Thursday, June 1, 2017

Supersonic Octopus

June 1.
First receptionist, "Philipp, Mrs Patterson is late, can I set up Mr. Cho instead?"
"Uh, sure." I'm trotting down the hall, hoping to get to my computer to catch up on files.
Then it occurs to me, "Mr. Cho? I don't remember seeing him in the schedule."
"No, he's a squeeze in. Killer collapsed and he says 'stuff is coming out of him'!"
"Oh, ok."
I turn around and head to the exam room.
Second receptionist, "Mrs. Patterson just showed up. She apologizes, it was the traffic, but she has to see you today. And your next appointment is here too. They're a bit early."
"Ok, well I'll look in quickly on Killer and then I'll see Mrs. Patterson's dog."
First technologist, "Philipp, can you come into the back, I think Dodo is having a seizure."
Third receptionist, "Can you pick up the phone first please, Mrs. Wilson says she has left three messages and needs to talk to you right now before they leave for the cottage."
First receptionist back again, "Before you see Cho and Patterson, Samsons are here to pick up those prescriptions you told them you'd have ready..."
First colleague, "Philipp, can you squeeze in an ultrasound soon? I think Buzz Firth is bleeding internally..."
Second technologist, "Buzz's owners are here now visiting him and want to know what's going on. Did you do that ultrasound yet?"
Second receptionist again, "I set up Mrs. Patterson, she brought her other dog too, hoping that after you see Marvin for his chronic diarrhea you'd have time to discuss Melvin's chronic skin condition which has gotten a lot worse."
(Yes, a pair of cockers named Marvin and Melvin.)
Third receptionist again, "Before you talk to Mrs. Wilson, can you quickly answer a question from your last appointment? Mr Schmidt's at the counter still and has his wife on the phone who reminded him what he was supposed to ask."

I haven't checked phone messages in two hours.
I haven't written on files in three hours.
I haven't been to the bathroom since I got to work...

Then my brain began to liquefy and I slumped into a gibbering vibrating heap on the floor.

Ok, that last bit isn't precisely true. And the very first line is misleading too - June 1 is truly the epicenter of our ultra-busy heartworm season, but I'm not at the clinic today. Today is my day off. Today I am mowing the lawn, drinking beer and writing this.

When the kids were small and they would pepper me with a series of complex overlapping requests I would joke with them that I was not a "supersonic octopus". This expression comes back to me frequently this time of year...

A Public Service Announcement Postscript:
It is critical that you give your dog heartworm preventative medication.
It is not critical that you give the first dose right on June 1. Please do not phone your clinic in a panic today or tomorrow. As long as the first dose is given within a month or so of the first mosquito bite it will still work well. The medications kill the first larval stages of heartworm in the bloodstream before they can do any harm.


  1. This makes me laugh! Perhaps "ability to morph into supersonic octopus as needed" should start topping the list of important skills for becoming a small animal veterinarian - lol!