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Who's that serious looking dude?

A funny experience

Posted by erbn on 2005.09.03 at 18:21
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
I work as a tech at a veterinary clinic with four doctors and about a dozen other techs. It's almost two years now since I've started, and I've learned an awful lot about the field from my time spent there. It's a job that I immensely enjoy, and there are those moments of humor or simple oddity that make up for the sorrow and frustration that are experienced so often. This seems like a great community and I thought I'd share a funny story for my first post. This happened roughly eight months ago during my morning shift.

The doctors of the veterinary clinic I work at all have their own idiosyncrasies, be it a preference on how patients are checked in, to which vial to use for blood work. They all share a common dislike of having stool samples thrust into their hands in the examination rooms though. So now all the techs are required to rigorously grill the clients as they come in, snatching up those neatly tied bags or little plastic bins containing the still warm ex-contents of their pet's bowels.
Most people are taken aback by these questions, their expressions similar to someone who has come to the realization that they've forgotten their license after getting pulled over. I'm quick to assure them that it's okay, and that we'll still see their pet. This really shouldn't be such an issue, except a few people refuse to trust anyone but the doctor with something as important as the parasite content of their dog's feces. They slyly slip these samples into purses and pet carriers moments before entering the clinic, and an unwitting tech would never think to ask for what they can't see. It's understandable that they wouldn't want to be seen carrying it around, but most everyone is eager to pawn that warm little package off on the staff the moment they come in the door.

Now having just recently been lectured by the head veterinarian on the importance of asking 'everyone' who comes in if they've brought a stool sample, I was experiencing a heightened sense of awareness in this one aspect of my job. So when a woman came in with her beagle and five year old son I practically leapt over the counter when I saw a Tupperware container (a washed out margarine tub to be exact) in her hand. This marked the beginning of a two-minute argument over what the future of that container would be. She continuously demurred and turned aside my repeated attempts to take it for her, so I became less polite and more demanding as it dragged out. She finally gave the thing to me when I told her that the veterinarian had specifically instructed me to take it, and that neither she nor I had much choice in the matter. This was how he wanted things done, and I'm just following orders.

My mind was boggling as I walked to the lab in the back of the hospital. What in the world was wrong with this woman? Was she so possessive of every little thing that came out of her dog that I would have to go through such strenuous lengths in the future? It's just a pile of dog droppings... stop being so clingy, you nut! Since another tech was back there, I related the story to her as I found some surgical gloves and took out the supplies for the testing. You know all we really do is take a very small piece from the five pounds of stool clients usually bring in, and place it in a tube with a solvent designed to break the fecal matter up. Enough fluid is put into the tube so that it reaches the top, over which a cover slip is placed. Any parasite eggs to be found will float up and adhere to the slip, which is then placed on a glass slide to be looked at under the microscope. Having set all of this up in advance (a common practice which has you suffering the stench of the sample as briefly as possible), I opened the small plastic container to find a handful of yogurt covered pretzels the woman had brought for her son.

Pretzels... At first I thought there was something really wrong with their dog.


rhapsodical78 at 2005-09-04 01:03 (UTC) (Link)
Hah. God. That sounds like something I'd do.
erbn at 2005-09-04 03:15 (UTC) (Link)
I was very embarrassed when returning them to her. :p
rhapsodical78 at 2005-09-04 12:47 (UTC) (Link)
Welcome to my life. An existence of perpetual humiliation.
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