Tuesday, December 12, 2006

112 Father-biter cat, take 2

Last night I had a lovely dinner with a friend of mine. We're writing a book together and it was our first meeting to discuss it. As soon as I got home, I prepared to take a shower. My clothes were already in the washer (which wasn't turned on yet, thank god) when the phone rang. It was my mom. She said my father got attacked by the cat again and she couldn't stop the bleeding and she was trying to get him to go to the hospital.
At least this time I had a choice of clothing, and I pulled a (not clean) black t-shirt from the laundry pile rather than the lovely green shirt I'd had on. I learned the hard way when I had a lavender t-shirt on and the cat clawed my dad in June and the shirt was ruined by blood. My husband drove me to my parent's house.
My dad had a thick gauze pad strapped to the meaty part of his hand, beneath his thumb, and a wet dishtowel wrapped around that. He didn't want to go to the hospital. When I re-wrapped the dishtowel, he said to me, "you do this too?" and I said "Yes, I do everything, come on, we're going." It took a while to get him outside. I sat in the backseat applying pressure to his hand. The hospital is only 1 town away (maybe 15 minutes) but he had bled through the towel by the time we got there, and I had the full story.
Jasper was outside. The white cat came into the yard. Now the white cat is a very sad story. It belonged to our lovely neighbor who died many years ago. Her son lives right across the street but he didn't take the cat in. He basically just threw it away. The new owners of the house didn't adopt it (my friend adopted the cat which came with her house; people do it) and the cat's been living outside, going feral, for years. It looks awful and it's pitiful. I thought it was a brown cat, but it's a filthy white cat. It's white again after it rains. How sad is that?
Anyway, the white cat came into the yard. My father rushed to "save" Jasper (who now attacks the dog--he doesn't need saving from another cat, except maybe from the diseases it carries). Jasper freaked out and bit my dad. This was around 3:00. My mom bandaged it up, it seemed fine. They had dinner and she went to the store for more first aid supplies. When she came home, my father had taken off the bandage for whatever reason and was bleeding all over. That's when she called me.
He's on blood thinners & anti-clot meds because of the stent (whatever it's called) and I think that's the problem.
All the way to the hospital he was alternating between incoherent stories of the two cats, of how they tried to "kill" him in Hartford, apologizing for being a bother, and begging us not to take him to Hartford Hospital.
In the waiting room, a nurse re-wrapped his hand. Blood had dripped from the towel all over his pants. His hands were covered in it. Mine too. She had no sooner finished the temporary gauze wrapping then it flushed red. I finally saw the bite, and it was clearly a bite. One puncture looked sealed, but the other was in a more star-like shape and keep oozing very dark blood.
Because of his Alzheimer's, they got us into a room quickly (and it was a room, not just a curtain alcove) and my dad refused to get into the bed, terrified that we'd leave him. We put the animal planet on for him and got him to sit in the bed and keep his hand up over his heart. He kept asking to go home. It was very sad.
Of course hospitals are like airports. Hurry up and get there, and then wait.
Eventually a doctor came. He said he was an evaluation doctor, or something like that. The admitting nurse had said he needed stitches but this guy didn't agree. He put a cloth mesh across the cut and re-wrapped it, showing me how so I could re-do it the next day (today) and sent us home. We were only there about 90 minutes. Anyone who's been to the ER knows 90 minutes is amazingly short.
The doctor also declined to put him on antibiotics (except for the cream on his hand). When I go over there today, this thing better not spurt at me.

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