As my regular readers may have noticed I did not write my regular Wednesday feature last week. The world has gone insane and our Female Human has been working hard to keep up. It’s been a bit confusing because, just when we thought we were going to have full time staff at home, The Human found out that since she has clients whose businesses are deemed essential so she has to go to work. Frankly, as frazzled as she looks I think she should just stay at home.
And speaking of frazzled there was a bit of a scare at our house this weekend. Jasmine was not feeling well (she was having “plumbing problems” if you get my drift.) This is a serious issue with kitties and especially kitties like Jasmine with kidney disease. There we were, with our sister Jasmine howling in pain and our Human in a situation where she and the other humans are told to “social distance”.
The good news for us is that we have a veterinary practice (or as I like to refer to them “a stabby place”) that is open 7 days a week. Yes, you heard me right, EVERY day of the week. Why is this? They are attempting to make themselves available for sick kitties (and other pets) as much as possible while also caring for themselves as well and looking to avoid something called “compassion fatigue”.
What is Compassion Fatigue?
When The Female Human went to the Cat Writer’s Association conference last year she attended a very interesting presentation about Compassion Fatigue given by Beth Stultz-Hairston from Pet Sitters International. The presentation focused on compassion fatigue for pet writers but also included information on compassion fatigue in the veterinary industry as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no big fan of those stabby, stabby places but , whenever I have to go there I get kisses and ear skritches and, if I wasn’t feeling great, I always feel better after the visit (don’t tell The Human I said this).
Compassion Fatigue, according to Dr. Charles Figley and Professor Paul Henry Kurzweg is, “… a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper.”.
Vets have two times the stress
Those people in the stabby places have to deal with 2 patients, we felines who, for the most part are less than thrilled to be there and our humans who are worried about us. If your humans are like my Human, sometimes there are even tears involved. As a feline who rarely worries about anything except being stuffed in my carrier, a loud sneeze or humans I don’t know coming into my house, I’m no expert on stress but I did have my Purrsonal Assistant find some information about compassion fatigue for me.
Reducing Stress For Patients
My stabby place built a whole new building to keep stress to a minimum and enhance wellness for all of their patients. Oliver and I did a review about this. Ever since we’ve been to the new place our visits have been much better and the rest of the Tribe never even knows where we’ve been when we get home so there is no hissing festival when we’re released from our carrier. It stands to reason, when the felines are less stressed, so are the humans and the stabby people but still, it doesn’t stop compassion fatigue for those folks who take care of us.
How Our Vets Manage
In addition to the fantastic new stabby place they built and offering after hour emergency services they also changed their business days to 7 days a week. This has been great for the human cat parents but it was taking its toll on the people working there. They decided that they would not do after hour emergency services but would still do the 7-day a week schedule. Those folks are doing all they can to mitigate compassion fatigue.
Good News For All
Even during these stressful days, and without after hours emergency service, Pend Oreille Veterinary Service managed to help our Jasmine this past Sunday. As I mentioned she was having some “plumbing issues” and was yowling in pain.
The Female Human called the stabby place, they said to come over and so Jasmine and The Human sat in the “outdoor waiting room” (translation, the car)
Before she knew it, The Female human’s cell phone rang and someone came out to get Jasmine. She stayed there most of the day and the good folks took great care of her. I’m thinking without the nervous Human hanging around it must have been much easier for them. By late Sunday afternoon, Jasmine was delivered to the car and sent home with medications.
Jasmine is doing much better and, thanks to the fantastic, compassionate folks at Pend Oreille Veterinary Service it looks like we’re on the road to beating this infection before it gets to her kidneys.
So folks, during these stressful times, The Tribe wants to remind you to be kind to all the people at your stabby places. Compassion Fatigue is a real thing. We felines know that all you humans are stressed right now but the humans who care for us kitties are pawsome, they deal with so much and we should give them a little love (from a safe distance and without touching, or course!