When I’m at work, I try to be sympathetic to the fact that I am consistently doing things to pets who have no idea why this stranger is poking and prodding at them. They’re no dummies. By about the 16 week point they get the wary look of an animal thoroughly expecting to have their temperature taken.
Unless you’re one of those extremely conscientious owners who takes their pet into the vet for kisses and treats for no reason whatsoever, pets learn very quickly that when they come to the clinic, nothing good happens. There will be some sort of probe or medicine or shot, and all they want is to get the heck back out to the parking lot.
Getting older stinks. With age comes certain medically related indignities that have, if nothing else, made me much more understanding towards what our poor veterinary clients go through. Living beings are like some amazingly intricate Italian racecars, one of those ones that seems to break down more and more and get increasingly expensive to fix each time. As phenomenal and complex as a living breathing body may be, each one of those stupid little parts can fail in a fascinatingly vast myriad of ways.
I let some stranger draw on my eyeballs with a Sharpie before slicing the fronts open with a laser and burning them up. Another one stuck probes in my gums before going at my teeth with a loud drill. And don’t even get me started on what happens when you have a child. You have very little pride left after that. What vestiges remain are stripped bare, so I am told, when you have to start with the mammograms and colonoscopies.
We tolerate these things with varying degrees of resignation, or sometimes valium, because we know we must. Unless you’re in a pediatrician’s office, you’re unlikely to see the nurse wrestling a patient down so the doctor can peek in someone’s ears. We deal not because we don’t mind, but because we have to in order to stay healthy. It is the price we pay for awareness of our mortality.
Dogs and cats, however, have no such societal expectations. If you’re trying to assess the extent of a dog’s enlarged prostate and he’s not feeling a prostate exam that morning, he will let you know. Mightily. If you’re dealing with a sore cat with FLUTD who needs a cystocentesis urine sample collection, he might understandably not be thrilled at having a needle put into his sore bladder and perhaps he might try to kill the person doing it. That is survival instinct. I get it.
I really get it.
As I was at the doctor’s this morning, I found myself staring at the ceiling while the doctor, blissfully numbed to the routine nature of the examination, prattled on about the cost of veterinary care for his cat. I briefly wondered what he would do if I suddenly tried to kick him in the teeth, which is what my instinct was telling me to do. I didn’t, but it might make him more appreciative of what we contend with to earn those dollars he was so loath to part with.
My father-in-law used to have a little phrase: “Major & Minor Surgery. It’s major surgery when it s mine and it’s minor surgery when its yours!” Somehow that seems to apply here.
PS–hope whatever the doctor ‘probed & prodded’ is in good health!
Sorry you had to visit the doctor for whatever reason, but I did have to LOL at the mental image of you kicking the doctor in his teeth! Teach him a lesson, Dr. V!!!
LOL! As someone who has had cat scratch fever, blood, snot, urine and ear debris flung in her face, and has dog and cat scratch scars from fingertips to elbows, your post cracked me up!!!
That drives me crazy too! And most people forget the fact that vets have to perform all their procedures without the benefit of government subsidiaries or insurance claims to help bear the burden like there is in human medicine. It frustrates me so much when highly educated people who should know better (like MDs) complain about the cost of services, and they actually get paid MORE money to do very similar things to what we do. They forget that we have mortgages/rent on the buildings, have to pay highly trained support staff so we don’t get bitten when doing unpleasant things to scared animals, have to pay the ever-rising costs for supplies and medication, etc, etc… I could go on and on about this, but I’ll step off my soapbox now. Let me just say that I totally feel you, Dr. V.
Lisa W says
You shoulda just let your foot slip — fake a sneeze and oops! 🙂 Then I would have had to ask if he thinks he is more deserving of high fees…
you totally should have sneezed and kicked him. ugh.
that would have made it a very Happy Friday for you (and us!) 🙂
hope you get to snuggle some cuties today at work.
LOL! Great post! I have brought Xander for visits to the Vet’s. I wanted to weigh him as he grew & wanted to know so I could feed him properly (scales in the lobby). They love him & have enjoyed watching him grow. It was good fo socializing him & him getting used to going there. But he still barks at the male vets. He loves Dr Jeania Beachner!
Of all people…ofcourse it would have to be someone in the medical field to criticize cost of care. Things that you go hmmmmm.
My OBGYN (who knows I am in the legal profession and deal with lobbyists on occasion) went on a rant during my exam in a year our legislature was talking about tort reform/caps. He made several comments about how vets made more money “to deliver puppies” than he does a baby. I finally couldn’t help it and nonchalantly said, “Really? That’s SO interesting. My sister is a vet, I’ll have to ask her how much she makes on procedures…..” Dr: “Well, you know, I didn’t mean that literally…..” BooooYA! Compare to my regular doc (best internal med doc ever) who, when I asked how he felt about the new health care reform, sighed and said, “Doctors are honestly so screwed either way…. but something’s gotta change….” and then followed up with….. “And your sister is a vet, right? People wanna pay her even less than they do me….” I love my doc!
Dr. V says
I love your doc too! ha ha!
I definitely belong with the not tolerating group. You should come with me to one of my doctor appointments 😀 I will do anything to get out of having a shot or blood drawn; mostly because I pass out every single time without fail. It’s going to be really fun when I have to get the required rabies vaccine when I go for my vet tech degree.
Dr. V says
I know a few people who required being held down- I understand that anxiety can be TERRIBLE. But I know some techs like that too, and they are fine doing it to others, just not themselves. 😀
I feel your pain. Everyone hates lawyers until you need one. And then they hate you again when they get the bill. For the record, I love my vet. 🙂