My sweet friend, Simon. When he was twelve “human” years old, he developed a serious and life threatening condition known as Pleural Effusion. Based upon my limited medical understanding, this is a condition where an abnormal accumulation of fluid occurs within the pleural cavity in the chest and within a sac that is a covering or surrounds the lungs. The excess fluid compresses the lungs so that they cannot expand and results in impaired breathing. Simon’s prognosis was poor and his Veteranarian told me he had not seen a cat live more than a month with this condition. I was devastated by this prognosis and proceeded to do what I always do, research. While Simon’s Veterinarian was exceptional in his ability and in his genuine concern for cats, I thought maybe there was a “new” treatment in the works, and so, I did research and contacted UPenn’s highly regarded School of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary School for Research.
Unfortunately, my research confirmed what Simon’s Veterinarian already told me. There was no known cure for this condition and the only treatment, although temporary, was the periodiadic removal of the fluid accumulating in Simon’s chest cavity. Simon’s Veterinarian and I were in agreement that until he was in pain and no longer had any quality of life, we would continue to do what came to be bi-monthly treatments to remove the fluid. I became hyper sensitive to any change in Simon’s breathing throughout the next two and a half years. During that time he became my constant companion and we formed yet an even stronger bond.
Although Simon lived another two and a half years, greatly exceeding his original prognosis, I was still unprepared when what I thought was another visit to remove fluid turned into his final visit. Even after withdrawing the fluid from Simon’s chest, he was still in distress and pain, which had not been the case in his prior treatments. It was time to say good bye to Simon within a matter of minutes. As much as I tried to prepare for this day, I was devastated. To make matters worse, the first shot to put Simon down did not appear to work, prolonging the agony and leaving me to question whether it was in fact Simon’s time to leave this world. His will to live strong until the very end.
After two and a half years of fighting, his fight ended. While he defied the odds and lived well beyond his prognosis, it did not make it any easier to let him go. Although I’ve had other cat friends since losing Simon, not one has replaced the bond we shared.