I had breakfast today with my friends Susan and Brian. She’s a nurse. He’s a paramedic. We went to a little french bistro and ate outside. I had a lovely little tomato, swiss, and avocado omelette with baby greens and a baguette.
We shared lots of stories. Got all caught up on life.
“I told you about when Cole went into full arrest, didn’t I?”, Susan asked?
No! She hadn’t. Cole is one of her two adorable Shih tzus (Allie is the other, and they are sisters). Here’s how the story went….
“The girls” as S and B call them, were spayed. No problems with the surgeries. They brought them home. Each of them sported a Fentanyl patch (that’s a narcotic, in the codeine and Vicodin and heroin family) for post-operative pain management. Susan recalls that she commented that she wondered if the dosage seemed high for a six pound dog (remember, she’s a nurse). But Cole did fine for the next three days and the patch was subsequently removed. Later that night, Brian picked her up and she was breathing really fast and really shallow with her tongue way out of her mouth. He brought the dog’s condition to Susan’s attention, and they immediately headed out to the nearest 24 hour vet. It was past 10:00 pm. They didn’t get far. Before reaching the car Cole stopped breathing. Susan started rescue breathing and while she was holding Cole, she felt the heart stop beating. The nearest vet was now too far away. So Susan made the decision to take the dog to her work which was only a mile or so away. Susan works in the emergency department. She ran up the ambulance entrance, put in the emergency code for the door, and took the dog into “Room One”, which is the big resuscitation room. She screamed for the nurses and asked that Dr. “S” be sent in right now. Dr. “S” is a lover of dogs, and had no problem with trying to revive her. Susan had already determined that Cole was suffering from a narcotic overdose, probably from licking the skin where the drug patch had been applied. The nurses grabbed Narcan (a medicine that reverses the effects of narcotics) and gave Cole a shot. Within moments, her heart began to beat, she started to breathe, and she looked up at Susan just like nothing had ever happened! Though she was clinically dead for nearly 10 minutes, she suffers no long term impairment. That must have been some gooooood CPR Susan gave her.
This is not a story I tell you to encourage that pets “in extremis” be taken to the local emergency department. Your animal will not be seen, evaluated, or treated there unless you are lucky enough to work there.
But it’s a great story, doncha think? One that should be retold in TLC’s “Untold Stories of the ER“!