Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bad Kitty and the Hospice Nurse

2250 hrs. -- After being, seemingly, on his death bed for several days, Stanley L. has "rallied". Not only is he now up and about, but he's also being abusive, paranoid and is refusing to take his meds.

I sit at the cluttered, kitchen table with the patient and his wife. Marie looks disheveled and exhausted. Stanley is painfully gaunt, grizzled and exuding obstinance. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that this frail, dying man has made the trip from his bedroom to the kitchen. Note to self: never underestimate the power of the near-death "rally".

"Please, take your pills, Stan", I beg. "I know that you'd feel so much better."

"Forget it. I just want you to call the police and get that crazy woman out of my house! She has no business bein' here!"

All of my pleas and logic are for naught. Our conversation is going in circles. Stan vehemently refuses to take his medications and then returns to his delusional train of thought. I look at Marie... she rolls her eyes and gives a little shake of her head.

Suddenly, a cat jumps onto the table and positions itself directly in front of me. Its face is within inches of mine.

"Don't touch him!", shouts Stanley. "He's mean!"

I can take a hint. The cat is matted and filthy. Its left, front leg is missing, his left ear is nearly bitten off and the left eye is also gone. Good grief... no wonder the cat is so ill-tempered, it's missing at least one of everything.

"Hello, Tripod," I say.

"How the hell did ya know that's his name?", laughs Stanley. I feign surprise about my "lucky" guess and manage to get him to chat a bit about his beloved cat. Maybe now, I can take advantage of Mr. L's improved mood...

Taking the small cluster of pills in my hand, I explain the purpose of each one to Mr. L., hoping that he'll realize that no harm is intended.

"Okay, I'll take them.", he says, reaching for the pills. I hand them over and Mr. L. promptly flings them to the floor. Tripod immediately makes a three-legged leap from the table and heads for the medications.

"Gahhh!", I screech as both Marie and I dive to the floor to retrieve the pills. I mutter and curse myself for my stupidity as I crawl on all fours under the kitchen table.

Once again I am face to face with Tripod as I fumble amid the piles of fur and petrified cat turds. The cat has found one of the small tablets and is batting it around. With some hesitation, I reach for the pill and Tripod smacks me across the face with his paw. I jerk back and hit my head sharply on the underside of the table.

"Oww! Crap! Ohhh... that hurts." I'm seeing stars and need a few seconds to clear my head. The fog lifts and I see that both Tripod and the pill are gone. Still on the floor, I peer over the edge of the table and look at Mr L.:

"Mr. L., I'm pretty sure Tripod took off with your Ativan. It'd be awful if something bad happens to him!"

"Yeah, I'd feel real bad. I'm really sorry about all this."

Marie and I do a pill count. We're missing just the one Ativan and the cat is nowhere in sight. For now, all we can do is hope that Tripod has no interest in eating it.

Done in by all the excitement, Stan is happy to let us tuck him back into bed. Marie, satisfied with this turn of events, bids me "goodnight". So I head for home... covered in fur, smelling a bit "cat pissy" and sporting a new bump on my head.

Two days later, Mr. L. passed on and Tripod is still among the living. I'd like to say that, thanks to Ativan, he's now sweet, cuddly and anxiety-free...but I'd be lying.

The Mean Kitty Song


Jessica Knapp said...

Oh man. And I thought I had a bad day at work!

Do you mind if I link to your blog, too?

dethmama said...

I'd be honored... I enjoy your blog very much. I've also sent you an email.

Hope you have a better day at work and watch out for "bad kitties"!

Anonymous said...

Man, that brought back memories, yet shone a differnt light. I'm sorry for your day but thanks for the smile.