Week 4: February 2-8, 2015
In my former life, I owned a coffee roasters and was a barista, so I am no stranger to angry customers. That experience didn’t make this week any easier. This seemed to be the week of angry clients, whether they were unhappy with their service or the price of said service. Luckily, I’ve been able to avoid any serious encounters that ended in yelling and tears, but even quiet anger can be tough to deal with. We had clients with a 16 week old Bulldog puppy with a tear in the tibial growth cartilage that left her unable to use her leg properly. The doctor sent xrays to a specialist, but that apparently took too long for the owners because they took their dog to another doctor and ended up making ours look bad by insinuating that she didn’t know what she was looking at. They insisted at this other doctor’s suggestion that a Robert Jones wrap be placed on the puppy despite warnings that it may not work. So, the leg was cast, and I brought the puppy out to the owner. She was not pleased because the wrap was large and the puppy was wearing a cone. I informed her of the doctor’s instructions to keep the cone on to stop the puppy from bothering it, but she could have it off to eat with supervision. I also told her the doctor wanted the puppy back for a bandage change in a week unless it slipped or became very dirty. Here are a couple highlights of her response:
“Well, of course it will get dirty. It’s horrible outside,” said with great condescension.
“Does she HAVE to wear that cone?” very distressed.
“I just don’t know if this will work. It’s awfully big. Can she even lay down?”
“So, she has to have it changed once a week for three weeks? You mean you don’t know?”
Me, with as much patience as I can muster, “I’m just telling you what the doctor said. Please bring her back if she slips her bandage.”
This dog is wearing a Robert Jones bandage. Now imagine this on a 16 wk old wiggly Bulldog puppy.
Big surprise, she slipped her bandage. And mom wasn’t happy. We just wanted to yell, “You’re the one who insisted she wear this thing! What did you think was going to happen?!” Dad is a human doctor, which also added to the frustration because he tried to tell the tech how HE would do it.
Later, I had to work with a client who insisted on telling me her life woes and why she was on such a tight budget. I don’t have a problem with people setting a budget, but I don’t need to know it’s because your husband of 30 years left you for a younger woman. While reviewing the price of the procedures we wanted to perform on her dog, she cussed out the price, told us how expensive we were and that she was going somewhere else next time, and that she would pay for everything but we were taking out of her grocery money. I honestly didn’t know how to respond, except to say we were willing to work with her and that our doctor’s were excellent. Above all, I tried to stay patient and understanding. A glass of wine was warranted that evening. Dealing with angry clients reminded me that it’s not just about the animals, but also the people that bring them in. If you don’t have the trust of the client, you can’t treat their animal, so no matter how frustrated or angry they make you, it’s best to remain calm and noncombative. Otherwise, you might risk the health of a pet who needs your help.
The biggest part of the week was assisting in the surgery of my own cat, Brautigan. Braut had horribly itchy ears, and it turned out they were full of bacteria, yeast, polyps, and inflammation. My poor guy was miserable! The doctor recommended a lateral ear resection for both ears. We did the right ear Thursday. I helped the technician place an IV catheter, intubate, and then I shaved and cleaned around the ear for surgery. After we moved him into the surgery suite, the tech showed me how to hook him up to the anesthesia machine and I placed the leads, BP cuff, and esophageal thermometer. I then monitored his vitals throughout the surgery and helped the tech assist the doctor. After the surgery was complete, I moved him into treatment, performed therapeutic laser on the site, applied eye ointment, and monitored his recovery. When I observed the swallow reflex, I removed the ET tube and placed him a cage with blankets and hot water bottles to keep him warm. I checked on his progress to make sure he was breathing well and waking up without difficulty.
I’m happy to report that he did great and is recovering well, though he doesn’t appreciate the comfy cone!
"I believe you can go fuck yourself."