Friday, November 13, 2015

Anesthesia and the considerate cat

Yesterday I got a rather routine procedure.  But anesthesia, whether it's being done to me or I am performing it on patients, always has its stresses.  When I am training technicians to monitor anesthesia, I always equate it to flying a plane.  The beginning and the end are the most critical, but really the whole process is something not take for granted.

Anesthesia in humans and pets are really very similar.  I had the anesthetist curious when I said that propofol (the drug we use in both professions to induce anesthesia) is the drug you count, " 10,9" and there's nothing more to remember.  She looked at me and said, "really, you tell your patients that?".  "No," I told her, "I tell the owners because just like people are nervous about their own anesthesia, they are nervous about their pet's too."  A lot of people will try to put of doing procedures on their pets (particularly dentals) because they say, "my pet's too old for anesthesia."  I tell them age isn't a disease and their pet is not getting any younger or healthier with time.

In both human and animal medicine, we take tons of precautions to make sure we have the best anesthetic candidate possible and do everything we can to keep things safe.  In a healthy pet/individual, the chances of dying under anesthesia are probably a lot smaller than getting in a fatal accident in a metropolitan area.

I was speaking with my husband as I was asking the nurses what fluids and antibiotics I was getting.  I remarked that it's funny that the human and veterinary profession have different pronunciation of cefazolin, a very common antibiotic.  I told him how it was spelled and asked him how he thought it would be pronounced.  He pronounced it back to me the veterinary way- it made sense that way.  It's interesting how everything in veterinary medicine is typically named by what the disease is.  For example- hyperadrenocorticism is overproduction (hyper) of the adrenal gland (which contains adrenaline and steroids.)  In humans, it's called Cushings.  Why you might ask?  Because that is the MD that discovered/wrote about it.  Many diseases in people are named after people.  Most diseases in animals are actually named for what they are.  Just something to think about.  Maybe it's because we have too many different things to remember with all of our multiple species we are just a little bit more logical about our naming of diseases.

I had made a deal with my husband that Duchess, our kitty would assist in my recovery and be allowed to sleep in our bedroom and on me (one of the compromises of marriage was not cat in our bedroom).  I told my husband how she is very caring and compassionate when I am sick and previous times recovering from surgery.  I'm pretty sure he didn't exactly understand this.  She has been gentle and sweet, purring and rubbing and checking on me.  I instructed my husband to leave the door open for her, so she could get in an out.  Our bedroom door doesn't have a super tight seal and on a fairly regular basis she is able to open it and barge into our room whenever she wants to (even scared my husband once with this in the middle of the night.)  Last evening, my husband came upstairs and was shocked to see her standing patiently outside of our partially opened door.  I told him how he needed to leave the door open wider for her.  "That's never stopped her before," he commented, " you mean to tell me she's actually being considerate?".  "Yes," I informed him, "she actually can be considerate and sweet at times of illness."  My husband saw a whole new side to the feline master of the house he has lived with for 3 1/2 years.

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