using the computer. She used to be much more aloof.
If I had a time machine, I would go back to the beginning of July and the second the problems started I would, as we did, take her to the vet. But this time I would insist that they investigate fully. It seems to me that when presented with symptoms that could suggest something so severe and yet treatable, to simply put it down to “ongoing problems” (especially when those problems are undiagnosed) without further diagnosis… That just seems negligent.
Nothing we do will bring Maisi back to us. No matter how much I wish it would. But if by complaining I can help prevent another animal die unnecessarily and in pain, then that will help. At least a little.