Sunday, October 20, 2013

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm": Veterinary Edition

As you may know, I work in a busy companion animal veterinary office in a small town.  I love what I do and the people with whom I do it.  We have many wonderful patients and most of them have wonderful owners.  There are a few, however, who are, uh… “interesting”.  What follows is an actual interaction that I had recently at work.  Unfortunately, this type of thing is not unique.  

Scene: Our veterinary office during the middle of scheduled office appointments.  I am covering the front desk while the receptionist is in a meeting.  A man with a large dog on a shoelace leash comes in the front door.

ME (indicating the dog): “Hello, who do you have with you there?”

HIM: “Umm, I’m not sure which one this is.”

ME: “Do you have an appointment?”

HIM: “I don’t know.  I don’t think so.”

ME: “Okay, that’s fine.  We normally require an appointment, but can squeeze you in since we just had a cancellation.  What would you like the dog seen for today?”

HIM: “I’m not sure.”

ME: “Well, let me see if I can find your dog in our system.  What is your name?

HIM: “Well, my name is _____, but the dog wouldn't be under my name.”

ME: “Can you tell me the name the account might be under?”

HIM: “It might be under my girlfriend’s name, which is _____.”

  • I look up the name, including various spelling variations, and find nothing in our system.

ME: “Is there another name it might be under?”

HIM: “Try _______.  That was her married name.”

  • Still nothing in the system.

ME: “I’m not seeing anything under that name either.”

HIM (growing agitated): “Look, she said he’s been here before. Try her sister’s name, _____. The dog used to belong to her.”

ME: “Still nothing.”

HIM: “Look under _________.  I think that is her married name.”

  • No such person is in our system.  Clearly, we are getting nowhere and the man is getting a bit flustered, so I try another tack.

ME:  "Why don’t we just establish a new account under your name for now?”

HIM: “Okay.”

  • I hand him a form to fill out, which he hands right back.

 HIM: “I can’t do this.  I didn't bring my reading glasses.”

  • At this point, I offer to fill it out for him.  I proceed to ask him about his contact information, which he has, and information about the dog, which he does not.  All I can discern about it is the breed, gender, and approximate age, and that only from looking at the dog.  The dog’s name, vaccine history, health history, neutered or spayed…it’s all a mystery.  I put what little information I have into the computer and several minutes later go with him into the exam room to see if I can figure out what it is the dog is being seen for.

ME: “Have you noticed anything unusual about him?”

HIM: “I think he itches a lot.”

  • I check the dog’s coat and it is infested with fleas.  When I mention this to the man, he asks if I will apply a flea treatment, which I do.  He also asks if I will trim the dog’s toenails, which I also do with no small amount of difficulty as he cannot control the dog and it is not fond of having his nails cut.  Finally, the veterinarian and an assistant come into the room, and I return to the front desk.
  •  About ten minutes later, the man and dog come back to the front desk.  My computer says that in addition to the nail trim and flea treatment, the dog received a full suite of vaccinations, as well as an ear examination and a prescription for an ear infection.  Before I can tell him the total for his bill, which is well over $100 at this point, his cell phone rings.  He steps to the other side of the room to answer it, while I answer our office phone, which is ringing.  A few minutes later, he steps back up to the desk.

 HIM: “This isn't the right vet’s office. She said she takes him to Dr. ________ (the other veterinarian in our town).”

  • Despite my urge to strangle someone, preferably him, I laugh it off and tell the man the amount of his bill for the day.

 HIM:  “Oh, I don’t have any money.”

Yeah…good times.