Monday, June 15, 2009

Meow


Sometime during the last of Christmas holidays, I took care of a patient who was an elderly homeless man. He came in complaining of recurrent dizziness and frostbite to his toes. When I went to greet him, he seemed very worried and held onto his coat as tightly as he could. I tried to reassure him that his belongings would be safe in his room and that there is security throughout the ER keeping an eye on everything. And then his coat meowed. For a second I thought I had finally lost my damn mind but his coat meowed again. The man finally opened it and inside was a tiny little mangy black kitten that I wanted to cat-nap immediately. The man said that although he was feeling very sick (and he looked it), he didn’t want to leave Tiger out on the street in case he never finds him again. Apparently Tiger was separated from its mom and siblings and the poor thing looked like it was scared to death. The man said that prior to finding Tiger, he was contemplating suicide and if he couldn’t keep Tiger, then he’d leave. Now I had to tell him the man that animals are not allowed in the ER but we didn’t want to separate the two. Long story short, we found a box, lined it with a warm blanket, put some tuna and milk in denture cups and let Tiger be watched at the main security desk. The man got admitted and the staff pitched in to get Tiger seen by a vet and get neutered. Owner and cat left a few weeks later in good spirits. I write about this now because the man came back to the ER a few days ago and was completely unrecognizable. He wanted to thank us for taking care of Tiger and setting him up with the right community resources because he’s no longer homeless. Moral of the story – pets are wonderful for your health. Now to go feed my giant roving cotton ball of a cat.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you.
Yvonne ED RN

Mar's Bar said...

pets are so amazing. I'm glad be took care of the little guy and the kitten took care of him!

Reality Rounds said...

Great story! I have a little black cat who is very old now (15 years). She was the runt of the litter and sick. The mommy cat would not let her nurse with the rest of the litter. This was the cat for me. They let me adopt her because I was a NICU nurse and could take care of preemies! Otherwise I think she would have starved to death.

Surgeon In My Dreams said...

BLess you for what you all did. It would have been so much easier for you to stick to the rules and have a business only attitude, but you saw past the rules and into someone's heart.

Maha said...

What can I say - I work at a place that's full of people who have very soft spots for animals :)

RR - glad to know nursing experience can be carried over to pet care!

Holly said...

This is why I love animals, they're so inspiring and helpful, even if they don't know it. This is a great story, thanks for sharing. :)

VetRN said...

You rock!!! I also work with a bunch of animal-lovers, and we have bent the rules on many occasions to accommodate the pets of patients (and staff). We have hidden dogs that ride with truckers, pets flying with their owners, and the occasional cold, hungry stray. We have given subq fluids to another nurse's dehydrated, vomiting kitten, and taken turns bottle-feeding an abandoned litter. And when my husband was deployed in the early days of the Iraq war, I took my (then) 5-month-old Lab puppy, crate and all, to work with me every night, as I could not keep her crated at home for the 14 hours I was gone (12-hour shift plus travel time). She stayed in her crate, covered with a blanket, outside in the ambulance bay until the ER started to quiet down each night, then we'd find an empty room to put her in. She got lots of walks, treats, and attention. And if the hallways finally emptied, she sometimes got to play ball or fetch in the halls. It was an open secret; everyone knew (except my own department head) including the house supervisors, who also came down for some playtime. Thanks for caring!

girl_in_greenwood said...

That's the best story I've heard all week. Thank you for sharing it.

Erin said...

For some reason, cats keep following me home in Calgary. The cutest little orange cat practically followed me right into the building last night. I think this is a sign that Erin needs a cat.

One Nurse said...

This is amazing!!! It is times like this that make me know I REALLY love being a nurse! We need more RN's like you! Thanks for sharing that story!

gabbiana said...

Awww. Yay for a happy ED story!

Bethany said...

Thank you for caring for creatures great AND small. Our cats have gotten my family through the yuckiest of times, and made us laugh when all we could do was cry. Definitely furry morale-boosters!

Old MD Girl said...

This story made me smile. You guys did a great thing for this man.

Danielle Combs said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so compassionate (of course, it helps that you work in a place with other compassionate people, too). THIS is a story worth reading about. You've done much to improve my huge lack of faith in humankind. This really made my day.

woolywoman said...

Holy Freaking Cats. That is a lifetime nursing best ever.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping and healing our four-pawed friends and their two-footed companions.

chuckr44 said...

Good story. But cats should not be fed milk, even though they like it. Tuna should be fine.

Tee said...

Oh, wow! This just about made me cry! I think it's wonderful that you and your co-workers saw beyond this man's physical problems and went above and beyond the call of duty to help him!

John said...

I fully tie in with everything you have printed.
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