Catscans

October 12, 2012

My copilot has no medical experience or credentialing. I suppose her looking at studies could be a HIPPA violation, but I think we’re OK. She’s a cat.

I do my radiology work nowadays with a copilot. She came on board sometime after I shifted from my old brick-and-mortar imaging center setting to my home-office telerad gig. She’s got no medical experience whatsoever, and is completely off the grid in terms of credentialing and other paperwork. 

I suppose it could be a HIPPA violation that she’s looking at studies with patient identification info on them. But I think we’re safe, as she can neither read nor tell anybody about it (to my knowledge). She’s a housecat.

Fifteen years young, she isn’t the most sociable of animals. It took nearly 13 of those years for her to feel bold enough to approach me for petting. So it came as some surprise when, a few weeks into my routine of working nights at home, she started lounging atop the back of a cushy chair near my reading-station. It’s about eye-level, and just within arm’s reach.

She’s a great copilot. Never pipes up when she thinks I’m misreading studies or phrasing things poorly in a report, and whenever I look over at her, she’s got a relaxed, “You’re doing everything wonderfully” type of expression on her face. That is, when she’s not sleeping. To be fair, I do work rather long hours, and I recall during my residency I would struggle to stay awake when being a silent observer for much shorter lengths of time.

She makes sure I take breaks, since her perch is very strategically situated - upon standing, I am right there for petting purposes - and she greets such interludes with a chirp-like meow, such that I feel horribly Scrooge-like at the merest thought of passing her by without at least a brief scratch behind her ears. If she thinks this hasn’t happened recently enough (say, within the past hour or two), she’ll prompt me with some anticipatory purring.

This, of course, is a perk of being a work-from-home telerad. It would never fly in a brick-and-mortar imaging center, and certainly not a hospital. Unless perhaps I fabricated some ailment for myself to justify the cat as a “companion animal” without which I could not function.

Then again, if I did that, I probably wouldn’t waste my time with my shy, retiring furball. Much more helpful to get a snarling Doberman for my reading room. I bet the distracting foot traffic of visitors with questions, STAT cases, or other issues would vanish overnight.