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My Cat Helps Me to Manage My Pain

February 2nd, 2006, 11:47 AM
I am uncertain if this is where I should post this but this is an essay entitled "My Cat helps me manage my Pain" written by one of my patients who suffers from a blood disorder - I also head the hematology clinic here.
I've remov ed his name and did not have time to scan an image he drew but here it is. (I just thought it might be uplifting to some). I apologize if it is in the wrong category but it is not offtopic and yet does not seem to fit others.)

My Cat Helps Me to Manage My Pain

My name is ___________ . I am 13 years old and I am a severe hemophiliac with factor IX deficiency. I developed a factor IX inhibitor when I was still a baby. People tell me that when I was a kid I was a little rascal who wanted to try everything. This probably partly explains why I had to be
hospitalized so many times to treat bleeding. Dr. CK tried
numerous times to get rid of my inhibitor but without success.
I now know I have to get treatment as soon as possible when
I think I am bleeding. Sometimes I think I can get away without
treatment and I wait before telling my mother. This is often how
the pain gets very bad (but not always). Since I bleed quite often,
I am often in pain, which I don’t like; this is why I think
managing the pain is very important.

When I’m in pain, I tend to express it by complaining
verbally (to tell the truth, by screaming). My family doesn’t like
to see me suffer and they do their best to comfort me and distract
me. My mother gives me my Niastase and also morphine for the
pain if necessary. My sister tries to watch TV with me. My father
talks to me about hunting and fishing, which I’m crazy about,
and we often look at magazines together.

I can inject my treatment myself but when I’m in a lot of
pain I prefer my mother does it for me.

Sometimes applying ice helps a bit. I have
several orthotics I can use to immobilize the
affected joint if the bleeding is in the joint.

I also use crutches or my wheelchair
when I have to. Because I had
many hemorrhages, I didn’t go
to school for a few years. I
have been back at school
since September 2005 and I
love it. I have a lot less
bleeding because I am more
active and my muscles are
stronger.I am often in
pain, which I
don’t like; this
is why I think
managing the
pain is very

Last summer I rode my bike and had to use my leg to keep
my balance. I didn’t think I had hurt myself but I started to bleed
in a large muscle in my abdomen – the psoas. I was doubled up in
my wheelchair when I got to the IWK. I was in great pain and
the morphine my mother gave me every 3 or 4 hours didn’t
control my pain. At the hospital the pain management team put
me on a pump so I could administer extra doses of morphine
myself when I felt pain. I didn’t have to ask for and wait to get
my painkiller. It was also very useful when I started to move
around again with the help of Nic, my physiotherapist. I
manage my pain and can do my exercises better. When I’m not
bleeding, I don’t need anything for pain.

One last thing. When I’m at home, I find that my cat helps
me a lot to manage my pain. I see a huge difference since he
became part of our lives. His name is Tuffer and he is my best friend.

February 2nd, 2006, 02:44 PM
Love the letter. Thank you for sharing!

Poor guy has to go through so much. Seems so unfair. Especailly here I am complaing that I don't want to get out of bed in the morning and here is a 13 year old dealing with more then I could imagine. To me he is a hero and all those kids you look after are all heroes.

As for dogs/cats/reptile or whatever being almost like therapy its just too true. I even find after a long stressful day, Im grumpy opening my house door but immediatly become happy when I pet my dog or lay down with him and rub his belly. he may think its all about him but seriously its so soothing and relaxing for me as well. I can only imagine the compatibilty these animals offer someone who is in pain or not feeling well. Shhh don't tell capone!