Saturday, 9 June 2007

Sparkle...and this time, the news is much worse... *Sobs*

Some of you may remember my post of a few weeks ago, speaking of my poor old guinea pig, Sparkle, who kept having "off" days when he didn't eat, and appeared to have had a stroke, meaning he was now dragging his leg along.   :(

A few days later, Sparkle made a miraculous recovery.  :D   He started eating again, and his leg was back to normal.

Then last Friday, he had another "off" day.  He didn't eat or drink a thing, was sitting in the corner of his hutch, and even when I got him out he just curled up in my arms.  We decided to take him to the vet the following day, but when we awoke, he was absolutely fine.  We took him anyway, and saw a lady who was in place of our usual vet while he was off sick.  She had a look at his back teeth (supposedly - I thought you could only look at rodent teeth properly by sedating them :huh: ), and said they looked fine.  Since he was now OK, she sent him home with us, and he kept improving.

On Tuesday, he was better than ever, running around and back to his old self. :)   Mum cleaned out his hutch, and I gave him a slice of cucumber which he gulped down hungrily.  He seemed to be making up for lost time after all of his "off" days. :biggrin:   

I went out to post a letter and, upon returning, got Sparkle out of his hutch again (We've been spoiling him ever since he got sick) for some lettuce.  He took two enormous bites out of the lettuce leaf, and seemed his usual happy and excited self. :)   But then he stopped eating, and turned his back on me. (He was on my Mum's lap, while I sat next to her and fed him)  He continued to make loud chewing noises, but refused to eat.  :lookround:   Mum said she'd go and get something else for him out of the fridge, and handed him to me.  That's when I noticed that he had been dribbling terribly and was absolutely DRENCHED in saliva. :nervous:   When Mum returned, she said that Sparkle must have peed on her, since there was a huge wet patch on her jumper AND right through to her trousers. :nervous:  I realised that poor Sparkle had dribbled all over her too.  He couldn't eat the cucumber (obviously) even though he was very interested in it, and was foaming at the mouth. :(  Soon he started making little choking motions - almost as though he wanted to vomit, but I know that's impossible in guinea pigs, and then started uttering little squeaks of what we believe to have been pain as he did so. :(

We rang Dad up at work, and told him to hurry home, but it was still two and a half hours before we could get my poor guinea pig to the vet, during which time little Sparky had soaked through most of the settee cushions, a hand towel and no less than thirty-six sheets of kitchen towel. :nervous:

Our normal vet, Nathan, was back, and gave Sparkle a thorough looking over.  He weighed him and found he was only about 24-25 ounces (700g), meaning he'd lost a quarter of his weight in a month. :(   He noticed his stomach was bloated, and tried to get a look down his throat.  Sparkle made a horrible gurgling noise, which Nathan said was "not usual", but he couldn't get a proper look without sedating him, so he gave him two injestions, one painkiller and one anti-inflammatory.  My brave little piggy didn't even flinch.  Good on you, Sparkle! :bigups:   We were told to bring him in for the procedure the next morning, but sedation is dangerous in such small animals, so we were to expect the worst. :(

Sparkle kept dribbling, and as his fluids went down, he got weaker and weaker.  Even following the painkiller, he continued to squeal (making me think it was probably shock, as opposed to pain) and we kept him out on our laps all day, which he seemed to enjoy. :) 

He got worse and worse, and eventually got to a point where even I thought it would have been kinder to have him put down, but all of the veterinary surgeries were shut by then, and emergency clinics wouldn't come out "just for a guinea pig". :angry:  

We'd already decided to stay up all night with him - if we were going to lose him tomorrow morning, we may as well look after him until then.  At 12.15am, I took him off of my Mum for my shift, while she went upstairs to the bathroom.  Before that though, she boiled some water for a hot water bottle.

I noticed when I took him off of her that Sparkle had gone really limp, and could barely hold his head up.  He tried to jump off of my lap on to the floor where he would normally eat his supper, but even with my support to get him to the floor, he collapsed on the carpet. :(

I scooped him up, and sat on the settee, and began to sing to him, as I often did in happier times, to keep him calm.  He summonsed all of his strength to get into an upright position, front feet on my chest, nose pressed into my neck, while he sat on my hand, and then he tilted his poor head back and gazed into my eyes with a fixed expression.  I felt his heart beating harder and faster, and I guess it was a heart attack.  He turned his head, and realised that my Mum was no longer in the room, then he looked up at me, pleading.  So I calmly walked the length of the living room and out into the hall, speaking to him all the time, before shouting up the stairs to the bathroom, using as few words as I could, "He's going!  Hurry!"  Then I calmly walked back to the settee and continued talking and singing to him.

Mum walked back into the room, and said something along the lines of, "I've been here all of this time, and then I have to go out the room - the timing's immaculate."  Sparkle heard her, and turned his head towards the sound, with two horrible jerky motions.  Then he looked back at me as Mum said, "I have to turn the hot water bottle water off, before the saucepan boils dry", and rushed out into the kitchen.

Sparkle took a few last gasps, and then I felt his heart fading away...  He died in my arms at 12.25am.  There's nothing I can say to express my sadness.

However, the weirdest thing happened next.  I am not a very religious person, but following his "death", I recalled seeing something out of the corner of my eye.  As he took his last breath, and I gazed into his face, a purple glittery mist floated away from him, and dispersed a few inches above his head. :huh:   I have never seen that with any of my other guinea pigs, and my family seem to think I was hallucinating, but I was not. :lookround:  I didn't cry after his heart had stopped beating and he had "died", because I felt he was still there.  When Mum returned to the settee, I felt something in my brain (not a usual thought, or silliness within myself) urging me to hold his body out to her, and get her to pet his head.  As soon as her hand touched his fur, I felt a wave of calmness, and sensed something leaving, almost as if he had died all over again. :huh:   It's the strangest thing I have ever experienced. :huh:

I made him a coffin from an old cardboard box, kitchen towel and hay, and then surrounded him with flowers.  We took his body to the vets on Wednesday, and are going to have him cremated.  Even the vet and nurses there were in tears, and sent us a sympathy card today, with a picture of a guinea pig who looks just like him on the front.  That's how very special he was to everyone.  Now I just need to think of a message for his casket that is special enough for such a lovely pet.

I hope that Sparkle is somewhere better now, and that he isn't suffering any more.  He truly was the best guinea pig in the world - so very, very friendly, and all of us are devestated to lose such a big part of the family.

R.I.P. Little Bright Spark.