I once had a COPD patient tell me their dog ate their inhaler. But I've never heard a lung'er tell me their cat ate their oxygen. Until now. If you ever find yourself wondering about barriers to home oxygen use compliance, make sure you ask them if they have cats. The cats may be chewing on their oxygen tubbing and preventing patients from wearing their life saving therapy! Just one more unintended consequence of the dangers of smoking.
Happy: I see you're on home oxygen.Woman: I'm only supposed to be on the oxygen at night, but I stopped wearing it.Happy: Why is that? That's probably why you got admitted to the hospital.Woman: The tubing would always fall off my nose and I'd wake up to find my kitty cat chewing on the oxygen tubing.Happy: Do you still smoke?Woman: Yes.Happy: Maybe your cat has emphysema and needs some home oxygen.Woman: You're funny doc.Happy: I'm being serious. Have you thought about getting your cat oxygen?
And that's no April fools joke. I swear, the cat probably has emphysema and needs a little home oxygen therapy. If you ever find yourself wondering what the barrier to home oxygen use is in this patient or that patient, make sure you ask about their cat history. You might even solve the mystery of why the patient decompensated. And you won't learn that little tid bit of medical knowledge anywhere else except at The Happy Hospitalist.