Friday, July 22, 2011

The Two Conversations

As a general rule, I'm very honest with my clients and tell them what I'm thinking.  Veterinarians, (unlike human doctors, I believe) hash things out with their clients; let them in on the decision-making process and go over everything so that everyone understands the disease process and what the course of diagnosis/treatment may turn out to be.  People, I've found, do not like surprises, and hardly anyone gives you carte blanche in pursuing a case, so this approach generally works out pretty well.

I was having one of these discussions recently.  I was doing my best at explaining the pathophysiology of recurrent ear infections in dogs to an older woman who seemed pretty with-it.  I could tell that we were on the same wavelength and I was excited that I was making things clear, until...I began suffering from The Two Conversations Syndrome.

The Two Conversations Syndrome is one I believe affects anyone, in any field.  But for me, oftentimes it manifests itself as the "conversation I wish I was having with the client" versus "the one I actually am."  Allow me to use the ear infection lady as an example:

Dr. T:  "So, in the case of an ear infection in a dog, what we have is an overgrowth of  the normal yeast and bacteria in the ear along with a change in the normal cleansing mechanism of the ear itself."

Client:  "Well, I have been cleaning Rusty's ears.  I've been using peroxide and then bathing the ear with warm water and sometimes I'll use one of those face-cleansing pads.  Then, I read on the internet that I should put a few drops of mineral oil in there after I'm done cleaning, but I didn't have any of that so I used olive oil.  This has been going on for a few weeks and the olive oil didn't seem to be working, so recently, I've been using some medicine I bought at Wal-mart.  I can't remember the name of it."

Dr. T's conversation she wishes she was having with the client:  "What the HECK?!?!  Why, WHY did you think that was a good idea?!  No wonder he has a freaking ear infection.  Your poor dog probably hates you right now."

Dr. T (actual conversation):  "Well, those cleaning methods are probably not such a good idea.  We have specially formulated ear cleaners for dogs that are very gentle on the skin of the ear itself, while breaking down the waxy debris in it.  I'd also stay away from putting anything other than prescribed medications in the ear.  Olive oil is something I probably wouldn't use.  Actually, anytime you read something in the internet and are considering using as a treatment, just give us a call and we'll be happy to discuss it with you."

Client:  "Oh, ok.  Well, I've also been cleaning the ear three times a day.  Is that too much?"

Dr. T's conversation she wishes she was having with the client:  "For real?  THREE times a day??  I can hardly get people to medicate their dogs three times a day when they actually NEED it, much less when they don't." 

Dr. T (actual conversation):  Yes ma'am.  Definitely too much.  What we want to do with ear cleaners is remove the debris without stripping the ear of its natural wax and destroying too much of it's normal flora.  I'd definitely recommend cleaning much less often than that.

Client:  "OH I see!  It's just like with women!"

Dr. T's conversation she wishes she was having with the client:  "Um, what?  Do I want to even ask what you mean by that?  Ohhhh, Lordy..."

Dr. T (actual conversation):  "Hmm, I'm not sure I see what you mean."

Client:  You know, we have a normal flora too.  My gynecologist was telling me all about it because I was having so many problems - you know, down there- he said I was douching too much.  See, I was having this odor-"

Dr. T's conversation she wishes she was having with the client: "NO! NO! NO!  Please. Stop.  Ears. Burning.  Nausea...Ohhhhhh...."

Dr. T (actual conversation):  "OH!  I see!  Yes, it's just like that!  OKAY, well I'm going to take a look at Rusty's ears now, alright?  HEYYY there Rusty!  Good boy!  Let's take a look..."

See what I mean?  You can't make this stuff up, folks.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hungry Mother

 "...I love you like an RC Cola Drank,
you and me go together like a skunk goes with stank..."

That's a line from an email forward my dad got when I was probably thirteen or fourteen.  He printed it out and read it to the family over dinner one night and I thought it was absoutely hilarious.  I think the whole composition was a poem that had a title like, "A Redneck Sonnet by Billy Bob Shakespeare" or some such silliness.  Obviously, it stuck with me since it popped back into my mind just a few minutes ago.

Surprisingly (or perhaps, unsurprisingly) this little verse reminds me of my dear sweet husband and I.  Yes, we really do go together like a skunk goes with stank.  How adorable.

I've been thinking about this today after spending a day and a night chaperoning an FFA (Future Farmers of America, for you all who didn't grow up in the country) leadership weekend trip with said husband at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virginia.  I played the older, more mature (haha!) wifely and motherly influence to the six teenagers that went on the trip, got very little sleep, and participated in all manner of games cooked up by young teenage minds.  It was a great time, me good-naturedly teasing Aaron Ray about trying to cook frozen french fries on a campstove with some of his favorite students giggling and listening favorite part is when the girls announced at almost midnight, after a rousing game of chubby bunny (ARay got second place...I was dead last), that they really liked me...that I was fun.  

The fries were not good.  The ribs (not shown) were.
I am fun, gol' durn it!  Even if, now that I've come home, I have absolutely no idea what to do with myself.  I've been a good semi-farmwife and tended my 'maters and herb garden; I have cleaned the whole downstairs of my house, put new sheets on every bed, washed, dried and folded every stitch of laundry in the house (the fire alarm outside the laundry room door has gone off three times from all the steam coming from the room every time I opened the door), and have grand plans to organize the upstairs of the house, which, has largely been the cat's domain since we moved in.  Fred and I are also becoming good friends, even if he is getting a little fresh with me.  He thinks he can take liberties now that I've become his nurse-maid.  I'm having a hard time convincing him that sucking on my pant-legs and head-butting me in the behind all around will not get his bottle to him any faster.  Silly calf.  I'll be glad when his real momma comes back from the trip.

The picture is blurry because the calf tried to suck on the camera lens.  I tried to wipe it off.  Oh well.
I sincerely doubt that ARay will be this productive when I'm gone to the AVMA convention next week - I'm enjoying feeling so important that vendors feel like they need to overnight me promotional materials before the convention.  This one gave everyone a laugh at work recently:

First of all, the package was addressed to me at home, but since the UPS man knows that my dogs destroy packages left on the front porch, and also knows where I work, he left it at the office instead.  Such a nice man.  The mail-carrier also knows this, but instead, leaves packages in Aaron Ray's truck which is usually parked in the driveway.  Country folk are so conscientious.

Second of all, this is all that was in the package:

Who needs a tick remover when you have one attached to your arm?  I can't imagine myself running off to go grab my tick key every time I spot a tick on something at work.  Oh wait, maybe that's why there's a hole in the top.  I think it would look gorgeous as a necklace!  I could keep it with me all the time!  Brilliant.
I'd like to have half of the money that Merial spends on things like this.

At any rate, it's been a wonderful weekend so far.  Wonderful enough that I think I'll just wash the one lonely dirty dish in the dishwasher by hand and call it a day.  Summertime is such a blessing.  I just love it.

Here's the poem, fresh from google, for your reading pleasure:

Collards is green, my dog's name is Blue
And I'm so lucky to have a sweet thang like you.
Yore hair is like corn silk a-flapping in the breeze.
Softer than Blue's and without all them fleas.

You move like the bass, which excite me in May.
You ain't got no scales but I luv you anyway.
Yo're as satisfy'n as okry jist a-fry'n in the pan.
Yo're as fragrant as "snuff" right out of the can.

You have some'a yore teeth, for which I am proud;
I hold my head high when we're in a crowd.
On special occasions, when you shave under yore arms,
Well, I'm in hawg heaven, and awed by yore charms.

Still them fellers at work, they all want to know,
What I did to deserve such a purdy, young doe.
Like a good roll of duct tape, yo're there fer yore man,
To patch up life's troubles and fix what you can.

Yo're as cute as a junebug a-buzzin' overhead.
You ain't mean like those far ants I found in my bed.
Cut from the best cloth like a plaid flannel shirt,
You spark up my life more than a fresh load of dirt.

When you hold me real tight like a padded gunrack,
My life is complete; Ain't nuttin' I lack.
Yore complexion, it's perfection, like the best vinyl sidin'.
Despite all the years, yore age, it keeps hidin'.

Me 'n' you's like a Moon Pie with a RC cold drank,
We go together like a skunk goes with stank.
Some men, they buy chocolate for Valentine's Day;
They git it at Wal-Mart, it's romantic that way.

Some men git roses on that special day
From the cooler at Kroger. That's impressive," I say.
Some men buy fine diamonds from a flea market booth.
"Diamonds are forever," they explain, suave and couth.

But for this man, honey, these won't do.
Cause yor'e too special, you sweet thang you.
I got you a gift, without taste nor odor,
More useful than diamonds......IT'S A NEW TROLL'N MOTOR!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Here come the hillbillys!

"Hi, is this Dr. Thomas?"

"Well...yes.  Can I help you?"

"Um, yes ma'am.  I'm just here for the weekend and I'm taking care of my son's dog and I think he ate a squeaker out of one of his toys."

"When did you notice that the squeaker had gone missing?"

"Last Thursday."

"Has he been eating and drinking since then?  Any vomiting?"

"Oh yes!  He's eating all his dog food and some of the other dogs' food too.  And we've been grilling out so my husband fed him some hot dogs on Saturday and then yesterday and some this morning.  He's been throwing up lots of yellow stuff and some hot dog bits."

"When did he start throwing up?"

"This morning."

"Ok, so what we've got here is either the squeaker is stuck in his stomach, or his stomach is upset because he ate too many hotdogs?"

"Oh.  Yes, that sounds silly now that you say it.  He probably ate too many hot dogs...but could you look at him just in case?"

"Sure, meet me at the clinic in twenty minutes."

"OH THANK YOU!  My vet in Atlanta would NEVER have done that!"

Happy fourth of July, everyone!  Here are some classics from the parade in Sparta - the highlights are the hillbillys that ride through on their jalopies wearing who knows what, following right behind the souped up lawnmowers that race at the fairgrounds every year (only racing lawnmowers could have won my heart when Aaron Ray took me there on our first date).