Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Worried Owners

Now that I've been in the profession for a while, I always lose track of exactly how many years (oh god I'm getting old) sometimes like everyone I can forget how it feels to be on the otherside of the counter. I'm so used to be being surrounded by blood, sweat, tears and faeces that I forget that to other people its not normal and sometimes it smells! However I'm always brought back down to earth by the worried owner on the phone that has left their companion, best friend at the practice or those clients that have had to make that sometimes difficult decision.

Today was such a day, as ever the practice was frantic. We had a good team of nurses that I was, shall we call leading - yes why not! We had a few operations to which I was the elected theatre nurse, one cherry eye and a cat spay. We sailed through these in no time, the cute Lhasa Apso recovered well from her eye surgery however did resemble a fog horn on recovery and the cat was no bother at all.

Late morning a ginger cat called Honey was admitted due to an unknown pyrexia and dehydration. We took some bloods and then I placed the cat on fluids, she was very unwell and looked so sorry for herself. The bloods came back just showing an infection, so we treated symptomatically for the high temperature. The kennel nurse for the day then handled her care throughout the day and tempted her to eat something. Meanwhile more cats were admitted, another for dehyration and another post surgery from another branch. The day as always can in the veterinary world changed from routine to organised chaos and we were all running around to get things sorted. The vets were in and out of the consult rooms, bringing with them various animals, blood samples and other presents.

Towards the end of the day I was billing up accounts, writing up notes and generally tidying the place up. I was also chasing up vets to do the same (be warned this happens a lot), I then asked the question have all the owners been updated......they looked at one another and their expression told me nope. This is always a slightly awkward situation as not wanting to go over the vets heads and aware about the day from hell they to have experienced, owners should really be kept informed. So whilst one vet called her owner I opted to call the other.

'Hello is that Mrs ....'
'Yes, yes, is that the vets oh thank god I was just trying to call you.'

Its at that point you really are pushed onto that side of the counter and can really be humbled by how just keeping someone informed can relieve and comfort people. I told her how her cat was stable, we had medicated it, what the bloods showed etc and by the end she was so grateful, just a few words really can comfort people. So ok I had just done another piece of my job a piece that a vet should probably have done hours before but after the call I was really beaming and you really do put yourselves into their shoes. She was probably sat by the phone all day waiting for it to ring panicking when it did. She even said to me that she kept hearing the cat at home, bless its all to easy to forget how much comfort and companionship animals can bring. I being a pet owner know this well, and from the other side of the counter I to panic when my animal goes into the vets or I have to leave them there. I am the first to ring the instant I'm told to, by the second to be exact and the first to take a day off work to collect them post op. So the next time you take your pet to the vets and panic or feel silly for hassling us, don't.... we all love animals to and most of us are owners. Without making excuses we just also get tied up with other tasks or emergencies that come in just like you do in your chosen professions, but don't be afraid to ring up to check. I for one love talking to 'nice' owners and if you're worried ring up, even come into visit your pet - sometimes like humans it can be just the perk up that they need :).

*Cherry Eye - This is where the third eyelid prolapses, there is a defect in the anchoring point and it appears as a fleshy mass.

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