Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The 5:45 pm special

The clinic I work at closes at 6:00 pm, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the doors get locked and the receptionists clock out at that time (or even close to that time, some nights). There is always work to get caught up on, and some of it is just easier when there aren't half a dozen clients requesting two dozen different things. That goes for the vets as well. It can take a long time to write up charts, return phone calls, etc, and often these tasks will start piling up when there is a more immediate need to see clients in the exam rooms. Most days we can get things done in a fairly timely matter. But some days, it certainly is harder.

Enter the "5:45 special" (as I like to call this). This is the animal that has been sick for several weeks and suddenly urgently needs to be seen fifteen minutes before closing. Now the dilemma -- the client comes in with the ailing pet, and something that would have been relatively straight forward to work-up just a few hours earlier when there was plenty of help around suddenly becomes needlessly complicated. Bloodwork that we would normally like to send out to another laboratory because they can give us more values now needs to be run in-house. There are fewer people around to help hold the animal for radiographs, ultrasound or IV catheter placement. Typically, we finally figure out that the animal may need all of these things as soon as everyone else has left for the day. And, I'm sorry to say it, but I have had a few cases already where I have learned that it is beyond useful to ask a client to help restrain their pet for anything. At this point, I'd rather try to radiograph a dog all alone than have owner assistance!

So, just a quick tip: if you have a pet that (1) is sick +/- has been sick for awhile, or (2) has vomiting +/- diarrhea, please schedule an appointment for earlier in the day. Even if you cannot be there for an appointment, make arrangements to have your pet dropped off so a work-up can be done. Answers are a lot easier to come by when there are more people around!

No comments: