Yesterday while working in China, my wife called from the hospital to say that Beethoven was in a very bad way, and that he might not last much longer. Fortunately, our work in China had to stop earlier than planned, and I rushed back to Hong Kong to the hospital in Mong Kok.
Beethoven looked restful and relatively calm when I saw him. The hospital had increased his pain relief and he was feeling better. My wife had stayed with him all day and was extremely exhausted. I suggested that she return home while I stayed with Beethoven through the night. At the time, I felt he still had a chance of recovery.
For almost two hours, I lied on the floor next to him, looking into his eyes and reassuring him. His breathing was calm and relatively normal. It was a companionship, an experience that I'll treasure. But then at around 2:30 in the morning, he became restless and began complaining about pain again. The pain became so intolerable that without regard for his weak state, he stood up and vocalised his fear and distress, understanding that his condition was very very dire. I held him and tried to calm him while asking the doctor to increase his pain relief, but while the doctor was injecting more pain relief and a sedative to relax him, he suddenly had a heart attack and was no longer with us. The pain had simply been too much for him. He died at 3am.
I now know a lot about pancreatitis. I wish I didn't, but I do. Reflecting in the early hours this morning after saying our goodbyes, my wife and I came to realise that Beethoven may have been suffering from mild chronic pancreatitis for several months. But if vets find it difficult to spot and diagnose acute pancreatitis, how could normal people like ourselves diagnose mild chronic pancreatitis? It's an unfortunate calamity and I keep wishing that I could roll back time and make things right.
When Beethoven was a pup, he belonged to a neighbour. For whatever reason though, he chose to visit us daily and be with us. He chose us, and for that, I'll be eternally grateful. He was a wonderful friend and I'll never forget him. R.I.P.
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