A Beading Emergency by Jamie Hogsett9:51 AM
When I worked for Interweave Press full-time and would be away for bead shows or meetings, my out of office reply on email would say "If you have a beading emergency, please contact..." Little did I know one day I would experience a real-life beading emergency! When she was in Seattle a couple weeks ago, Sara met someone else who's experienced the same emergency, so she wisely suggested that I share my story. Hopefully it'll keep this from happening to anyone else.
About five weeks ago, I discovered my kitty, Ginger, on the couch with about two foot long thread ends hanging out of her mouth. I was working on a seed beading project, had started a new thread, and left it on the lap pad on my couch. When I came back about thirty minutes later, Ginger was trying to get the thread out of her mouth, but that just made her swallow more. For the moment, I completely forgot that I had already put a needle on the thread, grabbed the thread ends, and pulled it out. She had swallowed a lot of thread, so it took awhile to pull it all out, but it came out easily. About 20 minutes later, I remembered the needle, looked closely at the thread, and found only half of it there.
Because size 15 needles are so thin, it had broken in half, and half of the needle was somewhere in Ginger's throat. Four after-hours hours and some x-rays later, her regular vet could see the needle in the x-ray, but couldn't find it in her throat. So he sent me home with some painkillers for her and the uneasy feeling that if she jumped too much or turned her head the wrong way, the needle could pierce through something and possibly kill her. After lots of stress and worry and a couple of follow-up appointments, Ginger's regular vet referred us to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The CSU vet hospital is one of the best in the world which made me very hopeful that they would be able to get the needle out.
One week after she swallowed the needle, I tearfully dropped Ginger off for surgery. It was risky, because of where it was in her neck, but I did my best to remain hopeful. The CSU vet called me just before they started surgery to tell me it would probably take a couple hours. Not 45 minutes later, he called again with the fabulous news that the needle was out and Ginger did great during it all. He said it would take a few hours for her to come out of anesthesia and that I would most likely be able to pick her up and bring her home that night. Thank goodness!!!
When I picked her up, they gave me the needle piece in a tiny glass vial. It now sits in my curio cabinet as a reminder to keep dangerous things picked up and put away. I'm lucky that Ginger has always been good about leaving my beads and stuff alone. I think the reason she was so attracted to the Fireline was because it has a lot of body and moved around when she batted at it. I don't think she was even aware that there was a needle on the thread until it got stuck in her mouth and then it was too late for her to do anything about it. Poor little thing. She had stitches in her neck for two weeks, then managed to rip her wound open again not three hours after the stitches were removed.
It's been almost a month now and other than waiting for her fur to grow back where they had to shave it, Ginger is pretty much back to normal. She's as curious and ornery and sweet as ever, thank goodness. From now on, I'll be very careful to never leave thread or needles, or wire and beads for that matter, out and about where Ginger can get to them - lesson learned, for sure. I'm just grateful that she's okay! And I hope there are never any beading emergencies for you and your pets!