Friday, January 09, 2009

Work tales

This week I worked six days. That's because my boss is off whipping the Blue Mountains into shape. It has been exhausting and highlighted by some notable people and events.

Initially, it looked like we were going to have a very slow week. As of Tuesday afternoon (my last 2 doctor day), we had only 1 appointment Wed morning, a couple in the afternoon, a few on Thursday, and nothing Friday afternoon. Wednesday morning did end up with only two appointments, but then things picked up and we pretty much filled every slot.

One of those appointments Wednesday morning was filled Wednesday morning by a phone call. "I can get you in at 9:30." So, in comes a man with his young dog to get both a vaccine and heartworm injection...and in the course of explaining to me why he hasn't been walking the dog lately tells me he's going to kill himself. Oh, and I'm the only person he's told.

What do you do with this? We didn't cover this in vet school.

While my fabulous nurses were bathing the dog (which, by the way for some reason is pronounced bath - ing in Australia...perhaps they lack the verb "bathe"), I called the suicide hotline. I was surprised by how long a person has to wait to get to talk to a person on the suicide hotline. First, you have to listen to a little blurb about the call being recorded and then wait on hold. You don't want to decide to call after you've already swallowed the pills...

I explained to the woman on the other end that my client has just told me he was planning to kill himself and that I am the only one he's told. Perhaps she could tell me about a social agency that might stop by to talk with this man?

"Call the police."

Oh, great. That sounds subtle.

The police tell me they will come out to the clinic to talk with him. They'd take him to the hospital if he didn't seem to be in his right mind. Mental images of yelling, cursing, fists flying. There was absolutely no way it wouldn't be obvious that I was responsible and WHAT WERE WE GOING TO DO WITH HIS DOG?

Fortunately, the police didn't arrive until after he'd left. I told them he'd probably have gone right home since he has his dog.

Now, I'm cautious. Careful that no one leaves the clinic in the evening by herself. I'm waiting for him to show up with an assult rifle to take us out before turning it on himself. The nurses tell me I sound like an American.

Later in the week I had another less dramatic interaction.

Skink (not her real name) was in for her annual visit. Again, I vaccinated her and gave her a proheart injection. I prescribed her a worming table. "That's it. Everything's up to date."

"Everything's up to date in Kansas City," her owner replies.

"It isn't everyday someone comes in quoting Rogers and Hammerstein."

"That's something my dad said. He brought it home from the war. It was an Australian saying." Something about the interaction between the Aussies and the Yanks.

Mentally. "WHAT? AN AUSTRALIAN SAYING?." Out loud. "That's a line from a song from Rogers' and Hammerstein's 'Oklahoma.' 'Everything's up to date in Kansas City. They've gone about as fer as they could go. They've gone and built a sky scraper seven stories high...'"

After he left I ran to Google. "Everything's up to date in Kansas City Australia," I searched. Funny. Can't find any information that supports the idea that this phrase has any relationship with Oz. I found only six hits. I looked at every single one. (By the way, I just repeated it and got 10 pages, so who knows what I actually did!) My favorite was an Australian forum where the writer posted the question/comment that while there were 50 states in the US he could only come up with about 8 songs that had the title of a state or US city in them! He thought that was "so odd". The next few posts added a song or two. Finally, about post 5 was a list of several hundred. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. It went on and on and on and on.

Anyway, one of those songs was, of course, "Cleveland Rocks" which inspired me to go into a bit of a Drew Carey orgy. A bright spot in my week!

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