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my heart is heavy...

oh, gentle reader, this is a week for the record books, for sure.

it has definitely been a very difficult week for kirofamily.

early this past week, our broodmare foaled. this should have been an ecstatically happy occasion. for several reasons. the first being that it is always a happy occasion when a baby is born, right? well, the second reason is one that i have kept to myself for quite awhile. the greatest apha, western pleasure broodmare, zippos darling but kiwi to those that know and love her, has cancer. we crossed all our fingers and toes, in hopes that she would be able to deliver this baby. and she did it! that's how awesome she is...but the filly was afflicted with a genetic disorder that left her with a non-functioning colon. there is known cure at this time. horse people know this as the lethal white syndrome. and it absolutely sucks. and the poor baby had to be put down.

that was pretty hard to digest...given the fact that we knew this was going to be the last baby kiwi would have.

for the next part of my story, we must rewind to wednesday of last week...just prior to our trip to new jersey and nyc.

young lady had come home. she went to her room to check on francine, the hedge hog. young lady then quickly rushed back upstairs with francine, exclaiming there was something wrong with francine. and there most definitely was something wrong with her. she was walking is small circles to the right and holding her head funny and her front left leg was not working properly.

even though it was after hours, i called her vet...he was still there. without seeing her, he felt she had either had a stroke or was suffering from an ear infection. we did what he suggested we do for and made an appointment for first thing the next morning.

because we were leaving town, i asked to leave her with him for the weekend and made arrangements to pick her up monday morning.

i didn't feel our awesome critter sitter needed the extra burden of caring for francine...plus, if she truly had had a stroke, i knew we all felt better about francine having the watchful eyes of the vet and his assistants.

monday morning i went straight to the vet to pick her up...without even calling...i had checked on francine a few times while we were gone.

they took me to an exam room and dr b walked in, holding francine...which i thought was strange that he hadn't brought her carrier.

then he showed me her eye...she had damaged it at some point and was now blind in that eye.

perhaps she quilled it. perhaps he caught it with her toe nail while scratching at infected ear.

we will never know.

the decision was made to have the eye removed. after all, hedgehogs have fairly poor eyesight.

i brought her home late that afternoon.

it was discussed that i would probably have to hand feed her until she was feeling better and found her way around her habitat once again...

so twice a day i fed her wet cat food from a syringe and dropped water into her mouth by syringe.

she continued with quite a hearty appetite...as long as i was feeding her.

she was still walking in circles. she was still scratching her ear. she was still not using her front left leg.

let's move forward to friday morning. young lady was home so she helped me feed francine. we were cautiously optimistic! francine had a huge appetite! she drank a ton of water! she walked straight for 4-6 steps at a time! her head was not as tilted! she was feisty! she was acting like her old self! it was awesome!

but the friday night, she was not so hungry and seemed to tire very quickly. she was grumpy, not feisty. we didn't keep her out long.

about 2am, young lady came to our room, holding francine. she felt that francine was dying. so kiroman and i sat with them fro quite awhile...remember, kiroman wakes at 4am...bless him for being such a great daddy!

after about an hour, i finally talked young lady into taking francine to her habitat. i slept with young lady and we sat the timer for 30 minute intervals and continued checking on francine every 30 minutes until i was able to reach the vet clinic.

i explained what was happening and they told me to bring her in immediately.

once we arrived...and gentle reader, please remember we do not live in the city...we had a 20 minute drive to the office...

they took francine back, put her under a heat lamp and gave her oxygen...her breathing had become very shallow and very rapid...even by hedgehog standards.

dr b visited with francine before he came to talk to us.

it seems that perhaps she had suffered another stroke.

the food i thought she was gobbling the night before was not being swallowed 100%.

after further discussion, we all came to the conclusion that her quality of life was quickly diminishing. she was not able to sit up. she was not able to feed herself. her digestive system was not working properly.

dr b said he would whatever we chose to do...we knew what his feelings were but in no way did he impress those feelings on us. he left the decision solely in our hands.

gentle reader, we love that little hedgehog way too much to sentence her to living with that type of pain and discomfort.

dr b felt if she were eating on her own, then she was wanting to live and thriving...the fact that she failed to eat on her and we were hand feeding her meant we were keeping her alive...do you understand the difference?

he was such a dear and let us sit in the exam room until we were ready to say our last see ya later to francine.

gentle reader, it was not easy.

it still is really hard to walk into young lady's room and not see francine in her habitat.

it still is really hard to be sitting at the kichen table in the late evening and not hear her running on her wheel.

it still is really hard to believe that we have lost two sweet babies this week.

Francine
i am grateful:

  • for the fortitude to survive
  • for the knowledge and help of awesome veterinarians [ and staff ]
  • to understand that good prevails over evil
  • to know happiness follows sadness
  • to understand the circle of life

just breathing isn't living!

sincerely,

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