Docs and Codes

I went through a lot helping spay/neuter 2,500 feral cats, many more now since I moved to a place where they shoot cats and ask questions later.

As head of Transport I made sure the cats got down the line from tipping (tip the right ear as these cats are smart enough never to be trapped again and caretakers know which ones had already been done), so ears and vaccines. At the end of the line was fleas and combing. I had to make sure the cat did not awaken during that time before he/she was put in a numbered crate. We took good care of them as I had crate cleaners pre-surgery and breathers post-surgery. Good folks.

If the tag came out with a code for tapeworms I knew the docs or ER would take care of it. If I found it I just brought the cat back into the OR to document the issue so ER could issue the drug. Docs asked how I knew a cat had tapeworms. Little pieces of rice that move. After a couple of months they believed me and signed the order. This is the only time this cat has to be healthy so if he/she has any type of worms it is the time to fix it.

I quickly learned all the codes I had to transmit to ER and Transport and Breathers, they made rounds and made certain they were breathing until they awakened from anesthesia. I made my own wake-up list on my computer so they could check a form so they knew one had not awakened as yet (extra care) and another was just taking a nap.

Two stories, sad and scary. I’ll do scary first.

An eight-week old kitten came out of surgery and was barely breathing. ER was a van. I climbed in and had to give him slight acupressure until he was breathing on his own. I called for a volunteer to get his crate by number and lifted him into it. He had extra breather instructions to keep a close eye on him and he was OK.

The saddest was when I saw a Dr. code I did not recognize. HBC. I asked ER what it meant. She said Hit By Car. The docs did everything they could do but he didn’t make it and died in the van. We all cried. Fellow volunteers took photos that day, one of my butt reaching down to check on a cat before we had tables (made by volunteers, more like folding sawhorses with plywood). Heaven will bless them for that gesture. The other was of the cat, hoping for the best and not getting there that day. We did make a great difference but it was so sad to see one go.

Often when a family member is ill and actually has health insurance and is in hospital or hospice the best thing you can do is be there. Years ago my mother had cancer surgery and my new husband and I flew out to see her. We walked into the room after she had dismissed us over Thanksgiving then the next day because I got the flu and my dear husband said, after a couple of years, hello.

He changed the subject. He was not talking about her cancer, but about his father and selling the dairy and starting the ranch. He left to use the restroom and she said the nicest thing she ever said to me, “he’s a sweetheart.” I know, mom, I married him. She appreciated that he told her stories from a kind of life she’d never lived.

Be kind. Back up your beliefs. Love your family and friends. Cheers, Dee


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