“C’mon Mabbers, It’s Time”

(Finished typing this up 1 month later…it was too heartbreaking to relive so soon, so it took me a while.)

Yesterday was one of the hardest experiences of my adult life; the heartache is right up there along with losing my dad and Gramma Elia and fighting for my kids during my divorce. My Little Old Lady, my kitty Mabbers, passed away around 11:30pm.

She was with us for about 4 years. We “rescued” her when she was 8-years-old from Briana’s friend, Mercy. She was the sweetest, softest, cuddliest kitty.

Her “Got You” Day

She was our “couch kitty”. We have Ruffles and Kika, too, but neither is the cuddly type. They’re the “fine, pet me for 1 minute and then I’ll go destroy my cat scratcher because I’m taking out my frustrations of being touched” type of kitties.

What I looked forward to all day (especially when work was stressful and hectic) was sitting on the couch, with Mabs and Jorge, covered in my blanket and watching a show, after a full day of work, running errands, making dinner and putting the girls to bed. As soon as 9pm came around I’d plop myself on the sofa and pat the seat next to me and yell, “Mabbers, it’s time!”. From wherever she was, Mabs would pop her little head around the corner and slowly trot towards the couch. She’d pause and stare at me and again I’d say, “C’mon Mabbers, it’s time, come sit with Mama!” And she’d jump on the ottoman, then leap on the couch, usually between me and Jorge, or between me and one of the girls, and she’d do a little circle about 3 times before she found the perfect spot to sit. And then the kneading would start. Oh, how I loved that. The kneading and the purring. It was my favorite. She would relax me so much I would immediately fall asleep, much to Jorge’s chagrin because it was usually during a show LOL.

It sucks that we still don’t know what the culprit was: cancer, an infection, old age, an obstruction? And that’s what’s the most frustrating and makes me sick to my stomach when I think about it. Add to that, that I feel like I should have done MORE, QUICKER, but Jorge says I did so much. It just doesn’t feel like it because now she isn’t here 🙁 .

I messaged my wonderful friend, Juan V., on December 28th to get some advice about her condition: she wasn’t eating very well and had lost lots of weight in a short period of time. It was shocking to notice what seemed like from one day to the next that she was bonier than usual. And she was still urinating on surfaces. From searching Google for her symptoms, it seemed she had a UTI or a lodged hairball. Juan suggested we take her in to the vet, so we went the next morning on December 29th. Thank goodness I was out on vacation. She was such a good girl; so well behaved and just curiously taking everything in.

Lab work came back: she had an infection, but urinalysis came back normal. Her platelets (or something like that) was just slightly high, which would mean cancer or that she had a parasite, but it wasn’t so high that there was cause for concern. I asked about the possibility of a lodged hairball and the vet said we’d see how the antibiotic worked; to give it to her for 2 weeks.

In the next week she still wasn’t eating too much more so we switched her to soft food (Sheba) and she ate it all! So we went out to get more. I also went to Juan’s work, where we caught up briefly and he gave me tons of kitty food and treats and I bought a HomeoPet liquid to make Mabby get rid of her lodged hairball (I was convinced that’s what it was).

Juan’s been one of my best friends since kinder or 1st grade, until he left me after 6th grade lol. Later I found him on MySpace 😆 .

Anyway, a few days later she finally pooped! A tiny dollop, but it was something, thank goodness. I still got another hairball relief tube by Hertz, but she’d turn her nose at it.

I spent everyday stressed out thinking about her health. I had this feeling of dread all the time. We made it a point to sit with her every evening, no longer needing to say, “It’s time, Mabbers!” because she was already laying there. The show we were watching was “This is Us”–and I’m sure that didn’t help with my melancholy feelings.

We ended up having to put puppy training pads on all the couch surfaces–she wasn’t bothering going to the litter box anymore, so we accommodated her. I keep going back to that week in my head. That’s when I should have taken her back to the vet and told them the antibiotics weren’t working!

We had an insane and stressful week last week. I worked half a day on Monday because the girls and I had dentist appointments. Alaethia was getting sealants on her molars, Emily had a re-filling and a new filling and I had a re-filling and a new filling. I felt miserable afterwards but I still needed to get an oil change in the truck so we rushed, only to get lost in Mission. When we finally get there it doesn’t take long, but they used a different oil than the one I bought the Groupon for. Great. Had to get an exchange that took forever. Finally, we’re done and the girls want Taco Bell. Better for me.

They eat (I only have a diet Pepsi cause there’s nothing I can think of that’s Keto to eat) and we chat.

They hurry and we get home and spend time with Mabby. She just looks gloomy and barely eats. Not even tuna.

I ran errands late on Tuesday after work, and by the time dinner was ready and we all ate it was time to shower and go to bed. I only got to pet Mabbers a little bit while she laid on the bathmat in the hall bathroom. She never laid in there and we couldn’t think of an idea as to why it suddenly seemed like a more comfortable spot than her usual on the sofa. I walked away that evening feeling hollow and afraid for her.

The girls text me the next afternoon when they got home from school. Alaethia is concerned for Mabbers, because she seems “off”: her balance, her eyes; she just doesn’t look like herself. Then she sends me a panicked video, showing me how she can hardly hold her head up. This is around the time that I’m kicking myself in the ass for not hurrying and taking her in to the vet again the week before, or even the DAY before. I feel guilty and upset and rush home. We put a pee pad in her pet carrier and Emily grabs her red blanket and we’re off to the vet as quickly as possible.

She’s lucid, but quiet. I’m fearing the worst, but the girls seem like they’re okay. We get to the vet’s office and it’s a long wait, as everyone that was already present with their pets when we arrived are still sitting around, waiting. Then Mabs takes a turn for the worse and her breathing seems terribly labored. I panic and jump up asking the receptionists to please do something, she needs oxygen, ANYTHING, just please help. So they take her to the back and put her in an oxygen chamber. By then I’m a bawling mess, even though the girls are calm. It’s about another 30 minutes that they take us to the back and the doctor says, “Kitty doesn’t look good.” At this point, the girls chime in with the tears. He says that they aren’t ruling out cancer, since this was a rather quick progression. He asks if we want to keep her at the hospital, but says that no matter what the treatment he can’t guarantee that she’ll “make it.” I ask them to give me an estimate of what they think she needs, and to run all the tests they need to. So they bring me 2 quotes; both incredibly expensive. Again, I’m kicking myself in the ass, asking myself why the HELL I didn’t ask them to give her an X-ray or MRI or whatever she would have needed to help her the first time we took her in. I tell them to go ahead with the 2-day hospital stay with all the labs, etc. They say ok. We want to see her before we leave and they tell us to wait, but then the nurse comes back and says there’s a surgery going on and that the back is packed with animals at the moment. We’d have to come back at 10pm. I say aloud, “The girls will be in bed by then…” and Emily almost loses it and says, “You HAVE to bring us! What if she dies and we don’t get to see her!” I tell them ok, we’ll see what happens. It’s at this time that I sign a form giving them permission to perform CPR on her just in case she needs it.

We cry all the way home. We pick up Taco Bell, because it’s the nearest thing the girls are okay with eating. We get home and eat quietly, and then we give each other kisses before they head over to the bathroom to brush their teeth and get in bed. Both girls say they aren’t going to be able to sleep, but I tell them they have to try, just in case they call us from the hospital, they have to get SOME rest.

It’s 10:15pm when they call to let me know that she had crashed and they did CPR on her like we asked, but her labs are bad. The infection she had has gotten so much worse, and she’s going into liver failure. I ask if I can go in and see her right then, and they say yes. Jorge had just gotten home from work, so I wasn’t going to force him to go and I stand there not knowing what to do, and contemplated leaving without the girls, but they would hate me if something happens to Mabs and they aren’t there. So I wake them up and they get dressed quickly.

Alaethia is positive, saying, “Mabs is a fighter, she’s strong! She’s got this!” and I burst into tears again, quietly. I don’t want to tell them that she isn’t doing good, but I do. I tell them, “Girls, the reason they called is because she isn’t doing very well. She’s very sick. We’re going right now just in case she doesn’t make it.”

Cue the tears. I can’t believe this is happening and I feel like I’m the worst person for not taking her in sooner. And now it’s too late.

They let us see her about 15 minutes after we arrive. She doesn’t even look like herself at this point. We’re keeping the boys updated on our group chat about her. It seems now like it all happened so quickly, but we were there for about an hour, standing with her, letting her see us as she’s got all these tubes sticking out of her. She looks jaundiced and although she’s warm from the heating pad they’ve wrapped her with in a towel, her little paw pads are cold. At this point I just want to take her home. The nurse tells me that if we take her home, then she’ll surely die and we won’t give her a chance, but I’m looking at her and she’s suffering. The nurse even says that the reason she’s alive is probably because of the medication they gave her when they did CPR, because even me, not being a veterinarian, could see that she wasn’t really there anymore 🙁 . I call Jorge and ask him what to do. I don’t know. I feel guilty leaving her there, suffering, I don’t want to take her home if she’s going to be suffering, but I feel guilty if I ask them to euthanize her as well. We finally, after what seems like forever, talk with the girls and decide to euthanize. The girls didn’t object at all, since they could clearly see that she was suffering. They take us to a room to be with her and we carry her and speak to her and tell her how much we love her and are going to miss her. We can’t help but smooth out her little foot tufts that we love so much.

The doctor on duty takes forever, since she’s in another surgery. We can feel Mabby slowly leaving us and she hardly has a pulse. The doctor finally comes in, addresses the girls about how happy Mabs must be that we were with her and injects her line. Not 2 seconds later, she’s left us.

I sign the form to bring her home, and the receptionist tells the girls and I we all look so much alike. It makes us crack a smile and we say ‘thank you’. I make our payment and start our last drive home with Mabbers. We’re sad and crying silently; the girls holding Mabbers safely in her box.

Emily started bawling as soon as the alarm went off the next morning and was too distraught to go to school, so we let her stay home.

Alaethia had a test, so she said she’d be strong and go, but I texted her teacher to let her know she’d be an hour late. She held up pretty well, thank goodness.

I had texted my boss that I would be in late due to my girls not sleeping much because our kitty died. He sent his condolences and even let me skip a photo shoot when I did arrive at work to mourn, and probably because my face was puffy. Everyone I told saw me bawl my eyes out–so embarrassing. But I was so devastated 😥 .

We wait till the boys are home the next evening, and when Jorge gets home from work we give her her proper burial.

I’m not even sure where the kids found that metal thing, but it works. We have plans to add a little fence and flowers, of course.

I’ll miss patting the couch and yelling, “Mabbers, it’s time!”. I’ll miss having those big beautiful eyes looking softly at me, right before she would knead on my tummy. I’ll miss her so much. We all will. But it was actually Mabbers’ time, this time 😥 .

Queen Mab

“Fairy God-Mabby,” When Eenan Got His Wisdom-Teeth Out
“Who-hands and Pillow Paws”

Always So Patient With Us

The Good Stuff

I managed to successfully complete my to-do list at work from yesterday and today.

I’d started this to-do list last Tuesday, because I knew I wouldn’t be in the office till Monday. I was still at work, but we had a Delegation coming in and I’d be away from my desk. Which made me nervous as heck because I have several events I’m working on and deadlines!!

I was nervous about the visit itself since we weren’t 100% in charge of the activities, but we went along for everything anyway and the things that didn’t work out were really only behind-the-scenes stuff and the back-up plans worked out really well. It was a stress-free visit, for the most part.

My treat during these visits is usually the food itself, heh. Don’t get me wrong: I really do love to learn about all the inner workings of our city and I always love visiting all our “landmarks” and the people! I love meeting all these different people. But my absolute favorite part is the FOOD!

Tiny desserts at the Airport
Tiny desserts at the Airport
Chicken Marsala at House.Wine for lunch
Chicken Marsala at House Wine for lunch
A prickly-pear Margarita from Republic of the Rio Grande
A prickly-pear Margarita from Republic of the Rio Grande
Enchiladas del Mar from Republic of the Rio Grande
Enchiladas del Mar from Republic of the Rio Grande
Tomato parmesan bisque, salmon and cheesecake from Peppers at Renaissance Hospital
Tomato parmesan bisque, salmon and cheesecake from Peppers at Renaissance Hospital

I was so sad I couldn’t finish that cheesecake! *sigh* I love food, what can I say, heh.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the low-key visit to Quinta Mazatlan.

The beautiful Quinta Mazatlan mansion
The beautiful Quinta Mazatlan mansion

I would love to own a home like Quinta. Or to at least have a garden like the front yard at Quinta. And that succulent fountain they have. And this swing hanging from a gorgeous old oak tree:

"Iiiiiii'm gonna swiiiiingggg!!"
“Iiiiiii’m gonna swiiiiingggg!!”

The ladies and I had fun taking turns and taking photos. They were such a great group! I was so sad that I couldn’t properly say goodbye to everyone since they were let loose at the mall for some shopping during their last hours of the visit and I needed to leave to pick up the kids.

I picked up the kiddos and Emmos was tired and was throwing a tantrum. I can’t even remember over what. The other kids and I spoke about her, and the reason why she’s spoiled sometimes. We picked up pizza, got home and Emily was still sobbing and went to her room, but she’d calmed down. I’m walking down the hallway and she opens the door to her room and says, “Mama? Can I speak to you in private please?” My mouth drops at how mature she sounded. I said sure, and opened the door and we sat together on my bed. She very maturely let me know what was on her mind, and I told her what was on mine and that I would work on being better, on being more patient. I pulled her near me and embraced her and said, “I’m convinced you’re a 20-year-old in that little 5-year-old body.” She has her moments (such as tonight; she was tired and mopey and didn’t want to do her homework), but she’s just such a great little lady .

My heart feels like it’ll explode from the love sometimes. I passed by the boys’ room and saw them all in there, peaceful, happy, without a care in the world and I’m just so grateful I had to capture the moment.

(Pay no attention to their messy, unmade beds .)

My ducklings!
My ducklings!

The girls and I passed out on the sofa and Jorge moved us to our beds. We had to get up early for Jaylen’s game on Saturday.

We all woke up super early (except Eenan, of course!) and Jorge, Justin and Jorgie went to Justin’s game and the girls and I went to Jaylen’s. We dropped him off at school, and since we had an hour-and-a-half to waste before the game started I took the girls for breakfast at McDonald’s.

Little ladies!
Little ladies!

Jaylen did so well at his game! He’s progressively getting better.

My boy!
My boy!

It still made me cringe every time I saw one of the kids get hurt, though, ever since Jorgie broke his leg (I’m still pending that post!). Several boys on the White Team got hurt. Jaylen told me one of them dislocated his shoulder *shudder*.

I waited for Jaylen, picked the girls up (they’d left with Mary to Sonia’s) and then we got stuck in traffic. There was a 5-car accident on the Expressway thanks to non other than a drunk driver. When we finally got through, I picked up Justin, who was with Jorge at a job site. Took the kiddos home, then made them lunch.

Sunset Sessions was that evening so I got the kids all pumped up to go. Well, all of them except the 2 teenagers. Eventually Jorgie was convinced so only Eenan would be the one to stay home with Mom. Emily and I went to HEB to get picnic stuff. We were finally going to break-in the picnic basket Aunt Sylvia gave us and the girls were super excited.

AND THEN IT STARTS RAINING. And the lights go out at HEB. While we’re still inside. And didn’t even have my phone.

Dammit.

Jorge wasn’t going to be out of work on time and there was no way I could move Jorgie along in his wheelchair in wet grass/mud. So we scratched the idea. There was an audible, “Ahhhhhhh!!!” from all the kids. Even Justin said, “We don’t get to plan things often and then this happens!” No kidding!

So, what else do you do when you have a blanket and a picnic basket packed and it’s raining? You have a picnic on the porch, of course!

Porch picnic!
Porch picnic!

It was Michelle’s birthday that day, but we didn’t get to hang out. She called that she was on her way to Sunset Sessions but she understood that the rain+kids wasn’t a good idea. I promised her we’d celebrate later.

About 30 minutes later, the rain stopped and a rainbow popped out. FML LOL.

Jorge got home and debated for about an hour whether he was going to take up his boss’ invite to go to the ranch. He eventually decided “yes” and took Justin with him. I hung out with the kids for a while, watching TV and put them all in bed. The girls were happy to snuggle with mama :).

Woke up the next morning and made the kids wheat pancakes. Relaxed, did laundry, then Jorge got home and I made shrimp Alfredo. More tidying up and then I decided that I would relax. But not before making banana bread.

Homemade banana bread.
Homemade banana bread.

And then playing 4-square with the girls. And THEN I got to be lazy for a few minutes before I started on dinner. I hadn’t made tuna casserole in a while. The girls helped me with the ingredients and then Eenan started joking around, like always. We get into a conversation about why we’re not very huggy with Mom and both John and I tell him, “Well, we weren’t really brought up that way. She’d hug and hold us when we were little, but as we got older well, she just wasn’t like that.” Justin’s standing next to me and pats my shoulder and says, “I know the feeling.” So I say, “Get over here!” and grab him into a hug. I say, “I think it had the opposite effect on me; I think that’s why I love hugs and hugging the kids.” Emily, then Jaylen and Alaethia run into the group. Julien hears the commotion and goes into his famous running hugs. Then Eenan comes in for a hug. We’re all giggling and in a huge, wonderful group hug and poor Jorgie rolls in from their bedroom and says, “Hey, what’s going on?” We all laugh and then I realize that I hadn’t preheated the oven. John says, “Well if you weren’t over there getting group hugs…” Buahaha!

We ate dinner quickly and gathered around in the living room to watch “The Walking Dead”. It was 2 minutes in before we sent the girls to their room. It was much more gorey this time!! But such a good episode!

Put all the kids to bed and then a new week began. And I kicked Monday (and Tuesday) in the ass!! I even went on an interview. As much as I dislike those, because I’m always afraid I’ll screw up, I just went with the flow. And it worked out :).

We picked up a cake to celebrate Michelle’s birthday at work:

Happy Birthday, BFF!
Happy Birthday, BFF!

I got home from work and took Eenan to get a haircut with Emily in tow, of course. Mario waited for the kids while we got home and he took the boys =\. I’ll never get used to that.

EZ, Michelle and I went to Wing Stop today to celebrate her birthday. And I finally got one of my projects completed this afternoon and finished today’s to-do list. I have so much to do still, but I hope I can keep the same momentum going! I feel good about everything I got to accomplish. We sent all the kids to bed and we’re catching up on “The Voice” before I have to shower. Have lots going on tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll feel like this at the end of the day:

Mabby!
Mabby!