Saturday, November 5, 2011

Why is Kitty So Sleepy?

Animals are the Hillary Clinton of military bases. No one feels lukewarm toward them. Some hate the feral cats and dogs that wander the base, and some love them so much they sneak food to them and let sleep in their room. So the recent campaign to euthanize all the animals at FOB Ghazni has polarized the troops.

The issue came to a head last week when all the cats were collected (and no, you can't herd them) and lined up to be put to sleep. Unfortunately, it was on Sgt Fernandez' birthday, and she names and feeds all the cats, and referring to the one named Bella as "my daughter." As in, "I've got to check on my daughter and make her dinner," etc. So after the first cat was euthanized, there was a dramatic and tear-filled campaign to stop the killing. It was like "Occupy Cat Street." The Sergeant Major got involved, overruled the Infection and Vector Control unit, and the cats were freed under the condition they get fixed by the Polish vet. It was the Forward Operating Base equivalent of a Presidental Pardon. Huge deal.

In any case, Bella got fixed and needed her sutures removed a few days later. Sgt Fernandez was very anxious because her daughter would not hold still to let her remove them. I was joking when i said, "well, there is an operating room with an anesthesia machine not being used..." but Sgt Fernandez' face was so hopeful that I couldn't backtrack once it escaped my lips. Not after the birthday she had, which was ruined not only by "Feralgate" but also because we had to cancel the cookout due to rain, had severely injured patients come in, followed by a blow-up between the factions among the nurses.

Since I didn't help in the cat crusade, my gift to Sgt Fernandez was to help her get Bella's stitches out. So we went to the operating room, performed a "Final Time Out" to positively identify the patient (Bella), the surgeon (Sgt Fernandez) and the surgical procedure and site. I couldn't help but grin as I said, "and we're performing a removal of feline sutures...under general anesthesia!"

Then Bella got a mask full of anesthesia gas, made a sound like she was very angry, in heat, or both, and difted off to sleep until the sutures were out. It was my first animal anesthetic.


Chris or Katie said...

If we ever get another cat it will be named Hillary.

Becky said...

Ever since Lisa's cats peed in my shoes I have not been what one would call a "cat person", but even I am proud of you for helping poor Bella out.

The Kids