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Catmom

I am in excruciating pain right now- my dear cat is dead

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I had to put one of my two cats to sleep on Wednesday night. He was 10 yrs old & recently diagnosed with diabetes. I had no problem giving him insulin every twelve hours and all was okay until Wednesday night at midnight when I heard him yowling weirdly. He has always yowled at night since his brother (whom I adopted with him from the Humane Society) died 5 years ago. Anyway, the yowl was different and it turned out he was having a seizure, I guess because he hadn't eaten like he normally did and I hadn't noticed after I gave him his PM insulin.

It was a nightmare of cramming his stiff body into a carrier and going to the only vet open at night & getting ripped off to euthanize him. I don't know how anyone manages diabetes in cats. How the hell do you know when they might not be in the mood to eat & then try to manage the insulin? Mikey (my cat) was fat & I never dreamed he might skip eating.

So, I didn't get to bed until 4 AM on Thurs--got to work at 1 PM. Felt raw but functioning okay considering we are changing our whole software system to something that is doubtless cheaper for the corporation and it has been stressful.

The next day was horrible. On Fridays, someone from a big commercial kennel here in my town brings small puppies to let the residents of the nursing home hold them. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Not if you know the kennel is an outlet for the scores of puppy mills in the Midwest and the parents of those cute puppies are living in hell. These animal visits have been going on every week since I started working at my facility and I have assiduously avoided going near the pups because it upsets me terribly.

Usually, twp people come from the kennel to monitor the 5-6 pups so the mentally and physically impaired residents are safe with them. Keep in mind, these pups are Chihuahuas and Maltese, very tiny and many of our residents roll mindlessly around in their wheelchairs, oblivious to danger.

Well, Friday, I am in my office trying to catch up on a mountain of paperwork when I hear loud bloodcurdling shrieks from one of the puppies in the dining room where the visit is going on. I run down there to find out that one of our MR residents has dropped a Chihuahua pup on it's head and it might die as a result. (Unfortunately, I had seen this pup before and noticed it's adorable, feisty little personality, so this was a double blow)

I was completely emotionally undone by this. I was furious that this fool from the kennel would not protect an innocent little creature in her care. I told her to take the dog immediately to a vet even if it seemed okay since it could have a intracranial bleed not initially apparent. I went back to my office in near tears.

I felt emotionally traumatized by what happened and our DON couldn't see that having this kennel visit without enough supervision was a bad idea.

The final shock of my day came at about 5:30 PM when my boss came into my office to tell me that it was alleged that I had abused the residents in the dining room! Someone reported to her that I had referred to the residents as "idiots" when I was talking to the kennel worker (who is rumored to be the owner). To be honest, I was so emotionally overwhelmed by the pup getting hurt that I don't remember my exact words to the kennel person. I do not remember calling the residents idiots and I certainly never said anyone was an idiot directly.

If I had had my way, I would have told the kennel worker/owner that SHE was the idiot for endangering little pups but the administration thinks it's so great that she brings the dogs that I would get in trouble if I told her what I really think.

So now I am suspended from my job because of the alleged abuse. My biggest fear is that I will be put on a state abuse registry so that not only will I lose this job, but I won't be able to get a job as a nurse anywhere. I will find out in a few days what the outcome of the "investigation" is. The Director of Nursing did say it depended on others' "perception" of what I did, which is not reassuring since many of our residents have diagnoses of paranoid schizophrenia.

I just can't believe that this has happened to me.

P.S. I wrote the above this last weekend and I found out today that I am fired.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Catmom,

This is a horrible story.

First, grief at the loss of a beloved pet is something only those of us who have pets as part of our families can understand. As you know, I have lost many pets over the years and each one felt like the loss of a human family member. The worst was when we lost our beloved Mingo and that remains a sore memory for me, although I am able to remember her warmly and less with the sense of loss.

I really think you need to speak to your boss. Perhaps you have done so already. I think you need to explain how raw and vulnerable you felt after having to put your pet down.

In other words, you made a mistake based on the fact that you were grief stricken, exhausted and weak at that moment.

People with Paranoid Schizophrenia are much more resilient than you may think. They know about anger, "losing it," and cursing. In fact, you need to tell your boss that it would be better for them if you were allowed back, have a meeting with the patients, have them express their feelings and allow you to apologize to them. That would be the healthy way to do it and those folks need some role modelling about healthy functioning.

What do you and others think?

Allan:)

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Hi Catmom, Wow, that is a terrible story and my heart goes out to you. Surely you will have a chance to explain your case further. Are you going to grieve this decision? I'm so sorry for how this week has unfolded for you!

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I was told that the "investigation" did not find evidence that any resident had even heard my comment. (And- I was so emotionally triggered, I really cannot remember if I said the word "idiot.")

Yesterday afternoon, my now ex-boss called me at home to come in to his office and asked me if I had anything to say. I said that upon reflection that I realized that I had been very emotionally vulnerable since the death of my cat and that I overreacted to the puppy being hurt. I then said I was sorry if anything I said had offended anyone and that I would learn from this in the future.

It turned out it didn't matter what I said: I was fired. The administrator is not an animal person and I suspect was looking for an excuse to fire me for whatever reason. I also suspect the main complaining party was the kennel person who I offended with my outrage at her poor care of defenseless little pups. (Not to mention my underlying anger that she profits from puppy mills) :mad:

Oddly, the Director of Nursing asked me if I needed anything as she escorted me to my car. I asked her if I could get a good reference from her and she said yes.

Edited by Catmom

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Hi catmom,

I'm so very sorry how this has all turned out... the loss of your cat followed by the nature of the incident where you work. I can easily see myself becoming entirely overwhelmed by these events and at some point making a comment about something in a moment of anger:mad:.

Catmom, I was not raised with pets and in fact, all animals were functional when I was growing up. The dogs and cats were responsible for protecting the home from snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, bone ants, mountain lions, etc. They also were trained to herd cattle, goats and sheep, catch fish, capybara and birds, or bring back a monkey shot down from a tree when knocked down by a rock -- essentially, they were a purely working animal, alone. Affection between animal and man was unheard of and not necessarily promoted... but the protection of the animal b/c it was a sacred being was very highly regarded (something the US struggles with), that is, until we went deeper into Latin America where the views were very different from ours (and we won't go there as it would trigger the entire forum), and in Malaysia and China it would have been the same as in deeper Latin America.

As I read your thread I realized, coming from a background of having had administrative oversight of three psych hospitals at one time and also having been a CEO for many years, that your being terminated for the alleged behavior would be a violation of most organizational policies (unless you struck a patient), unless, of course, there was a clear paper trail of previous discussions where you had been reprimanded and this was the final stage in the performance review ladder, which meant an automatic termination. This seems the case as no discussion seems to have been held with you to get your side, there did not seem to be any hearings with a hearing officer or with HR-- it just seems rather unusual.

Overall, I feel as if I'm missing something here-- either there was a binding paper trail that would not allow you to legally grieve the decision, or this is a right to work state and you have few protections under the law, so terminating you would have been a not so difficult decision. In many states, a wrongful termination can be contested and if the organization terminating the individual made the wrong decision, they can also be held liable for the defendents legal fees, lost pay and other compensations.

I guess my question would be, was there a paper trail and if so, what was the nature of it?

Catmom, even your name strongly suggests your absolute love of animals, so much so that the hurting of one, even if not yours, would cause you to become extremely upset. I've known many people, especially the elderly, the sickly, those that are homebound and those who live alone and who live for every moment with their pets, which are very much like family (this I understand completely), who suffer greatly when they loose a pet and will need to come in just to talk through their pain and loneliness. I'm so very sorry for this loss. I hear people simply (and insensitively) say: "Well, just get another one, what difference does it make?" And it makes a world of difference as far as I can tell... sort of like saying: Well, you lost your 12 year old son Ben, just adopt another one and it'll be the same!:eek:"

Catmom, my hope is that my words do not sound too harsh or callous, especially those having to do with your termination. I've been terminated 3-4 times in my life, and once when I was a CEO (in the midst of my divorce when I was dysfunctional and could no longer lead), so I understand very well the fears, insecurities, loss, demoralizations and angst of being uprooted quickly.

Please accept my condolescences for your cat.

With deepest compassion,

David

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My heartfelt thanks to all who have responded to my post.

Thanks to David, who I know had a very busy schedule today but managed to make time to respond to me. :)

There was no "paper trail" at all since this is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that two fellow administrative nurses were talking with me one day when I referred to some 3rd entity, under my breath, as "bastards." This ended up turning into a complaint to my boss that I had referred to them as "bastards." :eek: This makes no sense, :confused: because as sexist as it is, the term "bastard" refers only to males in my lexicon.

This was not a written up complaint and I talked to the nurses afterwards and we came to an understanding, I thought.

As you have surmised, David, mine is a "right to work" state and I have little recourse when an employer wants to show me the door. :mad:

And, David, you come from a very different cultural background than I and I appreciate your trying to understand my attachment to pets. I now live in a city with many ex-farmers, including one of my bridge partners who totally doesn't get loving pets. Her attitude is that if you can't eat it, what good is the animal?

I am aware that I am triggered by the helplessness of animals because I am no stranger to feeling helpless. When I was a child, I was helpless in the face of my alcoholic mother's abuse and I believe that this is why the helplessness of animals triggers such a strong reaction in me.

I sure hope I find a job soon and I can feel relieved to be away from an employer who gave me the feeling of being emotionally battered.

Thanks again--

Catmom

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There was no "paper trail" at all since this is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that two fellow administrative nurses were talking with me one day when I referred to some 3rd entity, under my breath, as "bastards." This ended up turning into a complaint to my boss that I had referred to them as "bastards." :eek: This makes no sense, :confused: because as sexist as it is, the term "bastard" refers only to males in my lexicon.

This was not a written up complaint and I talked to the nurses afterwards and we came to an understanding, I thought. I was wondering if there was any inclination in you that it was a bad marriage between you and the organization and if so, what part do you own and what part belongs to the organization? Your response may be very useful as you look at your next job... it's sort of like looking at a break-up or divorce and trying to understand what role you played so you can grow from it and avoid it next time.

As you have surmised, David, mine is a "right to work" state and I have little recourse when an employer wants to show me the door. :mad: Actually, the feds have laid forth, I think, approx. 14 defenses (e.g., whistle blower law, ADA and civil rights, etc.) that protect employees from unlawful termination, it might be worth looking into via internet research or talking with a labor lawyer. I would assume that under ADA, you may be protected if the employer knew you had a mental health condition. Something to consider.

And, David, you come from a very different cultural background than I and I appreciate your trying to understand my attachment to pets. I actually do understand your attachment to animals... even as a child I couldn't participate in the killing of animals for food. I struggled within myself even at age 4-5 about this, after having been exposed to the killing of a goat once, which is by far the most brutal of all approaches. I have been pained much by watching animals suffer... much like watching humans in pain, especially the most vulnerable in our society-- children, the elderly and the mentally ill. While I've eaten almost every animal known to humans (rat, tarantula, monkey, llama, dog, etc.), it has not been easy as it would seem. Within me lies a certain protective consciousness for life that seems to have always existed. I now live in a city with many ex-farmers, including one of my bridge partners who totally doesn't get loving pets. Her attitude is that if you can't eat it, what good is the animal? This view I don't hold and never have, my people were immensely respectful of all life, but were cognizant that survival depended on eating animals as there was no other source of food in the desert and rainforest food is not always easy to find.

I am aware that I am triggered by the helplessness of animals because I am no stranger to feeling helpless. I'm triggered for the same reason and like you, have experienced much helplessness and hopelessness in my life. When I was a child, I was helpless in the face of my alcoholic mother's abuse and I believe that this is why the helplessness of animals triggers such a strong reaction in me. I'm so sorry for this... and I'm also sorry that while everyone teaches us to remember from the day we start school to the day we die, no one teaches us also to forget. There would be so much less pain if we could forget some things, or maybe not attach so much meaning and emotion to them. I seem to always say to myself at this point that one needs to always protect and safeguard their pains and traumas, for they are the very lifeblood of a soul in refinement.

I sure hope I find a job soon and I can feel relieved to be away from an employer who gave me the feeling of being emotionally battered. Make it a full time job to job hunt, that's what I did-- 8-10 hours per day doing nothing but sending out resumes, cover letters, networking, cold calling, calling contacts, reading the want-adds, etc., etc., etc.

Thanks again--

My hope is that my responses, which you asked me about, did not disappoint you. I wanted so much to be of service and do my best to understand and be there.

With much compassion,

David

Catmom

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Hi Catmom,

I would also like to offer my sympathies on the loss of your cat. I'm an animal person to and even went to 3 years of vet school. (I didn't actually want to be a vet because I couldn't handle the animal suffering aspect but I did do all the equine courses start to finish because the closest horse vet to us was about 3 hours away and I needed to know what to do in a crisis.) I have felt the pain of losing a beloved pet many times. The most dear was Danni (yes...my user name) I had her for 20+ years and my heart still gets lonesome for her sometimes.

I just wanted to ask you not to beat yourself up or blame yourself for what you couldn't have known about what your cat ate. You showed the utmost love and care for her including the decision to put her down. There's a lot of "non animal" people out there who don't get it. Find those who do and make sure you allow yourself to grieve. My heart goes out to you as you do.

As for the other part of your post. David is right. There are laws that protect you from termination without cause. ADA is one of them or at the very least, you should be entitled to unemployment if they can't prove cause, which would require them to produce the "paper trail" of discipline. What you did doesn't sound to me like grounds for termination.

I probably would have done the same thing in your shoes!! That would have been horrible to watch!!

Take care of yourself!!

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Danni is so right and I wish I had not glossed over this so quickly--- you should not have to blamed yourself, as she stated, for the painful loss of your cats. Sometimes we all do the best we can with what we have, where we are, and who we are at that moment. I think I would have done it no differently.

Un abrazo muy grande,

david

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I don't blame myself for Mikey's death, and whenever a beloved pet or person is dying, I always give my utmost effort to see that that animal or person does not suffer-- as much as I am able to prevent. I did this last service as well as I could for him. He was such a sweet boy.

That is why whenever I have to euthanize a pet, I always stay with them until the life has left the body. As painful as this is for me, I do not want my beloved to be only with strangers and perhaps to be frightened at the moment of death.

When my dad, whom I loved more than I have ever loved anyone, was dying in a distant city, my brother put the phone up to his ear for me to speak to him. Although my dad had had Alzheimer's dementia for years and did not know who I was the last time I visited him, I told him to go ahead and die and not to cling to life and its suffering for my sake. I knew that if he were going to hang on for anyone, I would be for me. (The tears are streaming down my face as I write this.) He died later that day.

My favorite movie is Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis and Debra Winger as the American divorcee who marries him and rocks his bachelor world with her love and especially his love for her. The most heart rending scene in the movie for me is when she is suffering the agony of bone cancer and Hopkin's character can do nothing to relieve it. To me his agony is exponentially worse than hers.

When my mother died, watching my father suffer her loss was far greater than my own pain at having lost a parent.

Strange isn't it, the way one loss reminds one of previous losses?

Catmom

P.S. Thank you David for your thoughtful responses and they certainly did not disappoint. ;)

Edited by Catmom

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My condolences too, Catmom. :( I'm also a big cat fan and whenever one of mine have died, they have left a hole that no other cat has filled. Each cat is an individual being.

I have a daughter with Type 1 diabetes. It must be hard to manage in a cat. I know that with toddlers who are picky eaters and sometimes refuse, you don't give them their insulin until after they've eaten and you adjust their dose according to what and how much they ate. But with humans you do frequent finger-pricks to test their sugar which I can't imagine you do with a cat.

It would also depend on whether you have long- or short-acting insulin. If you have AM and PM, it is probably a mix of the two. I'm not sure if you even get an immediate-acting cat insulin - that's what is used for human children so you can adapt it to what they ate.

I'm glad you don't blame yourself, because by the time a human or cat is dx'ed with (Type2) diabetes, they have already had it asymptomatically for some time and complications have been developing unbeknownst to anyone.

"It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."

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I was wondering if there was any inclination in you that it was a bad marriage between you and the organization and if so, what part do you own and what part belongs to the organization? Your response may be very useful as you look at your next job... it's sort of like looking at a break-up or divorce and trying to understand what role you played so you can grow from it and avoid it next time.

I was aware that the job was not a good fit in one major way with two facets. The first facet was that the hourly pay for my position was rock bottom in my opinion for the expertise I bring to my work. When I got the job offer this last February, the wage was at the far lower end of the range I had been told to expect by the administrator. He said that he'd given me last year's salary range and that his budget had been cut for this year. When I asked if that was the best that he could do, he went to his boss to ask and came back with a "yes that's as good as it gets" response. I suspect his boss said "she (me) has been out of work for five months, she'll take what we offer." And I did.

In addition, I wasn't even getting 40 hours a week since the census was low so the administrator cut hours. This was a very sore point for me because he did not cut hours proportionally among everyone. For example, my office mate, the medical records clerk was only ever scheduled for 30 hours a week but his hours were never cut, while I was cut as much as 5-7 hours per week. I suspect the administrator got away with this with some people because they had a spouse's income helping them support themselves.

By the way, the reason the census was so low is that it is a competitive environment for nursing homes in my city and our facility was in a rough neighborhood. For this reason, among others, it was hard to fill beds. We admitted a lot of homeless drug addicts referred from local shelters for skilled nursing care and rehabilitation.

Long story short, I had been looking elsewhere for work for awhile, and actually landed another job a week before I was fired. This new job would be a salaried position in an expanding skilled nursing facility and I was concerned at the number of hours I would have to put in, so I asked for more money. They ended up going with someone they could get cheaper.

I asked the second employer not to call my current one at the time, but I do wonder if my last employer somehow figured out I was planning to quit & decided to beat me to the punch as soon as they had an excuse.

Who knows? My job now is to find a job.

Catmom

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I was aware that the job was not a good fit in one major way with two facets. The first facet was that the hourly pay for my position was rock bottom in my opinion for the expertise I bring to my work. When I got the job offer this last February, the wage was at the far lower end of the range I had been told to expect by the administrator. He said that he'd given me last year's salary range and that his budget had been cut for this year. When I asked if that was the best that he could do, he went to his boss to ask and came back with a "yes that's as good as it gets" response. I suspect his boss said "she (me) has been out of work for five months, she'll take what we offer." And I did. I think sometimes we do what what we have to based on where and who we are at that time-- you did what was necessary it seems, no shame in that.

In addition, I wasn't even getting 40 hours a week since the census was low so the administrator cut hours. This was a very sore point for me because he did not cut hours proportionally among everyone. For example, my office mate, the medical records clerk was only ever scheduled for 30 hours a week but his hours were never cut, while I was cut as much as 5-7 hours per week. I suspect the administrator got away with this with some people because they had a spouse's income helping them support themselves.

By the way, the reason the census was so low is that it is a competitive environment for nursing homes in my city and our facility was in a rough neighborhood. For this reason, among others, it was hard to fill beds. We admitted a lot of homeless drug addicts referred from local shelters for skilled nursing care and rehabilitation.

Long story short, I had been looking elsewhere for work for awhile, and actually landed another job a week before I was fired. This new job would be a salaried position in an expanding skilled nursing facility and I was concerned at the number of hours I would have to put in, so I asked for more money. They ended up going with someone they could get cheaper.

I asked the second employer not to call my current one at the time, but I do wonder if my last employer somehow figured out I was planning to quit & decided to beat me to the punch as soon as they had an excuse. I wouldn't think so since this would compel them to have to pay you unemployment wages (unless you were terminated for abuse, fraud or something along those lines, then they are less liable)-- which one avoids at all costs when the market is down. The bottom line, it seems, is that this was a bad marriage and both sides seem to have known this very early on. Do you have a second act, a next step anywhere and how are you going about looking for work. Can I suggest What Color is Your Parachute at half.com or Amazon as a good starting point? It helped me after I was fired 12 years ago, and the time before about 18 years ago... none of these were my fault, it was all theirs!:eek:.......:) justkidding. I was a screwball and screwed up 12 years ago from being in the midst of a painful divorce.

Who knows? My job now is to find a job.

Catmom

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Guest Klingsor

This story alone justifies and intensifies my hatred for the whole human species 100 fold. Humans deserve to be eaten alive from the inside out by a plague of carnivorous worms.

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Very sad for sure, yes. :( I hope Catmom's situation has improved.

There are some good people out there, Klingsor. There was some mention of puppy mills in this post. Our state has programs that help rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome these dogs. I have two sleeping at my feet as I write that were rescued from Ohio when a puppy mill surrendered them. Volunteers drove there to pick them up and brought them back here to NY. The rescue organization we got these two from gave them full vet care, including vaccinations and spaying, and then simply gave them to us. Both are psychologically scarred and have issues, but they are loved very much.

I just read this this AM too and it made me smile.

http://www.randomacts.org/news/the-jacmel-childrens-center-is-open/

Small steps of kindness can make a positive difference. I believe that.

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