We’re now on the edge of winter and I’ve got cats on my mind.
That’s because we are experiencing our first “frozen fog” of the season and it’s getting very cold at night. There are many homeless cats and kittens who need homes. They need a warm place to curl up and be cozy in and they need good cat lovers who will be their persons.
There’s also another dimension to all of this musing, especially if you’re a caregiver. Cats make excellent care companions for the elderly.
A while back, I shared the story about the stray cat who had come to live with my elderly aunt and uncle. When the cat died, my aunt really went into mourning. She was not given a replacement cat because of the fear she might trip over a cat or kitten.
That’s an important issue with an aging parent who may be on a walker. However, if you’ve got that issue worked out, then you might think seriously about getting a cat.
Unfortunately the shelters are full of homeless cats who could brighten up the long winter days of our elderly. Many kittens need homes and their numbers are increasing. It could be a win/win for everyone involved.
While I was doing research for this post I came across an adoption success story I wanted to share because it involves a British stray who has become very famous. Larry, the cat, was adopted by Prime Minister David Cameron and is now a cat celebrity.
Larry was primarily adopted to shoo away mice from the street in from of #10 Downing Street. Seems you can’t have a rodent problem at the famous London landmark especially with the press around.
Not only has Larry performed his tasks very well, but he has also tried to get rid of some members of the press. Was he encouraged to do that? Interesting…. Not to mention, Larry was involved in a fight with another cat recently. No one said he was supposed to be perfectly behaved at all times.
Larry’s story is a successful one since he was given a chance after being discovered at the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Larry had a lot of potential but it took someone to give Larry the opportunity he needed for feline accomplishments.
Here are the latest developments about the recent meningitis outbreak. We now know the identity of the manufacturer of the steroids given to the infected patients. The company is located in Framingham, Mass.
The product has been recalled and the jury is still out if the vials of medication are completely responsible for the tragedy.
One question I have is why was the first clinic involved identified much quicker than the manufacturer?
26 people in five states have been stricken so far. Four patients have died and three different clinics in Tennessee have been involved. Over 1000 people could have been exposed in Tennessee alone.
There is a lot of worry and apprehension since it takes around 28 days for symptoms to appear.
As of last night, one more patient was on the verge of dying. My brother attends a congregation in Brentwood, TN where the lady’s name came up on the prayer list. She had had an injection at the clinic for back pain and had contracted meningitis. As a result she suffered a stroke and they were about to take her off of life support.
All of this also brings up the question of what really goes behind the scenes with health care. I know we’re all concerned about cost. My premiums just hit right below the $1000. per month threshold last week and I’m literally sick about that. I’m angry because I can’t go out and shop for health insurance as I can for insurance for our properties. That is wrong and needs to be changed.
I’m shackled inside a plan that doesn’t work for me. Small business people like myself are rapidly reaching the point where we can no longer consider it just another business expense.
But patient safety transcends even that. I had a friend attending medical school a few years ago who told me some real horror stories about daily hospital life. I was shocked and frankly scared to death. That friend later committed suicide. I don’t know if it was partly because of the stress of medical school or the chronic illness she was fighting. But I’ve never been the same.
Today’s point is we have a great system, but it needs fixing on many fronts. There is a lot that can certainly be improved. Meanwhile, we’re all treading through a minefield as we seek the proper care for ourselves and our parents.
Vigilance is the key. We need to be alert as to everything that is going on around us. We need to constantly ask questions. And we certainly need to investigate even the simplest things such as a pain med injection.
Care giving will cost you. Time, money and plans for your life will never be the same. Not only is it shocking to suddenly find yourself caring for an aging parent, but it’s extremely difficult to wrap your head and life around your new duties. Love is expensive.
This week has been a milestone in my family. My father is now in a wheelchair almost full time. If you haven’t been through this, you don’t realize the strategic planning that goes into having a wheelchair in the house. First, you need a wheelchair that fits. The one my brother and sister-in law bought is almost too wide to go through doors.
We need to move furniture so he won’t be blocked. I’m currently having a discussion with my Mom to remove a pie safe in the kitchen. I’ve never really liked the thing anyway, but she loves it. It will be a big sacrifice for her. However, the pie safe is in the way, and he can’t maneuver around it.
I don’t think many of us have been prepared for care giving. I know when I was in high school at David Lipscomb we had an excellent health class that covered first aid in detail. We learned how to handle just about any emergency that could happen with children. What we weren’t taught was how to handle many emergencies with the elderly.
Back in the 70’s many people did not live to their mid-eighties or beyond. So elder care was not included in the curriculum.
Now, I think it should be added. Not only for high school health classes but also for churches.
She discusses such issues as the difficulty of handling all the medications your parents may need. She also talks about what often happens after the hospital discharge when you suddenly find yourself on your own without doctors and nurses who can answer all your questions. It can be a very scary time. I’ve also been there.
Not to mention the fact you’re trying to hold down a job or run a business while all the new care giving is going on. Taking care of customers, clients or tenants is hard under the best of circumstances but when you’re trying to balance it all with elder care, it can be a heart attack waiting to happen. That’s a giant subject in and of itself.
By now the news is out about the meningitis outbreak at a pain clinic here in Nashville. I had heard about this a week ago through a reliable source close to the clinic. I was surprised to learn the clinic had been shut down while wondering how long it would take the story to reach the press.
The problem is that 11 patients who had received pain treatments over a month’s time at the clinic have been stricken with meningitis and two of them have died. This type of meningitis is from mold and can not be contracted by common contact. Some vials of medication are the suspected culprits, but it is still not known exactly how the disease was spread. That is still under investigation while the clinic remains closed.
All those sickened had lumbar epidural steroid injections from the vials. That is the main thing they all had in common. So far one more case has been confirmed in North Carolina.
Here’s my point. In today’s medical environment there is a long chain of treatment. You can be affected by just about anything while receiving care, but that care can often start from many miles away. What happens in a pharmaceutical factory where the medication is produced can not only shut down clinics but can kill you. This incident has raised our awareness about that fact.
I am not saying the vials have been definitely shown to have caused the meningitis. What I am getting at is the treatments we often receive involve more than the hospitals and doctors offices we come in direct contact with.
Fortunately, this type of incident is rare, but it is still tragic when it does happen.