So along the lines of the "yank my hair out/knitting in a closet" stories, 4am Wednesday morning rolls around. Someone starts yanking and banging on the door. That's never a good sign, since the signs on the door clearly state that it is locked after midnight and to ring the CLEARLY marked doorbell. I go to the front (my tech had her hands full with a patient). Standing outside is a couple that is...well, what I call a K-town special. Quintessential white trash, mid-20s. In the woman's arms is a small breed dog that is tremoring all over. I diagnosed the patient THROUGH the glass.
As she came in, I asked her, "when were her puppies born?"
"Two weeks ago," she replied.
I briefly explained that her dog was exhibiting signs of eclampsia ("milk fever") and that she needed emergency treatment. I explained the exam fee of $92. She glared at me, and said, "I guess that other check will just have to bounce, then."
I should have known what was coming at that point, but I went ahead and took the dog from her and headed to the back. My tech was waiting.
"$250 deposit up front," I said. Eclampsia is pretty easy and cheap to fix (as I've said here before). It's an emergency I have a hard time not treating, even when the owners have "no" money (i.e. refuse to spend it on their pet instead of their cigarettes and cell phones). She disappeared up front while I started getting vitals on the tremoring dog.
All of a sudden, I heard a flat bang and then the unmistakable skitter of a pen across the linoleum. Moments later, my technician reappeared.
"She wants her dog back NOW," she said. "Oh, and she threw the pen across the counter at me."
I marched up front and handed the dog to the owner. "You said it would only be $92," she accused me, as she turned to storm out the front door. "I got 6 kids, and I can't afford no $250-300."
As she's pushing out the door, I seethed inside, but flatly and without any rage (I think) said, "Ma'am, storming out the door is not helping you or your pet any. She has a condition that is a medical emergency, and she needs help. What are we working with financially?"
"I ain't got nuthin' but the $92," she sullenly replied.
"Ma'am, I can't fix it for $92. I can probably fix it for around $175."
She shook her head vigorously and again turned to storm out (her male counterpart has been silent this whole time).
"Ma'am, turn around here, and let me at least give you some advice so your dog doesn't die."
She whipped around with a nasty look on her face but thankfully, she kept her mouth shut.
"You need to keep your pet cool with wet, cool towels and a fan. You need to give her calcium by mouth. Purchase Tums and administer x amount. Take the puppies off of her, so they do not continue to drain her. You'll have to hand raise them. It's 4am, and your vet (I'm pretending she HAD a vet) will be open in about 3.5 hours. Get her there immediately."
She actually muttered "thank you," before storming out.
I love it when people make bad decisions (6 kids by age 26 and not having the money to treat her pet whilst breeding irresponsibly!) and then expect me to fix their problems.
What sucks the most is who really suffers here: the mama dog and the puppies that will inevitably die because these people don't have two brain cells that synapse together.
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