Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cat Nips

There’s an unfortunate man who comes to the ED a lot. He has terrible heart failure, and isn’t a clinical candidate for a heart transplant. Most of the time he stays alone in his room, keeping to himself, simply waiting for his time to end. When he feels especially lonely, he calls EMS and comes to see us. It’s what passes in his life for a social call.

So we’re trying to figure out what we can do to help this man, to help him build a relationship with someone or something other than the health care system of this fine community.

“He needs a kitten,” says the Unit Clerk.

The Tech shakes her head. (Brace yourself, and remember we are in the ED, not a place for normal humans.)

“No, that’s a bad idea. When he dies, the cat’ll eat him.”

This was new knowledge to me. I had no idea that cats ate dead people. That being said, the story of Oscar, the cat that sits by dying residents in a Massachusetts nursing home, makes a lot more sense. Oscar’s not there to provide comfort to those heading towards the Great Beyond. Apparently, he’s out looking for a snack.

Because this is the ED, however, the conversation doesn’t stop just because it’s breached the limits of decency. The Nurse pipes up next.

“You know, if he got several cats, he can save on funeral expenses.”

“So he would be consumed by pussy,” says the Tech.

Metaphorically, I hope.

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