Monday, April 30, 2012

A Timely Fashion

I think one of the most common complaints about veterinarians is that (in the client's opinion) we play a little fast and loose with the clock.  I personally believe that there are some veterinarians who couldn't tell time if their lives depended on it, but believe me when I tell you that most of us really do try.  Because, let's be honest here, we do have lives outside our job *shock*gasp* and do like to get home at a reasonable hour. 

I can't speak for the small animal guys (but maybe some of them will chime in), but in large animal land the time we give you is very truly our best intention.  I leave everyday with a plan... some days things move right along and others I might as well have just rolled a dice to decide where to go and when. I can't control emergencies, traffic (but I do believe I should be allowed to have a flashing red light in order to make better time), or appointments that take longer than I expect.  More about this last factor in a bit.

I expect my clients with scheduled appointments (i.e. routine vaccines, health papers, herd work) to be a little flexible.  The rationale is that if they have to wait, it is most likely because I have gone to take care of an emergency.  That lets them know that if they ever have an emergency, I will reschedule non-urgent things in order to get to them as quickly as possible.  The vast majority of people are fine with this, and all they need is a phone call to let them know an updated time frame which I am more than happy to do.  They are great and I adore them for their understanding.

Emergencies are part of life, but too often my scheduling problem is with a scheduled appointment.  I always call when I'm on my way to an appointment in order to let the owner know a pretty specific time (thank you Garmin) for when I will be there.  When I get there, I expect them to 1) have their animals caught and 2) have a basic idea of what they would like me to accomplish while I'm there.  That's all folks. I really don't feel like I'm asking for a lot. 

Today I had two scheduled appointments that were given a 1 HOUR notice that I was on the way.  At the first, there was utter chaos since no one was sure what horses needed to be looked at, why I was there to look at them, or what sort of vaccines and/or blood tests needed to be done.  I was there for 45 minutes before I actually touched a horse, and even then everything took twice as long as it should have since none of the animals were ready.  The second problem place was to castrate a goat.  A "wild as a deer" goat (not an actual breed... yet).  Zero effort was made to catch this animal (in a huge pen) before I arrived.  None. Half an hour to catch the animal for a 15 minute procedure.

To anyone who has ever grumped about their veterinarian not being on time, realize that there are things out of our control and that we are doing the best we can.  And for the love of all that's holy, when we do get there, be prepared.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wimps Need Not Apply

No one has ever accused me of being one of those delicate flower types of girls; more than once I've been called tough as nails. Both of those are good things because vets need to be tough and not just mentally tough.  I'm talking about the physical stuff.  We are constantly bending, lifting, restraining, and dodging.  The small animal vets are dodging teeth and claws, and the large animal vets are dodging everything else.  Bottom line: I am more than capable of taking a hit and getting back up, but damn.  This week has been ridiculous.

Monday - Kicked in the ribs by a 200 pound calf.

Tuesday - Slammed into a barn by a horse. 

Wednesday - Kicked in the mouth by a 50 pound lamb.

Thursday - Worked through the pain from the first 3 days of the week.  By "worked through" I mean drove nearly 400 miles and saw 11 appointments, all in 12 hours.

Friday - Got my ass handed to me by an alpaca.  It was down, sedated... and then... well to be honest I'm not exactly sure what it did.  But one second I was standing and the next I was flying backwards, landing back first on my metal bucket 4 feet away, and had an alpaca tap dancing on my torso.

Today has been okay so far, but at the rate things are escalating..... *shudder*  I just ask that, for the rest of this weekend, the on-call gods be kind to me as I continue to move gingerly, that Advil continues to relieve pain without putting a hole in my stomach, and that any other sick/angry animals target uninjured body parts.

This job is hard.  Wimps need not apply. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bad Moon Rising

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "Did she mean to reference CCR in the title of this post?"  (That's Creedence Clearwater Revival for those who have been living under a rock.)  And yes, yes I did.  If you don't know me well, it might surprise you to find out that I have a pretty eclectic taste in music. My iPod looks like it belongs to someone with multiple personalities.  The last 5 artists that have played are: George Jones, Luciano Pavarotti, Ke$sha, CCR, and Maroon 5.

Anyway, back to CCR. I don't know if you've ever actually listened to all the lyrics of "Bad Moon Rising," but if you haven't, check them out here.

Now, I don't know if John Fogerty realized it at the time, but he was writing the story of on-call veterinarians.  Because there is absolutely no good that can come from being on call during a full moon.  Particularly a full moon that falls on a weekend.  Make it holiday weekend and you've got the trifecta from hell.

I would love to go into details and give you some examples right now from just this weekend so far (and I've got some good ones), but my phone just rang again.  I'm sure it's another disaster.