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March 7, 2007 - Cody left us

Dear Friends of Jungle Friends,

I want to thank you all for your prayers, your compassionate emails and cards that you sent to us in honor of Cody in this desperate time. I know that your prayers helped Cody through his journey and helped all of us who were caring for Cody, but in the end we could not keep him with us. On Sunday afternoon, Cody left this world for the next.

Cody was one of the most loving monkeys at Jungle Friends and we will miss him every day. It is with great sadness that I write to share the story of Cody's last days.

On Friday, March 2, Cody did not come to eat breakfast. Lee checked on him, and alerted me that he was vomiting, and by the time I arrived, he had diarrhea. We rushed him to the vet school, where many tests were done, radiographs, ultra sound, blood test-still, the doctors could not make a diagnosis without surgery. Cody's diabetes predisposed him to infections, so he had a few strikes against him and there was little hope Cody could survive the infection with antibiotics alone. After speaking to all of the doctors involved and Cody's humans, we opted for the surgery.

Cody was in surgery for about five hours last Saturday. They did not find a tumor or a tear or anything to "fix"; however, they cleaned out much of the infection. His liver looked very bad, and his pancreas was stuck inside a ball of fatty tissue, which had appeared as a possible tumor on the x-rays. His lungs didn't look bad, but Cody now appeared to have pneumonia on top of the other problems. Still, they found no direct cause for the infection and Cody was now septic. But he made it through the surgery and was sitting up when Lee arrived for a visit.

Even though the doctors told us that Cody's prognosis was guarded and that he was still critical, we were hopeful. They suggested Cody stay at the hospital where they could monitor him and help him through any complications that might arise.

Sunday morning we called to check on Cody and the doctor told us he had a rough night and they had to put him on oxygen. As we prepared to go and visit Cody with some of his favorite foods and toys, we got another call-Cody had arrested! He was on a ventilator and not breathing on his own, and his pupils were fixed and unresponsive; the doctor felt there was virtually no chance for recovery. Lee and CJ headed quickly to the vet school to get Cody; if he had to die, we wanted him to die at home, surrounded by his friends.

Here is Lee's account of Cody's final hours.

When CJ and I left to pick up Cody, I was only hoping that he would be able to make it back to Jungle Friends to be with his friends one last time so they could say their goodbyes in their own monkey ways. We were not prepared for finding that his condition had actually improved! He was breathing on his own again, his pupils were again responsive to light, he was blinking and was able to squeeze our fingers. We held his hands, stroked his head, and talked to him, telling him how much he was loved. Needless to say the emotions were running high! Our Cody-man was alive and there was still hope.

However, Cody was slowly fading. Two doctors and two technicians were working to help him. The doctors explained that, although he was able to breathe on his own, because of the pneumonia it was very hard work. The struggle to breathe was exhausting him, leaving no energy to heal, so they recommended putting Cody back on the ventilator for 3 to 4 hours to give him a chance to rest.

CJ stroked Cody's hand and explained that we were not leaving him, we would be back, that we just wanted let the doctors help him to breathe. CJ and I went to the waiting room to contact Kari, update her, and consider what decisions might need to be made at the next step, when Cody came off the ventilator. But Cody took the decision into his own hands. In a very short time the technician ran to get us; Cody was in cardiac arrest again.

We rushed back to Cody's side; the scene that met our eyes was Cody on the table with one doctor administering oxygen breaths, a technician doing heart compressions and the other doctor monitoring vitals. After a few stunned moments, I heard CJ say "I think he's gone." No, the medical team told us, he has a heat beat, it's just slow. But it was fading, not growing stronger. I started crying and blurted out "Cody, is this the path you have chosen?" He didn't respond, and I knew.

Only a very few minutes had passed, but everything seemed to be in slow motion; it seemed hours had gone by, the room was void of sounds and all I was aware of was myself crying and kissing Cody goodbye. CJ told me later that she felt Cody's presence strongly in the room; I am relieved to know that Cody was aware at the end that we were there and that he didn't die alone.

Cody had many friends and was so loved by all who knew him, monkey and human alike. We were able to bring Cody's body back to Jungle Friends for his friends there to say goodbye; I believe his spirit had already returned there.

Goodbye my Cody-man; I hope your journey is good.

All sponsorship funds for Cody will be put in the Memorial Medical Fund, to pay for emergency care that other monkeys may need. Donations to the Medical Fund and in memoriam sponsorships in Cody's honor can be made on our website.

Lots of monkey love,
Kari and the monks