The Rat Shack > All About Rats > Memorials > I made the wrong decision, and the guilt is overwhelming


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Old 08-24-2017, 06:11 PM   #1
BrendaLee
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Default I made the wrong decision, and the guilt is overwhelming

Yesterday, I had my sweetest baby Remi put to sleep. He was about two years and four months and had been thinning out pretty steadily for a few months. I chalked it up to old age, HED and a new female cagemate who he instantly fell in love with and followed around like a puppy.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed he wasn't eating his dry food. He was weaker and couldn't really get comfortable to hold the nibbles and eat them. His symptoms weren't exactly like PT, though it felt similar as it progressed. He would paw at his head a lot and eventually pull back if you pet it, so I figured it was some sort of brain tumor. We switched him to wet food and held veggies and treats for him, which he ate happily.

He was started on a steroid and two antibiotics, but he continued to get progressively weaker. Eventually he stopped eating and drinking, and the pain in his head seemed to be worsening. We knew the end was coming, but I had never had an animal put to sleep, and I wasn't ready to do it. After a lot of reading on natural death, I decided to let nature take its course and hoped he would die peacefully after a night or two without water or food. But on day three, he was still fighting, and my guilt took over, and I started giving him small amounts of water, as much as he would take, and broth.

I debated over sub-q but knew it would keep his body alive longer and that he was in pain from the brain tumor, so I didn't do it, even thought it might put more pressure on the tumor and cause more pain. Every day, I would wake up expecting him to have passed, but by day five, I couldn't take it anymore, and I took him to be put to sleep. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I barely had the strength to get out of the car and take him in the vet's office. I wanted to drive around and pet him and hold him and tell him Mommy loves him all day. In the end, I did it for him.

The vet said he was severely dehydrated and his kidneys were probably shutting down, which in theory, I knew would be the case, but as soon as he said it, I was filled with the most overwhelmingly devastating sense of guilt and "oh my god, what have I done to my baby". My sweetest, most precious, gentlest baby.

I can barely live with myself right now. I cry pretty much all day and have complete breakdowns every so often. I know the right thing to have done would have been to put him down when he stopped eating and the meds failed to help. I know the second best thing to do if I was going to keep him alive would have been sub-q and forced feeding (which he hated, he wouldn't take more than 0.1ml), and I know I completely made the wrong choice to let his suffering go on for five days. I know all of these things. I know I handled it completely wrong. I thought I was doing the right thing. I loved him so much. I didn't want to let him go, which was selfish, and it took everything to let him go in the end.

He had a peaceful death in the end. Even in the half hour or so before, my daughter and I took turns holding him, crying and telling him how much we loved him and what an amazing little ratty baby he was, and he seemed peaceful finally. The vet used gas and put him out completely. He looked so peaceful lying there breathing without pain. Then after a while, he did the injection in the abdomen, and it was over in a few minutes.

My question now is, how do I ever forgive myself for hurting something I loved so much, something so sweet and precious? I wanted to do right by him, but I messed up and made the wrong choices and did him so wrong. I don't know if I can live with this. I feel like everyone else here would have done sub-q or put him down days sooner, and I feel like the worst person in the world for being too selfish and stupid to do the right thing.

This was him a couple of days ago. God I miss him.


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RIP, sweet Peachy </3 and Remi, the sweetest rat who ever lived, and I was lucky enough to be his Mommy </3

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Old 08-25-2017, 12:47 AM   #2
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I know how it is to second guess yourself when it comes to one so precious to you. I watched my heart rat waste away over a 22 day period because I couldn't let her go, and her death was not peaceful. Believe me when I tell you that all you can ever do in the moment is what you think is best. Grief can make everything else in your life confusing and hazy, including decision making. You sent him off in the most peaceful way possible and put a stop to his pain. I guarantee you if he had the words he would thank you for your mercy. Cry. Cry as much as you need to. You deserve to mourn as much as you need. When you are done, please remember what a gift you two had in each other.

Love and hugs,
Stephanie


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Old 08-25-2017, 07:16 AM   #3
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I know how it is to second guess yourself when it comes to one so precious to you. I watched my heart rat waste away over a 22 day period because I couldn't let her go, and her death was not peaceful. Believe me when I tell you that all you can ever do in the moment is what you think is best. Grief can make everything else in your life confusing and hazy, including decision making. You sent him off in the most peaceful way possible and put a stop to his pain. I guarantee you if he had the words he would thank you for your mercy. Cry. Cry as much as you need to. You deserve to mourn as much as you need. When you are done, please remember what a gift you two had in each other.

Love and hugs,
Stephanie
Thank you so much for these kind words, Stephanie. They mean more than you know.
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Old 08-25-2017, 07:03 PM   #4
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I am very sorry.
We all struggle to know when it is time and we all do the best we can
You did the best you could, and that is all we can do .... and we all second guess ourselves and wish we had known more.
I am glad that you were able to give your sweet boy a humane death so that he would not suffer.
You were there for him and that made a huge difference for him.
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Old 08-26-2017, 07:34 PM   #5
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You are not selfish or stupid -- so far from it! You put so much thought into what was right at each stage.

I had to put my girl to sleep recently, and the vet was really helpful by explaining that there are no black and white answers when it comes to this. We want to make the "right" decision at the right time, but it's never easy to decide, especially when you can't know how they feel or what's going on inside their little bodies.

You sound like a great rat parent, in my opinion. : )
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Old 08-27-2017, 01:01 PM   #6
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First... I'm so very sorry for your loss.

A long time ago, my vet told me there are no right or wrong answers to deciding when it's time. I've been loving rats for over 15 years and I still struggle with that decision.
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Old 09-18-2017, 12:01 AM   #7
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I have been there. I'm sure we all have. We all make mistakes. It sounds like you tried so hard to do the right things. But we all miss pieces sometimes that lead us astray. But you loved him. You fought hard to do the best for him. You aren't stupid or selfish. You were his person and I'm sure even at the end, he was just happy that you were there with him. I really hope you're able to heal and forgive yourself. He is at peace now. You deserve to feel some peace and happiness in your life as well.
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Old 09-19-2017, 04:29 AM   #8
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You're all very kind. I'd expect nothing less from ratty parents. I miss Remi so unbelievably much, and I've cried every day since he's passed. My baby girl Mizzy has cancer and will be leaving me soon, and Remi's brother Zeon has a tumor that's coming off Thursday if all goes well. It's a constant mental struggle trying to decide the right thing to do with them and so much heartache when they pass. For the good of my sanity and my heart, I don't think I'll ever be able to have ratties again once these guys are gone.
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BrendaLee View Post
You're all very kind. I'd expect nothing less from ratty parents. I miss Remi so unbelievably much, and I've cried every day since he's passed. My baby girl Mizzy has cancer and will be leaving me soon, and Remi's brother Zeon has a tumor that's coming off Thursday if all goes well. It's a constant mental struggle trying to decide the right thing to do with them and so much heartache when they pass. For the good of my sanity and my heart, I don't think I'll ever be able to have ratties again once these guys are gone.
If you feel like you can't do it, take a break after these rats. It makes a world of difference, giving yourself time to heal.
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RIP: Pinky, General Stonewall Jackson, Troll, Dotty, Mohini, Phillip, Gumdrop, Eos, Lucille, Tremolo, Trill, Grendel, Jinn, Wilbur, Finley, Gumbo, Scarfhog, Cyril, Maisy, and Mariel.
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Old 10-21-2017, 06:17 PM   #10
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This is the hardest part of being a rat owner


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