Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The things clients say...

Late one night, in the middle of a holiday weekend, a husband and wife arrive with their 13 year old poodle. 

I enter the exam, room, gather a history and presenting complaints, perform a physical exam, and recommend very urgent, important tests for the 13 year old poodle.

Before I can even finish, the husband says, in an aggressive tone, "Fluffy has been seening Dr. RegularVet for her whole life, and I've been using him for the last 30 years.  I don't want anyone other that Dr. RegularVet to treat my dog."

(Keep in mind that the client has driven himself to the ER, where Dr. RegularVet has never worked, in the middle of the night, for an emergent problem.)

My desired response: ......Then why in the hell did you drive here, fill out paperwork, waste your time giving me a history, allow me to perform an exam and give you my recommendations?

Instead of that, of course,  I gently tried to explain to the husband that Fluffy could have a number of conditions that couldn't wait 2 days for the holiday weekend to end.   I again discussed why these simple tests were important, and if he declined them, that Fluffy was basically at risk for getting worse until Dr. RegularVet opened again.

"Nobody touches Fluffy other than Dr. RegularVet.".

"You realize he doesn't work here, right? And I'm here to help you and Fluffy the best I can?!"

"My wife made me come, and I don't think we should be here.  We're going."  The wife interjects, concerned about the dog and wanting to approve the simple, non invasive testing.

Husband and wife argue, and I excuse myself from the room.  Since when did I become a marriage counselor?


  1. oh come on come on, we need to know what happened next. did the idiots leave or have the tests???

  2. Ha! That wasn't really the point of my story, but since inquiring minds want to know -

    they allowed me to perform the tests, and it was a good thing I pushed them - Fluffy was diabetic, hence the symptoms they had been noticing for months. It would have been easier to say "oh, yes sir, no problem, see Dr. RegularVet when he opens in two days," but I have to keep my oath and be the animal's advocate. No matter the situation, the animal's best interest is my priority.

  3. Oh, I always flee the room when spouses start arguing; "I'll give you a few minutes to discuss this and decide, let me know when you you've come to a consensus!" yikes.

  4. In school they have us actually practice situations like this, well arguing couples that cannot agree. We are marriage counsellors, and therapists, and stress relievers. It is crazy how people just want to have someone to yell at, so they pay $70 to yell at us. Boo. Glad the dog got treated. :)

  5. Practicing and having a real-life situation are very different! :) Better practice than not, however.