Thursday, May 26, 2016



The person who ran the residencies where I trained was a neurosurgeon, who had a ginormous house. Like 15,000 square feet. 3 stories. With more rooms than anyone could possibly want.

And a really, really, really old cat.

One of the other neurology residents (Dr. Brownnose) volunteered to house-sit for him, which involved taking care of the cat. It was diabetic, and needed frequent insulin shots.

One night, she lost track of the cat. Since the doors had been closed all day, she knew it was somewhere in the house.

I was woken up at 11:45 that night as she frantically called the rest of the neurology residents to come over and help her find the missing pet (taking care of cats was beneath the dignity of the neurosurgery residents, who wanted nothing to do with it).

Because, after all, "accidentally killed neuroscience program director's beloved family pet..." just doesn't look good on a resumé.

We drove from the inner city by the hospital out to suburbia. And, in the wee hours of the morning, 5 of us were combing back & forth through this massive house with flashlights and cat treats, trying to find the feline and hoping it was still breathing.

I don't remember anymore who found it, asleep beneath an antique chair. It got carried downstairs for its insulin shot, giving us this hateful "I can't believe you monkeys woke me up" look.

We made her take us out for happy hour the next week. And boy, did we run up a tab.


Anonymous said...

My sister's snake went missing once. My mum had left the tank open. She spent a week searching the house room by room. She was literally taking the rugs up, and emptying every drawer, cupboard and box.
Then I found the snake.....curled up in the tank, with the lid still open.

Anonymous said...

And hopefully y'all told Dr B to shut the doors to most of the rooms so future searches could be more focused.

What a funny image of the residents with their flashlights!

Don said...

Cats are cool, Dr. Grumpy. And besides, I get more intelligent conversation with my landlady's cat than I do with my coworkers. The cat may not understand how to design cabinet cooling systems, but she's a good listener, offers practical suggestions("scratch between the ears") and makes for pleasant company on the long nights away from home.

Megan said...

You made the cat take you out for happy hour? That's (p)awful!

Mockingbird said...

Running up a tab...for running down a tabby!

clairesmum said...

Great story! Good to know that supposedly very smart people (brain scientists) can do foolish things, too.
Be glad the cat didn't decide that it liked this game and staged a rematch or two!

Packer said...

Medical students looking for pussy, nothing new there.

Delightful slice of life anecdote you have gracefully shared with your readers Dr. G.

Stacey Gordon said...

@Packer.... I almost snorted gatorade all over the screen...

Moose said...

At one point, my sister and her boyfriend had two cats: Pinky and Leroy.

Pinky was diabetic. In most cats, diabetes is a combination of age + a high carb (ie. "dry food") diet. Like with humans, cat type 1 diabetes is uncommon, and Pinky was one. Other than his need for pork-based insulin shots (and pork-based insulin is -really- hard to find these days), Pinky was a normal cat.

Leroy, however, was not a diabetic. And he was the stupidest cat. You could sit on him, because he would just watch your butt come down and never move. He would sit for hours staring at a blank wall, not one part of him moving.

The cats were fed twice a day, and before the food bowls were put down, Pinky got his shot. However, Leroy would refuse to eat until he got "his shot." They kept an old syringe, the needle long since removed, with the cap on, and they would press the cap against Leroy's side. Then he'd go eat.

One day Pinky got very sick. They took him to the vet where it was decided to keep him in the kitty hospital for a couple of nights. When they went home without Pinky, Leroy was quite distressed.

The next day the humans went to work and on their way home, stopped to check on Pinky. When they got home and went inside, in front of the door, in a perfect line, was every single cat toy that was in the house, including ones they hadn't seen in years. Behind the toys was Leroy with a pleading look on his face.

It was a sacrifice. Take the toys; gimme back the other cat. Apparently, Leroy wasn't quite as stupid as everyone thought.

Ms. Donna said...

Let the memory live again

Bet you get the source of the lyric before you recall what you had to drink . . .

Moose, something similar to Pinky and Leroy here. My cat, Parmesan, is diabetic and has to have insulin. He gets his shot from his needle-phobic staff (me) while he eats. My mom' dog, Stella, get jealous and tries to get Par's injection. She has almost gotten it right in the nose.

So now she gets her "shot" from a needle-less syringe after Parmesan gets his injection.

Animals. Nicer than people most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Feline felony?

Two cats. Similar ages. Unrelated, but both from the pound. Couldn't have been a better match made in heaven.

A couple; like Pinky and Leroy. One very, very laid-back, but observant. (Was nearly sat on once or twice.) The other fidgety, skittish, loves to play 'chase the feather on a string' and extremely solicitous when the other quietly glum and gloomy, then when 'Sourpuss' more energetic, she'd taunt, and chase him until he was so provoked that he'd stomp on her.

But, both cats, their sense of smell extremely and highly developed, (as well as hearing), so whenever we'd lose track of them for a bit, we'd bring out the limburger and rotten fish, and they'd come arunnin'.

migraineur said...

So I've currently got 3 crazy feline furballs. One of whom is diabetic. He can tell when his sugars are rising, and well come and WAKE you up. Lemme tell you, twenty-five pounds of cat, landing on your chest will wake you up. If that doesn't he will nuzzle you, again, not stopping until you get out of bed. There is no sleeping in on the weekend around here, he doesn't allow it.

His weight...yes, he's overweight to obese, however he is also part Maine coon, they are big kitties. He is twice the length of my littlest cat, and the space between his shoulder blades is bigger too, as is his skull. Obesity isn't his entire problem, although it contributes.

Dr. C. said...

Indianapolis, 1958, a fraternity classmate, also a Korean War veteran who doubled as a honky-tonk piano player (think Jerry Lee Lewis) at the Melody Inn, a local saloon near campus. We'll call him Perry, because that was his real name.

Perry agreed to cat sit for a wealthy couple living in baronial splendor on toney North Meridian Street. He hated cats, but they had a 19 y/o daughter with gorgeous breasts and he had lusted over her since a chance encounter at the Vonnegut Hardware store across 38th St. The father was exec. chairman of Eli Lilly and the family was headed to Eleuthera for a week.

On the 3rd night, the cat, a rare Norwegian Forest Angora named Houdini, made an escape. Fifty frat brothers spent all night searching, however when found, the cat had encountered a raccon and was missing an eye. A really good Vet attended to the trauma, but alas, an ocular transplant was not an option.

Bottom line: Perry never did get into the daughter's britches. And I have not once mentioned the word pussy.

Anonymous said...

How do you think we neurology residents work nights at the hospital? Same thing, wee hours of the morning, pen flashlights in hand...

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