Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pipke's Very Last Fight

This post is about death. 
If you don’t want to read about death in great detail, 
best stop reading now.

Last August started off full of hope. Pipke's health was improving. She had gained weight and was eating well for more than a month already. I was preparing a post about her and the electric guitar man.
Yes, my hubby was already working on his new project. His electric guitar.
It was funny to see how Pipke stood there in the doorway while he was working. She had taken on a new pose... we thought.... (she leaned with her belly against the door post).
It was a disillusion to discover later that this pose ... was in fact the forerunner of bad news. Therefore I postponed that was no longer was rather harrowing that we first laughed with it.

From then on she began to eat less and less. She staggered on her little feet, she almost never slept on her belly. That worried us very much. You could sense exhaustion.
Because her weight went down so much we revisited the vet for tube feeding on August 26. (For the19th time over the past ten years, each time for a period of 14, sometimes even 30 days).

On September, 7 there was still no progress and her weight went still downwards... the tube feeding became a real torture for her. Therefore, overwhelmed with sorrow and much pain in our heart we decided to stop the tube feeding.
This was the worst day in our life so far.
It seemed if we had given her up, but that was not at all the case, we could no longer see her suffer. Therefore we still went to the vet, but now only for pain release and vitamins injections, but after a few days, we saw -- that also that became too much for her.

On September, 9 she had her first stroke after she stepped the whole distance alone by herself to her pond. It was such a heartbreaking experience, we thought she had died. We had already said farewell to her, and then...she jumped up again ... very afraid .... looking astonished around. It seemed if she came from very far away.
The rest of that day we kept her inside the house and from then on we installed a warmth lamp for her (even inside the house). You could see that she enjoyed the warmth while she slept in my arms on her belly. That was the first time in more than fourteen days that we saw her sleeping on her belly. That evening when I put her outside in her veranda she moaned, she had never done that before.
That was so heartrending to hear! I said to my husband: "I would like to keep her indoors" but my husband said that "this was not possible".
That night ...I almost couldn't sleep, every few hours I went downstairs to see how she was doing. She stood the whole time with one paw on her water bowl, drinking... without resting. In the very early morning (it was still dark), I took her inside the house. Then I took the decision: from now on she stays inside!

The night of September, 10 -- I slept on a cot in the laundry room. For her - we placed her dogs nest next to the cot on the floor with a little fence around it, but the whole time she stood there against the fence, wobbling on her feet... looking at me... almost begging to pick her up. I couldn't bear to watch how she stood there, so fragile! Therefore I took her up and from then on she slept on her belly on my breast, absorbing the warmth of my body. She cuddled me over and over again, that was so seemed if she would thank me.

On the cot

The following nights I slept with her (rather dozed off so now and then) on the sofa in the living room because sleeping on that cot became almost a torture for me. My husband slept on the other sofa in the room.

After her first stroke you saw her deteriorating very fast.
We tried to comfort her as much we could.
Sometimes, when I stood at the window with her looking out into the garden she started to moan to go outside.
Then I walked with her in my arms through the garden, together with my hubby like we had done so many times before, but this time with one difference: I had to carry her now because she could almost walk no more by herself.
So now and then we went to her pond.

My hubby cleaned her pond and refreshed the water once again so that she could take a clean bath. Oh... that was so tough... knowing... that this would be probably the last bath in her pond.
With everything she did I had to support her, but you could see that she enjoyed being in the garden together with us.
Sometimes, when I sat in the kitchen with her and she heard that my hubby opened the back door (to go to his garden house to work on his guitar), she looked up and turned her head -- then her eyes followed my hubby going outside -- and then she moaned to go with him

Even now she wanted to be his assistant carpenter. Therefore I went with her to the garden house to watch what my hubby was doing. You could see that she was satisfied to be there.

On the evening of September, 11 we went outside with her for the last time. It seemed if she was saying good bye to her little world. It was remarkable... how she was looking around.... observing everything!
For the last time... we sat together on the garden bench... with the three of us... in silence.. listening to the tune* of the ice cream car ... that passed by... as usual around this time... for her... for the very last time.

The days thereafter... there was no longer interest for the outside world. When we stood then at the window ...looking outside into the garden... she was very silent... as if she knew that the end was near.

She became weaker and weaker, skin and bones, she weighed only 802 grams!
The last seven days and also the last four nights I held her close to me to keep her warm and to comfort her. She slept constantly on my breast. So now and then I walked around with her because my body became too stiff from lying down or sitting in the same position.
It was remarkable that during those nights, sometimes I dozed off for a while and then: I didn't turn my body, it seemed almost if my back was glued down on the sofa so that I couldn't hurt her by turning around.
When I opened my eyes then... I saw straight in Pipke's eyes...she was watching me while I dozed off. 
Those lovely sweet eyes... I shall remember them for the rest of my days!

We had always water ready to let her drink. When I asked her then: drink, drink (she understood very well what we said to her, we had our own special language, I always said: we speak “Quacks” to each other) she made a smacking noise with her beak to let us know that she wanted to drink.
Sometimes she had problems with swallowing, then I had to help her to swallow the water that she drunk by massaging her neck. You could see that she appreciated this very much because she held her head up high then, almost like asking for help.
There were moments that I thought that her breathing had stopped and then I stopped my breath to feel hers. Her heartbeat went sometimes so fast ... almost as fast as the shots of a tommy gun.

She had yet five times an other stroke and oh, that was every time such an heartrending experience... to see her suffer so much. Sometimes the stroke took a few hours, and then when we thought it was over.... she jumped up again afraid. Then she crawled very dense against me and pushed her little head against my face in search of security

The night following on September, 13 we experienced the worst night of her and our life.
We couldn't let her suffer more ... it was hopeless!
Oh ... what we once feared the most: we had to let her put down. We had to free her from the pain. She was such a brave fighter ... and we fought together with her ... but ... she had no longer the force to fight. Those last days of her life ....together with her...were the most intensive days of our life.

On Monday morning September, 14 we called the vet, he would call us back for the exact hour.
We sat as long as we could with our hands around Pipke, hugging her... speaking soft to her, and when my husband went away to answer the phone call of the vet ... she moaned a little. It seemed if she knew that .... oh ... I burst into tears very loud!
My dear little Pipke, I wished that we didn't have to take this decision!

The vet came to our house a half hour later (normally his assistant was on duty, but he himself  postponed a not urgent surgery to take care for Pipke).
When my husband opened the door to let him in, I heard my hubby burst into tears... asking the vet to apologize him because he could not keep his emotions under control.
The vet comforted him and said that showing no emotions now would be rather heartless. He knew Pipke already ten years, and also for him she was a special case, not just a duck.
When he saw Pipke, he was really shocked that she was deteriorated so fast. He confirmed that it was hopeless, that it was good that we had called him otherwise, Pipke would have died a hideous death.
Then ... he gave her the releasing injection. It went all very serene ... very quick ... it was as if she fell asleep. 
It was a riddance for her.
Pipke died on my breast at exact 9.10 AM local time.

Since that very last moment, our world became so empty ... we miss her so much! 
Only ... just looking out into the garden makes us cry ... it's as if our world has stopped ... even my hubby's garden house stayed closed. His easy chair stays no longer on the lawn in the afternoon, there's no longer someone waiting for him to take a nap. 
We even walked in the garden no more... it's too hard to bear.
Those last three weeks we shed more tears than we ever shed in our whole life before.
Our little sunshine is no longer here... but she will always stay in our heart and in our thoughts
Since that last time ... together ... sitting on the garden bench ... that ice cream car tune* is always spinning around in my head, it's always present.
From the one hand: I would like it to go away, but on the other hand ... I want it to stay forever ... because it was such a deeply sad, but also such an extreme intense life experience.

She was the best that could ever happen to us.
Life can be so cruel when you lose what's the most precious to you, and for me, it was and will be for ever: 
We will never forget her.
She was such a brave fighter.

Sleep soft my little one!

May 25, 1995 -- September 14, 2009

The same day Pipke became cremated. I shall write about it in an other post.

PS: * Tune of the Ice cream car: always repeating the 22 first notes of the Radetzky march by Johann Strauss in an electronic version.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sleep Soft Pipke

On Monday, September 14, 2009 Pipke died in my arms at exact 9:10 AM local time after a struggle of more than three weeks.
Together with her we fought ... the last week ... even day and night, but she has lost her very last battle.
She was such a brave fighter.
Sleep soft little darling ... we leave your empty nest ... there ... where you always wanted to be:
near our back door ... close to us!
We will nurture this place and everything that does remind us to YOU.

You are no longer here now, but you will always stay in our heart and in our thoughts.
You were our “little sunshine” you gave us the “brightest” light in our life!
You were and will always be the most precious little creature in my life and the best thing that could ever happen to me.

I know one thing: the last I will be thinking of  -  the last name I will mumble when I leave this earth will be:

May 25, 1995 - September 14, 2009

This picture was taken on August 6, 2009 
only five days before she became ill for the very last time.