Column: Grateful for tender medical care for pets after human accident

Column: Grateful for tender medical care for pets after human accident


Shelter Veterinarian Dr. Anna Sarfaty, DVM (right) and Registered Veterinary Technician Naya Garcia perform an intake exam for a stray dog at Pasadena Humane. The staff and volunteers at Pasadena Humane are dedicated to providing compassion and tender loving care for sick, injured, orphaned, abused, neglected, and abandoned animals in our community. (Photo courtesy of Pasadena Humane)


Dear readers, please excuse my absence over the past few weeks. I’ve been through what I think of as a “hard reset” — the consequence of a vacation gone awry.

I’ve always been what you would describe as a “driven” person. I’m constantly on the go, endlessly busy, eager for achievement and adventure. All of that came to a stop on Mother’s Day.

My husband and I had just arrived in Paris the night before and were on a day trip to Monet’s Garden. We rented bikes to travel from the train station in Vernon to Giverny.

After our visit, we were almost back to the train station when the road suddenly narrowed to a single lane. Finding myself headed the wrong way down a one-way street with a car approaching head-on, I decided to try to go over the curb to my right.

Lights out! This is where I rely on Pierce for a graphic description of me sprawled on the sidewalk, unconscious, not breathing, with blood pouring out of a gash in my head. He thought I was dead.

Later, when I regained consciousness in the ER of the Vernon hospital, I wondered if I’d be better off dead.

They didn’t speak much English, and the nurse didn’t understand the word “pain.” Using my rusty French, I asked for a pillow. There were none. When I said I was hungry and thirsty, I was told I missed breakfast. Where was I…Dante’s circles of hell?

Over the next six days in the hospital, the quality of care did not improve much. Pain management was not a priority. The primary goal seemed to be discharge ASAP, regardless of my condition.

The doctor said I had three broken ribs and a broken collarbone. He closed the cut on my head with nine staples. One of my biggest problems was terrible vertigo, although he assured me scans showed no issues with my brain.

So, even though I could barely move, I was kicked to the curb. We checked into a hotel in Paris where my condition declined. After two days, Pierce took me to the emergency room at the American Hospital of Paris.

I was diagnosed with dangerously low sodium — a condition sometimes caused by head injuries that can lead to death — and admitted to the ICU.

How glorious it was to finally receive the care I needed! The nurses were incredibly kind. The bed was comfortable. And, above all else, they did not want me to experience any pain.

More comprehensive X-rays revealed that I had eight broken ribs, rather than three. And, each rib was broken twice — into three pieces. No wonder I had been in so much discomfort!

After two nights in the ICU, I was moved to a regular room where I stayed for the next five nights. The care continued to be excellent!

Now that I’m back home, I am feeling extremely grateful. I almost died twice, and I lived to tell about it!

The experience was a wake-up call for me to slow down and savor life.

And, it reminded me that kindness is our greatest gift. In fact, kindness is one of our core values at Pasadena Humane.

I am proud to know our organization is like the American Hospital in Paris, rather than that hospital in Vernon. The animals in our shelter receive heartfelt and skilled care to meet each animal’s individual needs.

My reboot has given me newfound appreciation for the talented staff and volunteers at Pasadena Humane who are dedicated to compassion and tender loving care for sick, injured, orphaned, abused, neglected and abandoned animals in our community.


Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.