Tuesday, 16 April 2013

'Night owls' round 2

As I've written before Night shifts are always a strange breed of shifts, and last Saturday and Sunday were no exception.


Don't be fooled by my meagre two inpatients because I have learnt to never be fooled! My first inpatient was a Great Dane with a suspected insulinoma, other than the fear from the emergency protocol on the front of the kennel she was more in for monitoring of blood glucose throughout the night. Second was a very timid cat with a suspect foreign body, who again was just in for monitoring.

The first nights theme was animals vomiting. I always find every shift has a theme, for those that are interested Sunday's was fitting animals. So back to Saturday, as soon as the vet left me at 9pm (already an hour later than she should) the phone calls were non stop. You see I filter the calls for lots of primary care practices and then either see them at the surgery I work from or send them to a second practice where the veterinary surgeon is normally based. I had already sent at least two cases to them before 10pm and that was just the start! I do find it rude though when a client phones up for advice, is panicking about their animal, you spend 20minutes talking to them and arranging for them to be seen (by waking up the vet in the process) for them only to not show up. Not only have they wasted your time but you are also left worrying about the animal and wondering why one minute they are keen to rush them in and then the next have obviously gone back to bed.
The phone calls didn't really stop until 2am that night and then started up again just after 4am. A selection of my faves included:
  1. A woman that thought it was an emergency that she had found one tick on her cat, to the point that she wanted me to open up the entire practice just to sell her a tick remover....at 12am! That when I politely informed her that it wasn't an emergency and could wait until the morning proceeded to ask me question after question about whether they bite humans and what to do if it should fall off - Take a wild guess....how about squash the blumming thing!
  2. Every night includes....a crazy cat lady who has nothing better to do than phone me up at 4am to basically tell me she has been up all night with the cat. Turns out the cat is already under treatment at her normal practice and she's been told to keep the cat inside now that the cat is geriatric and slightly confused. Again I offered an appointment but she declined, but still continued to talk to be for a further 20minutes about her cats bowel habits.
Oh and the Great Dane decided to serenade me constantly throughout the night with howling and barking! Now because I'm a locum and only do a handful of night shifts every few months, I really find they muck up my body clock - I'm sure any night shift worker can understand this but when your not doing it permanently it seems to hit you even harder. My brain is constantly on how many hours sleep do I need to survive!

Luckily Sunday wasn't quite as crazy although as mentioned the trend was fitting animals. Again one was advised to go straight down to the practice, this was agreed with the owner however an hour later I was told that they never showed up! A second one luckily did come down to the practice, I already arranged for the vet to come over to see this little WHWT. She was very sweet and a very old lady at 15yrs! I did suspect on the phone that she was having a seizure and because it was her first there wouldn't be heaps we could do but due to it being the family pet they still wanted her checked out. Quite sweet as all three siblings turned up with her wrapped in her blankets. The vet agreed with me that she had just had a first seizure, we also suspected that she had had a mini stroke as she had lost some movement along her right side. We took some bloods due to some recent weight loss but other than a future MRI or ultrasound to diagnose any gastro problems (as she had been vomiting as well) all we can do is wait for the next seizure and treat the symptoms. The owners were very sensible and who knows she may never have another one.

And now some much needed sleep :)


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