The following story appeared in the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter, testifying to the power of the paw.
OUR CAT SAVED MY HUSBAND’S LIFE
By Louise Roworth
My husband Peter is a horrendous snorer. We joke to people that
we have never spent a night together in the same bed since we have
been married. We were married nearly six years ago. His snores are
deep and so loud that even with earplugs in, I can still hear each
one thundering away. As a consequence, I would leave and sleep in
the spare room or else, I would kick him out of bed.
Much to the amusement and curiosity of our friends and family,
when we built our own home and moved in, we each had our own
bedroom. Our cat family consists of Aslan, Fuchsia, and Missy. They
each have their own rooms too. Aslan, the big red Persian, likes to
think he is the warrior and boss of the other cats. He is actually a
huge scaredy-cat and likes to hide under the beds when visitors first
come to the house.
Missy, the Norwegian forest cat, is the queen of her domain. Look
out to anyone who crosses her. Fuchsia, the smoke Persian, is the
baby. Although now six years old, she is the most inquisitive,
friendly, and outgoing of the three. She LOVES visitors and
especially trades-people. She wants to know how everything works
and how to fix things.
As Peter and I now sleep in different rooms with my room three
rooms away from my husband’s, I could still hear him snoring when
I got up to go to the bathroom or for a glass of water.
About a year ago, Peter started complaining to me that Aslan was
jumping on the bed in the middle of the night and waking him by
clawing at his chest. This, of course, would wake and annoy Peter
greatly. He would push Aslan off. Most nights, Peter would just
get back to sleep, until Aslan would be there again clawing at
his chest to wake him up.
This went on for weeks. Frustrated, Peter was starting to think it
was something he would just have to get used to as it would occur
even more often each night. After awhile, when Aslan woke him,
Peter would roll over and go back to sleep.
About the same time, I’d ask Peter how he slept. His answer was
always, “I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.”
I thought that was pretty melodramatic but wondered if maybe he
should have a sleep test. His snoring was still as bad as ever,
but he said that no matter how much sleep he got, he always woke
up feeling exhausted.
Peter went for the sleep test and then the follow-up appointment. The
results were startling.
He had severe sleep apnea. Apparently he was waking 114 times per
hour. His throat was obstructed, so he was ceasing to breath. Oxygen
wasn’t reaching his heart or his brain. Waking up is due to the
brain registering the lack of breathing or drop in oxygen levels
and sending a small wake-up call. The sleeper rouses slightly then
drifts back to sleep immediately. Then the cycle starts again.
The process of so much fragmented sleep leaves the person with
extreme sleepiness and fatigue. This can lead to a much greater risk
of motor vehicle accidents, hypertension, and a greater risk of heart
attack and stroke.
Peter wasn’t even remembering waking up when this happened. He
suddenly realized that Aslan was jumping up and clawing at his chest
when he stopped breathing for dangerously long periods of time. Aslan
was caring for my husband in the most amazing and loving way.
Peter now has a wonderful new breathing machine which he uses every
night. Aslan sleeps most nights on the bed with him. Peter loves
Aslan just as much as before but now we both know what an amazing
and loyal care-giver our big beautiful red Persian is.
Louise Roworth is a kinesiologist. Visit her website Wings of
Change at www.wingsofchange.com.au/.