Saturday, July 16, 2011's starting to wear a bit...

So, it's getting harder with work. I'm having trouble being awake and alert past 2 am. Since I often see patients at that time of morning, this can be bad. I'm also starting to really have trouble getting down on the floor with big dogs. My ankles swell like mad when I stand for too long, and I move really slowly - which makes me worried I'm going to get bitten by a quick dog that gives no warning.

Lastly, I'm starting to really lose patience with owners that act stupid or belligerent or whatever. Usually, I keep my mouth shut about stuff - but lately, it's getting harder. Take today, for instance. A woman brought in her small breed dog with bloody diarrhea and vomiting. In the midst of taking a history, a very, very unstable/critical patient presented. I had to deal with that for about 45 minutes, but we already had permission on the other patient to run bloodwork.

After reviewing the bloodwork, I went back in and spoke to the owner, recommending 12-24 hours of hospitalization for IV fluids and medications. The owner declined and wanted an outpatient estimate. I produced this in about 5 minutes, handed it to the tech, and turned to my other patients.

From arrival, filling out paperwork, technician triage, doctor exam, bloodwork results, and two estimates - the client had been at the hospital for 2 hours. That's pretty damned fast. But no. She was angry. She declined all treatment and wanted to leave. Normally, I don't argue with people like this. This time, I counseled her heavily that her dog needed treatment. She claimed she'd been sitting in the hospital for 3 hours. Luckily, we track those things (time of check-in, triage, and doctor's exam). I showed her that she had only been there for 2 hours, then implored her to wait 15-20 more minutes so that we could appropriately treat her pet.

Nope, she wasn't having it. She just wanted to complain. I shrugged my shoulders, told her that her dog was very ill, didn't apologize, and made her sign an against medical advice form for taking her dog home without treatment. When I mentioned that the dog I had stepped out to care for was now dead, I was met with a blank stare. The woman could care less. I had the overwhelming urge to slap her.

Ahh, pregnancy hormones.


Anonymous said...

I have the urge to slap people almost daily. But then again, I can be pretty misanthropic which is NOT helped by ER med. In other news, I was reminded of you last night when I saw a dog who had taken a machete to the nose. You saw something similar once, right? Fuuuuuck!


PS - You MUST check out the band Future Islands, specifically the song Before the Bridge. Hells to the yeah!

Elizabeth said...

For the swelling, I know you probably already know this but don't stand when you can sit and put your feet up whenever you can, even if only for 5 mins.. Do you have a tall stool to use in the exam room.. Seriously anytime you can sit.. do it.. It actually takes practice..

Kristen said...

Wait, so my impatience with uncaring morons means I'M PREGNANT?! Huh. ;)
That owner was a twit.

Mary said...

Thanks for the kind words you left me. If it makes you feel any better, I'm going through some sort of massive growth spurt and gained 3lb in one week. Yikes. I definitely wouldn't have the energy to work out if I worked your insane hours and was on my feet the entire time. I also just wanted to let you know the Baby Mod Modena was on sale at Walmart for $200 when we bought it, so you should check it out if that fits your budget. It just arrived and while we haven't assembled it, we took all the pieces out and it seems pretty sturdy.

I don't know how you put up with clients like the one you described. I would just lose my filter at some point and go ballistic on someone. That's why I work alone in a lab with only my guppies and podcasts to keep my company:)