Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cat Plays Furry Grim Reaper at Nursing Home


Oscar has predicted 25 deaths by curling up next to patient in final hours

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours.

His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.

“He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one,” said Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.

The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses.

After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He’d sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.

Aloof and businesslike feline Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. “This is not a cat that’s friendly to people,” he said.

Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill.

She was convinced of Oscar’s talent when he made his 13th correct call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn’t eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near.

Oscar wouldn’t stay inside the room though, so Teno thought his streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor’s prediction was roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient’s final two hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.

Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don’t know he’s there, so patients aren’t aware he’s a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure.

No one’s certain if Oscar’s behavior is scientifically significant or points to a cause. Teno wonders if the cat notices telltale scents or reads something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him.

Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal behavioral clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa’s article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar divides his time between the living and dying.

If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it’s also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person, Dodman said.

Nursing home staffers aren’t concerned with explaining Oscar, so long as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying.

Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his “compassionate hospice care.”

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

This is something I personally have known about for awhile, but that could be because I've had a medical education. (P.T.'s learn more medicine than one thinks!) This is however something that NOT many women know about and should. So watch the video and learn about THE MOST aggressive type of cancer that presents in THE MOST atypical manner.

Links for More Information

Inflammatory breast Cancer Research Foundation

National Cancer Institute

IBC Support

Susan B. Komen Foundation Fact Sheet on IBC

The Breast Care Center

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I was Googling Harry Potter....

Because Rob and I are both excited about the latest & last book which comes out on Saturday. Rob has been for weeks and weeks and weeks and months saying "I can't wait for Harry Potter" I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also a bit sad that it's the last book, none more to look forward to. I think I may have semirecently BLOGged on this. ANYWAY, I digress. I found this article from the Jerusalem Post.

Yishai opposes sale of 'Harry Potter' on Shabbat
Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) said Tuesday that he intended to fine any bookstores that open this Shabbat to sell copies of the seventh and last book in J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter' series.

Yishai said that there were limits to how far Israel could go to be like other nations. "I've instructed inspectors to be ready... and I intend to indict anyone who breaks the Shabbat Law."

Currently, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is scheduled to hit store shelves at 2:01 a.m. Saturday morning, that is overnight between Friday and Saturday.
Israel's Ministry of Magic declined to comment.

I laughed. and laughed. and laughed. The whole Shabbat thing in Israel doesn't surprise me nor bother me, I've known other things to be held or banned because it fell on Shabbat. New Years 2000 for instance. No parties allowed in Jerusalem. Though I seem to remember hearing about a few in other parts of the country, but I could be wrong.
What I found funny was the comment on the Israeli Ministry of Magic. :) Very clever.Oh yeah, and then I get an e-mail from my husband who somehow managed to get his hands on some Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and informed me that the "vomit" flavored beans really do taste like vomit. EEEEEEEWWWWWWW!!!!!!!! Well, that's what you get for eating Every Flavor Beans. I once got completely thrown off (because I thought I had picked out all the weird flavors) by an extremely realistic and spicy horseradish flavored bean. It was fairly unpleasant to say the least, though probably not QUITE as bad as the vomit flavored one. I can see how it could make one "[Lose their] liking for them" to quote Dumbledore. I certainly never bought them again.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

EAT ME!!!!

We were watching the Addams Family Values last night. Rob and I both forgot how funny that movie is!!! And by far, the best part of the movie is the Thanksgiving play, ESPECIALLY the song and dance that starts it. EAT ME!  Sauteed or barbequed EAT ME! We once were pets but now we're food. We won't stay fresh for very long... so eat us before we finish this song! I love it! :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Two of the Day's Patients :)

I had a very cute, very confused old man today. He had a knee replacement, and the anesthesia after effects were playing with his mind. Apparantly he was agitiated and combative last night, but he was cute with me this morning.  Confused, but cute.  And those can be the best kind of patient to have.  Entertaining and cooperative.  At first he didn’t want therapy because he "just had knee surgery."  So I told him that everyone has therapy after knee surgery and that if we didn’t do therapy, his knee wouldn’t get better. Which I guess essentially is true. So we’re doing the  exercises and he tells me that he’s glad he’s doing exercise. “It’s good for me, because you know, if I don’t exercise, I won’t get better!” And it wasn’t sarcasm, he genuinely didn’t quite remember me telling him that. When I told him I knew that, and I’m glad he was glad, he was shocked. How do you know that??? Because I’m a therapist, it’s my job to know!

Theeeeeen he started in with the jokes. Confused, silly, somewhat dirty jokes. What did the elephant say to the naked man? How do you breathe out of that thing??? Why don't witches have children? Because their husbands are hallo-weenies.
Oh yeah, and then the corny ones. He asked me if I play golf, I told him no.  So he asked me if I knew anyone who played golf. I said I did, and he asked me who. I told him my father-in-law plays golf a lot. (actually it's Rob's mother's husband, so I guess that would make him my step-father-in-law. But it was easier to just say my father-in-law) Anyway, I digress. So the patient told me to tell my father-in-law to wear 2 pairs of pants the next time he goes golfing. I asked why? And he told me "Because he might get a hole in one" OY!
I also had a really sweet lady this afternoon.  When I asked her who she lives with, she told me "If I make it until October, my husband and I will be celebrating our 60th Wedding Anniversary!"  Wow.  That's really cool.  I told her that if I make it to October I'll be celebrating my 1st Wedding Anniversary, so I guess I had a long ways to catch up.  :)  She laughed and then started telling me all about her husband.  It was pretty cute, except that I didn't have the time to listen to her talk on and on and on.  We did have to get moving and walk.  I like to let them talk, it makes them feel better and all that but then again I have a schedule of patients too.  I usually compromise and try to converse during the treatment.  But she was sweet.  Also a bit confused and forgetful, I heard the same stores 3 times in 20 minutes, but sweet.  And VERY feisty.  It was an entertaining mix.  :)

And those were my 2 favorite patients of the day.  :)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Another Reason the Earth is in Trouble....

Rob told me the other day he was walking to (or from I don't remember) work from (or to) the train station in the city, and he overheard a conversation of someone on the street near him, and the guy was saying that he left his air conditioner on all day when he wasn't home because he "didn't want to come home to a hot apartment" (Rob said he wanted to hit the guy and shake some sense into him or something.  I don't blame him.  I would also.)


And we wonder why the earth is going to die from Global Warming.  If we all were JUST A LITTLE more selfless, then a HUGE difference could be made.  I once BLOGged about it.  And you can get more info by clicking on "The Inconvenient Truth" link somewhere to your left in the "Links I Like" section.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Only 14 more days until Harry Potter.  As my eager husband keeps reminding me.  He can't wait for the 7th and final book to come out.  I've been hearing "I can't wait for Harry Potter" for MONTHS!  And while I am really looking forward to reading the book, I'm sad too, because there aren't any more too look forward to now!  I almost feel that if I hold off on reading it, I can still have the joy of looking forward to it.

We pre-ordered the book from Amazon.  When the 6th book came out, we ordered 2 copies so that one of us didn't have to wait for the other to finish reading it.  And then I gave the second copy to a friend, because why did we need 2 copies?  This time I told him to just order one, I'll let him eagerly read it first, and I can look forward to it for another few days.  Unless he starts talking about it and gasping and all that stuff.  That would frustrate me.

I do have a lot of questions and ideas regarding book 7, things I want to know about and theories I'm formulating about how it all will turn out. I definitely think it's going to be a dark and twisted maybe not so much for children type of book.  I won't go into all of my thoughts here, but my biggest one is, I'm pretty sure Harry is going to die.  JKR has hinted to that on countless occasions, and we know that her hints usually make sense later on.  People continually ask her if she plans to write about Harry's life after Hogwart's, and she always says How do we know he'll make it, or live that long?  So I think, as much as I don't like the idea, that Harry is going to die in Book 7.  BUT, I can't imagine her sending the message to all the children of the world that evil wins over good.  ESPECIALLY since that good and love is better magic and just plain better all around and will always triumph over dark magic is a theme that has woven itself into the very heart of the entire series.  So I wonder how this will happen.  Maybe Harry will die afterward or in the process of also killing Voldemort, or he'll have to sacrifice himself to make it happen etc.  And I DON'T believe that Harry is a horcrux, despite that popular theory.  And I DO believe, as incredibly sad as it makes me, that Dumbledore is dead.  I cried through the last few chapters of the 6th book.  But then again, I've been predicting this since the middle of the 4th book when JKR starts describing how old and tired Dumbledore is.  So I'm not so sure how this all is going to happen.  Though I'm sure it will alllll make sense once I read the book.

But then there won't be ANY MORE Harry Potter to look forward to!  It's like when they cancelled Star Trek Voyager.  I looked forward to each new episode of the final season, and then the series finale, but then it was OVER.  And now I have all but like 2 or 3 episodes on tape, but it isn't the same as looking forward to knowing what's going to happen next in the story.  ESPECIALLY since they made it back to the Alpha Quadrant so abruptly at the end of the show and there wasn't any explanation or closure to it.  That frustrated me A LOT!  And what about that whole Chakotay and Seven of Nine thing that they just sort of threw on you at the last minute.    But I digress.....

Any opinions??

Friday, July 06, 2007

Just wanted to say Something small today.....

Something small!  

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Shabbat Shalom!!!!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


This one had me laughing, I couldn't resist posting it here. ESPECIALLY since I had Jury Duty last week.

These are from a book called Disorder int he American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm and not cracking up while these exchanges were actually taking place.

Attorney (hereby known as A) Are you sexually active?
Witness (hereby known as W) No, I just lie there.

A: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
W: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

A: This Myesthenia Gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
W: Yes
A: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
W: I forget
A: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

A: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
W: He said, "Where am I Cathy?"
A: And why did that upset you?
W: My name is SUSAN!

A: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
W: We both do
A: Voodoo?
W: We do.
A: You do?
W: Yes, Voodoo.

A: Now, doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
W: Did you actually pass the Bar Exam??

A: The youngest son, the twenty-one year old, how old is he?
W: Uh... He's twenty-one.

A: Were you present when your picture was taken?
W: Are you kidding me??

A: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
W: Yes.
A: And what were you doing at that time?
W: Uh.... I was getting laid!

A: She had three children, right?
W: Yes.
A: How many were boys?
W: None.
A: Were there any girls?
W: Are you kidding me? Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

A: How was your marriage terminated?
W: By death.
A: And by whose death was it terminated?
W: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?

A: Can you describe the individual?
W: He was about medium height, and had a beard.
A: Was this a male or a female?
W: Guess.

A: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
W: No, this is how I dress to go to work.

A: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
W: All of my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you like to rephrase that?

A: ALL your responses MUST be oral, okay? What school did you go to?
W: Oral.

A: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
W: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM.
A: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
W: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!

A: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
W: Uh... Are you qualified to ask that question?

A: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
W: No.
A: Did you check for blood pressure?
W: No.
A: Did you check for breathing?
W: No.
A: So then is it possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
W: No.
A: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
W: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
A: I see, but could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
W: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

TEEE HEEEE!!!!! The things my co-workers email to me!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

4th of July

Wanting to say a quickie something before I head out, WHY did I volunteer to work today???
  Someone remind me???  Oh yeah, so I can get paid holiday time on a Wednesday and not 
use a PTO day...  THAAATs right.  Doesn't help that I'm up early and my husband is sleeeeeeeping away.

Anyway, my July 4th message.  PLEASE be careful with any home fireworks, or even better, don't use anything more @ home past sparklers.  (I grew up in NYC where anything more than that is illegal so I find it weird to find fireworks stands selling all sorts of stuff on the streets)  But I worked on a burn unit for 2 years and I know enough from that experience to know that these fireworks, even the "legal" ones at the stands are DANGEROUS.  I had one patient who was holding one, not lit yet or anything, and it randomly exploded in his hand.  He was lucky to survive and even luckier to still have his hand at the end of the ordeal.

And on a summertime get together especially today, a BBQ warning, BE CAREFUL!  I've seen too many people with burns from BBQ's, because they weren't careful let alone being just plain dumb.  Pouring lighter fluid on a hot propane BBQ, NOT a good idea.... 

Ok, and while I'm sending out warnings, I also spent a summer working on a rehab unit for patients with spinal cord injuries (paraplegics, quadriplegics etc) AND I've worked with a ton of brain injury patients also so with THAT knowledge, don't drink and drive or drink and dive (into a pool) for that matter, don't let friends do them either, WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS!!!  and take care with a motorcycle, and ALWAYS wear a helmet no matter WHAT the law says that you can.  It's NOT safe.  Trust me.

Anyway, I don't mean to sound like an alarmist, but I just want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday, and safe and happy and serious injury free lives.  

Ok, time to go drag,   oops, did I say drag,  I mean HELP people out of bed....  BYEEEEE!!!!