The Puppy Is Cat-ching On

, , , , | Healthy Related | September 18, 2017

One of my friends works for the local vet’s office. It’s a small town with no animal shelter, so if strays are found, the vet will usually take them for a few days until they can find the owner, or place them in a home. My friend knew we’d lost our dog a few months before, and called me up one day to say that they’d just been brought a litter of stray puppies that they needed to find homes for, and if my family wanted one, she’d bring one over that night.

My family talked it over, and even though we weren’t really ready to move on from our other dog’s death, we knew the vet’s office would have trouble finding homes for a full litter of puppies and didn’t have the room to take care of them, and decided it was better for us to take one. So, that night, my friend brought over a tiny golden retriever puppy.

She’d warned us that the puppies they’d found were too young to be away from the mother, which is part of why they were so worried about being able to find good homes for them, but we hadn’t realized just how young they were until she showed up. We fed and cleaned the puppy and made a bed for her where she’d be warm, but the poor thing was clearly stressed out, and started crying as soon as we walked away. We were worried that we’d have to stay up with her all night, when our rather elderly male cats, who’d been very curious about the new arrival, decided to step in.

After sniffing her and touching noses, both of our cats decided that this tiny little thing was probably some kind of strange kitten, and it was their job to take care of her. They curled up on either side of her and started grooming her, and the puppy immediately stopped crying, and snuggled in. My dad had set an alarm to remind him to get up and feed her, but shortly before the alarm went off, one of the cats came and woke him up. For the week or so after that, the cats continued to let us know when the puppy needed to be fed or taken outside, until she was old enough to eat solid food and let us know herself.

As the puppy grew up, the cats continued to take care of her. They taught her how to go up and down stairs, how to find the best spots to nap in the sun, that she should stay away from the road, to come when the humans called her, how to groom herself, and where the treats were kept. The puppy never did get the hang of climbing trees, but she’s surprisingly adept at stalking mice and chipmunks!

The cats were a bonded pair, and they died within a few months of each other when the puppy was three. A few years later, she found our kitten, and happily carried on what her foster parents had started, cuddling and comforting the new arrival and teaching her all the important things. So, our dog thinks she’s a cat. Our cat thinks she’s a dog. Our animals may be a little confused, but they all get along beautifully, and no one seems to mind when the new kitten plays fetch!

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Getting Hysterectical

, , , , | Healthy | June 25, 2017

(I got a hysterectomy because I hate my period and never want to have children. When I wake up from the anaesthetic, there’s a nurse standing over my bed.)

Nurse: “Don’t you ever want kids?”

(That was literally the first thing she said. I thought of so many responses later, but at the time I was too stunned and groggy to say anything. Also: period-free life is awesome. 10/10 highly recommend.)

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The Importance Of Life-Saving Sandwiches

, , | Healthy Working | April 27, 2017

I work at a large mine in an isolated area. As a member of our Technical Rescue Team, I have been called many times to assist the local sheriff’s Search and Rescue.

One day in late May, when wildfires less than 20 miles away are suffusing the air with smoke, we receive a page to proceed to a canyon near the state line. This canyon has a highway carved into a steep rock wall, with the debris pushed down into the chasm. In the past, our team had been called to the area to remove the remains of drivers who crashed through the guardrails, so we are ready for the worst.

When we arrive, the SO officers tell us a father and his three sons have “hiked” to the bottom of the canyon and are stranded. They actually scrambled down approximately 600 feet of broken rock, and then found that climbing back up was impossible. It is after 5:00 pm when we arrive.

By the time we manage to get rescuers to the bottom and formulate an extraction plan, darkness has set in. I am the first down, making contact and bringing water and flashlights. Other team members follow close behind, and we move the group (father with sons 6, 7, and 9 years old) to the raise point. One of the team members brought a backpack with sandwiches, granola bars, and water. The boys agree to wait for the sandwiches until we reach the top and gobble up the granola bars (I’ll admit, the one I had was the best ever).

The trip back up the fractured rock pile takes nearly two hours, most of the time at least partially suspended on the main-line rope. There are several small incidents (lost cell phones and tennis shoes, rolling rocks, etc.) on the way up, but topping out and disconnecting was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. The family is rushed to a waiting ambulance for evaluation, and my team leader and incident commander examine the other rescuers and me carefully before allowing us to stow our gear and get ready to leave.

I remembered that I had the sunglasses of one of the children in my pack, so I went to the back of the ambulance and opened the door to return them. That’s when the youngest asked, in one of the smallest, most plaintive voices I’ve ever heard, “But what about our sandwiches?”

When we drove away into the dawn, the father and three boys were standing in front of the ambulance eating sandwiches.

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The Store Employs Manual Labor

, | Healthy | April 26, 2017

(I’m standing in line with a few items to purchase from a well-known clothing store. The store has its music quite loud, so I can’t really hear anything said between the employees at the front of the line. One dashes past me, almost knocking over a rack of clothes, and grabs the manager by the arm. She says something, the manager turns pale, and tells the other girl on the register something, who looks confused and starts checking people out at lightning speed. All the other employees in the store run full pelt to the changing rooms. I manage to catch some of what the manager says into her phone as she runs past, but all I hear is “I need an ambulance!” I step out of line and drop my clothes to follow her. As I reach the changing rooms an employee stops me from entering.)

Employee: “I’m sorry, miss, but the changing rooms are closed right now. I’ll be able to help you soon.”

Me: “What’s going on? I’m—”

(Mid-sentence I am cut off by a shriek I know VERY well. I unzip my jacket, showing my hospital ID still clipped to my shirt pocket. The employee shoves me through the curtain.)

Manager: “[Employee]! I told you not to let anyone back here!”

Me: “Trust me; you NEED me! I’m a midwife!”

(And that was the day I delivered a healthy baby girl in the changing room at a clothing store!)

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The Patient Isn’t The Only One With Patience

, , , | Healthy Working | March 25, 2017

The hospital I work for lets patients leave comments about something good that happened to them during their stay. Once a month, the best stories are picked and shared with everyone. This story really stuck with me.

A patient who was doing an extended stay at the hospital came running out of her room in tears, screaming for help. [Nurse #1] happened to be nearby and ran to the patient’s side checking for injuries; she seems to be okay, but she is begging the nurse for help. The patient explains that she’s just gotten off the phone with her sister and it is her sister that needs help. Her sister had been having a rough go at life recently and could no longer take it; she had called to say goodbye. [Nurse #1] immediately calls for another nurse for help as she helps the patient back her her room. She briefly explains the situation to the second nurse who pulls out his phone and dials 911 as the patient attempt to get her sister back on the line.

For the next 20-30 minutes the two nurses never leave the patient’s side. [Nurse #1] is keeping a close look at the patient’s health while giving her suggestions on things to say to keep her sister on the line, as it would mean more coming from a loved one rather than a stranger. Meanwhile, [Nurse #2] is on the phone covertly getting the sister’s information from the patient and passing it along to the dispatcher.

Unfortunately, it seems that the sister catches on and swallows a handful of pills before hanging up the phone… mere minutes before the paramedics pull into her drive. Since [Nurse #2] is still on the phone with dispatch, he is able to convey to them exactly what had happened inside the house — they even know what kind of pills she’d taken! The paramedics rush the sister to the emergency room where they are able to save her life. The paramedics and dispatch are in constant contact with [Nurse #2], relaying information through him to our patient, up until the point when the sister is admitted.

The nurses went above and beyond for the patient. They could have simply called 911 and reported the situation, but they stayed by the patient’s side and treated her sister, who lives in a completely different city. A huge thank you also has to go out to the paramedics and 911 dispatcher who kept the patient informed through the entire ordeal.

I am happy to report that at the time of me writing this, both sisters are doing well.

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