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06 November 2008

So Much to Learn...

Best quote of the night, "I heard that Obama got elected president, then I started to feel sick to my stomach, and then I just started throwing up."
- 7 year old patient being seen for abdominal pain and vomiting

This is my newest cat Lacey, and some of you know that Lacey is d
eaf. I discovered it about 2 weeks after I got her when I realized that she wasn't reacting to the other 2 cats hissing at her even though they were mere inches apart. It was also just about the time she was finally over her upper respiratory infection from the stress of a new environment, and she started exploring around the apartment. Most cats will stop doing something at the sound of a loud clap or rustle of a newspaper, but Lacey didn't. I was trying to teach her her name and commands like I had Winston and Sofie, but she just didn't seem to get it.

Then there was the screaming. She would meow softly, then louder, then louder until it sounded like someone was twisting her tail off. And, that was when I was sitting in the same room. If she didn't see someone the scream was even louder. That's when I realized that she might be deaf. I went online and started researching what to do with a deaf cat. My husband laughed when I told him we were now parents of a "special needs" child. Still it's been a learning process for me and Lacey. One of the articles I came across talked about teaching your cat sign language. Given my schedule, it's been a challenge to be consistent, but she's still able to tell me what she needs. And, since she's attached herself to my male cat who is more tolerant of her, the screaming is limited to when she doesn't see him in the room when she wakes up.

I bring this up, because Lacey has taught me how something so simple could become so complicated. I wanted a new cat, I thought it was t
ime. I went to the Humane Society multiple times over the course of about a month to pick out just the right kitten to bring home.

They say that you don't pick your cat, your cat picks you, and it was fated the way I ended up with her. I was casually t
alking to the volunteer about when they might get some more kittens in, and we were walking by the older adult cat cages. I had briefly noted that her tag read 5 months old without even really looking at her, and I asked about cats making adjustments with adding an older cat.

The volunteer and I stopped and talked in front of Lacey's cage for a while, and it was during that time that I finall
y took a look at her. She was just about what I wanted with her longer fur and black coat. On a whim, I asked if I could see her and took her to the cat room. She started purring and walking around the room curiously exploring. I didn't think much about the fact that she wouldn't come when called. She was a stray. But, the more I sat with her, the more I really liked her. Then she did the ultimate. I asked if she wanted to go home with me and she fell on the floor in front of me and did the feet in the air upside down glance. I was hooked.

I think about her while I am at work. How the simplest thing can become so complicated so easily, and how I have so much still to learn.

picked up a chart yesterday that read "vaginal bleeding." Now, I knew this meant doing a pelvic, which I've talked about extensively, so you know my feelings on that, but I figured it would be quick and easy. Not so much. Following a surgical procedure on her cervix, this patient developed a condition which is common 10 - 14 days later which could cause her to bleed to death. As soon as I started my exam, I knew something was wrong, and I called my attending into the room. My patient ended up going emergently to the OR. I will find out what happened to her when I go back tomorrow.

I had another patient who woke up this morning feeling as though the room was spinning. I can tell you there were a lot of college nights I felt the same, but that's another story. He lay back down and then tried again a few minutes later and the room continued to spin. He tried to sit up and then started feeling so nauseated he had to lie down again. That's when he woke up his wife who called 911. Something simple - vertigo, however his blood pressure was 260/140. Not so simple. There's a condition where you can have a stroke or bleed in the cerebellar part of your brain which leads to these exact symptoms. He was rushed to the CAT scan almost as soon as he arrived and was stabilized. He was transferred to our stroke center Gates Hospital within about 1/2 hour after he arrived. I will be checking on him too.

I am still adjusting to life with a deaf cat. She knows finger pointing at door means go through it and out. And, about 75% of the time she actually does it. We're both still learning.


Jeanie said...

There is always a reason for everything in our lives. Your little angel cat was meant to come home with you Veronica. You will soon be 'trained up' by your special needs cat. Lol!
Enjoy the experience.
Jeanie xx

erarein63 said...

Oh's bad enough I'm half deaf I can only imagine dealing with a deaf cat, lol. I love the little girl's reasoning behind getting the tummy bug, lol. I felt that way all night Tuesday. And I hate the pelvics too, this one needed to be there but 95% of them just need to go to their gyn. Have a good one! De ;)

Claudia's thoughts said...

My cat Lucy also has hearing problems. You have to really shout or make a loud noise before you get a reaction. Sometimes she seems so startled when someone goes by. My vet told me that cats can hear a mouse rustle in the grass 300 feet away. Lucy would have starved in the wild. I have taken all of my cats out of the gene pool.


Lori said...

I'm so glad she picked you! I think it's great that you are working with her and getting her trained.