Usually I help Max answer questions on Sunday night, and we upload the Ask Max column before heading off to bed. This week we honestly did not feel like even checking email to see if there were any questions for him; while I sat in the living room, he was in the master bedroom closet, and my mood was not in a place to really consider that he had work to do.
Now, I add to this by saying that right now, he seems fine. But last night he absolutely did not, and we honestly thought Max was on his final night with us. He refused to eat, barely drank anything, walked stiffly and not in a straight line, hadn’t peed, and once he was in the closet at 4pm, he didn’t come out. I checked on him frequently and offered him food, scared out of my mind when he clearly didn’t hear me approach and didn’t react until I was damn well on top of him.
Late at night, around midnight, I found him asleep with his head in his food dish. When he realized I was there he looked up at me like, well, it’s about damned time you got in here. Help me. I guessed he had tried to eat something but didn’t have the energy for it…so I scooched the plate closer and he ate about half of what was there, and finally drank enough water that I felt comfortable enough going to bed.
I dozed but didn’t sleep, and went back to check on him at 3 am. He still didn’t hear me until I called his name (and I won’t lie, every time I had to do that I was sure he was gone) but he pointed his nose at his water dish, and drank enough to make me happy.
It’s worth noting that Buddah is leaving him alone. That worries me.
This morning at 6 he was excited to see me, but didn’t get up, so I picked him up and carried him to the kitchen, where he ate a decent amount of food, and when I was sure he was done, I carried him to the litter box where he peed. I know this is not ideal and planned on calling the vet at 7 when the office opened…and then he ate more, and got into the litter box on his own and peed again. He was walking better. So we’re holding off, though the plan is to call either this afternoon or tomorrow morning to get him in for a checkup.
My gut tells me he was in pain yesterday, and hiding in his safe place while feeling like utter crap. Given how stiff his left back leg seemed, I wonder now if he jumped down a bit too hard off the sofa in his bedroom (yes, he really does have his own bedroom) and was just feeling the effects of that. But at his age, those are the things that will take a huge toll on him; five years ago he would have pushed on, but at 19 and being incredibly frail, he needs to just stop when things hurt.
For today, he’s okay. He’s back in the closet after not being able to get to it from 7:30am-1pm (the Man worked last night and needed to sleep a few hours) and he was reasonably active from 8-10, though he hasn’t eaten much more. He’s interested and has taken a few bites here and there–enough to keep me happy–but he’s clearly tired.
And there’s the rub. Each day he’s a bit more tired than the day before, and he is clearly winding down. That’s not an alarm; he may very well have several weeks or months left, but it’s only fair to warn people that it could also be days.
We just don’t know.
And as I write this…he wandered out of the closet, went to the kitchen, and asked for food. He only ate about a quarter of it (which was half a 3 oz can, so less than half an ounce) but I’ll take that. Right now he’s on the loveseat, looking at me like this:
I don’t think he knows what he wants–my lap was offered but declined–but for the moment…he’s okay.
If you have questions for him, go ahead and leave them in the comments or in email and he’ll get to them next week.