Monday, June 15, 2009
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.