Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Vet Is a Jackass

Guess what? No drunken hookups this weekend (you guys should be pleased) – of course, I was babysitting the nephews on Saturday night so that pretty much explains it. FYI, the little guys couldn’t be cuter if they tried.

No, instead I learned that my vet is a complete fucking incompetent (not something I ever wanted to realize). So everyone, allow me to vent for a few minutes, because I am still insanely pissed right now and need to let it out.

Picture this – it’s noon on Saturday, and I have somehow corralled my kitty into her carrier (with minimal damage done to me, woo hoo), to take her for her yearly physical. Upon arriving at the vet’s, I am greeted by the cutest boxer puppy – as a lot of you know, I was raised with boxers and love them to death – and foolishly I saw this as a good sign for the visit. Oh how wrong I turned out to be.

Anyway, so after a short wait I was sent into an examining room. I wasted no time taking my baby out of her carrier and holding her close – she doesn’t like her carrier and I wanted to relax her as much as possible. And as the nurse walked in, I made a point of explaining that P (my cat) is a) very nervous around strangers, and b) doesn’t like unfamiliar situations. So she was going to be freaked out – it was really just an FYI and ‘keep that in mind’ sort of thing.

The nurse looked at me blankly (her natural look I was soon to find out) before nodding her head, grabbing P out of my arms, and sticking her on the scale. Then she tried to take P’s temperature, and this is where P’s nervousness really became clear. P was…um…’clenching’ I guess is the correct word, and the thermometer wouldn’t go in. My response when the nurse pointed this out was simple: ‘Can’t say I blame her.’

Then the vet came in. She was new to the practice (I’ve been going to this place P’s whole life, but I tend to get a different vet each year and never really minded before – as long as they keep her healthy I’m fine), and she looked to be all of 12-years-old.

Whatever, I thought. Just let her take good care of my cat. Right off the bat she had the nurse hold P down so she could insert the thermometer, and after the discomfort of that (for P really, although I wasn’t all that comfortable watching either), we waited. And waited. And waited. It took Dr. Genius about 3 minutes before realizing the thermometer was broken. Fucking great.

Shrugging her shoulders, she patted P and said, ‘Her temperature feels fine, so let’s assume it is.’ Okey dokey. Then she went on to question me about P’s behavior recently – normal, her food intake – normal, and what food I feed her. When I told her what P eats, I was informed that it’s not the healthiest food out there. I know this of course, but P is a very picky eater and I try to do the best I can. Her dry food is very healthy, but her wet food (which she doesn’t get every day) is crap. I was told this had to change, and I agreed; P is going to turn 7 in October, and I knew I had to take a firmer hand with her. Fine, what foods would Dr. Genius recommend, I asked?

‘Um, I think we have some pamphlets on that out front.’

Oh good, I thought, she really is a moron. Looking at P – who incidentally looked like she wanted to throw up – I again made a point of mentioning that P is very shy, and obviously very nervous right now (although I was quick to reassure everyone that she wouldn’t bite or anything). Nodding her head, Dr. Genius began her examination of my little girl (shut up). As if to drive my point home YET AGAIN, the nurse actually giggled while Dr. Genius was looking at P’s eyes and said, ‘Look’ while pointing at the stainless steel exam table, ‘her paws are sweating!’ Sure enough, P was leaving sweaty streaks on the table. She was also super shedding – another sign of nervousness.

Are we clear yet that P was probably more nervous than most cats would be at the vet? I just want to be sure. OK, moving on.

So Dr. Genius was taking A LOT of time doing her examination – she spent forever feeling for P’s internal organs – and when she finally found her kidneys (P was sort of trying to get as small as possible during this whole experience and it was making things difficult – although I would like to note that none of the other vets we’ve visited have ever had any trouble checking things out quickly and efficiently), she commented that ‘The kidneys feel a little small.’

Huh…OK, what does that mean? ‘Maybe nothing,’ she said, ‘but since P is almost 7, we could do some bloodwork just to make sure everything is all right.’

‘Sounds good to me,’ I said, being very clear that P’s health is the only important thing. I didn’t ask how much it cost – I didn’t care.

Now, P’s never had blood taken before (that I remember), so I want to be clear that I had no idea what the protocol here was. When they held my cat down and lifted her head straight up so she was looking at the ceiling, I didn’t think to object; I simply assumed this was what they NEEDED to do. And even when they started trying to stick a needle into my cat’s neck, and I felt a wave of horror wash over me, I still kept my mouth shut. But I really almost lost it when Dr. Genius – she of the incompetent EVERYTHING up until then - had trouble finding a fucking vein.

My cat looked like she was in hell. I looked like I was in hell. But I kept my mouth shut, because they needed blood and I assumed this was the only way to get it (after all, who would use the neck to get blood if there was another option – especially on a skittish cat like P – right?). In fact, I only made one noise during the whole thing, and that was when Dr. Genius finally got the fucking needle in. The instant she pushed it in, P’s tongue sprang out of her mouth. Now let me be clear here – I’ve never seen P’s tongue pop out like that. It looked like she was being strangled. So I whimpered, feeling her pain. And do you know what that MOTHERFUCKING vet said? ‘Oh, she’s just being dramatic.’

EXCUSE ME? Did you just tell me my CAT was being DRAMATIC, you incompetent piece of SHIT? My cat does not know how to be dramatic – she’s a fucking ANIMAL! Now I don’t have a medical degree or anything, but if I had to guess I’d say she’s fucking terrified right now, and I’d also guess that there’s a VERY good change that you just stuck that needle into something you weren’t supposed to, you inept BITCH! You WASTE OF GODDAMN SPACE!

But I kept my mouth shut – she had a needle in my baby’s neck after all. And finally (it seemed like years later) Dr. Genius removed the syringe. And left…there was blood all over P’s neck. I was horrified. But Dr. Genius just looked at it and said, ‘Oh don’t worry, she’ll clean that off herself.’

Honestly, I didn’t know what to do at this point. My jaw was just hanging open, I felt sick to my stomach, and all I wanted was to get out of there. I couldn’t even think of words (and that never happens to me) – I think I was in shock. But the rage, the real ANGER only came when the nurse casually commented (after P had gotten a vaccination in her back leg – which she took like a champ by the way), ‘You know, maybe next year we should take the blood from her back leg instead.’

Excuse me? WHAT?! You restrained my cat and took blood from her NECK (badly), when you could have gotten it from her back leg? Knowing how terrified she was, you chose to do THAT rather just take it from a place far from her face? How COULD you?! If I had known there was any other option, I OF COURSE would have chosen it. Any MORON could have figured out that was a better choice. You ASSHOLE!

I just...saw red. I STILL see red when I think about it.

And right then I realized that I needed to get out of there. Quickly, or I was going to do something horrible. So I gathered P up, paid the bill, and ran. I was literally shaking by the time we got back to the apartment. All I could do was pull P out of her carrier, hold her close (for as long as she would let me), apologize for putting her through that, and wonder which of us was more traumatized by the events of the day. Considering she was jumping around and being naughty just a few hours later, I’m pretty sure I was.

In fact, I’m still…I’m still SO angry about this, I can barely tell the story now. So let me just conclude with this – I hate that vet, I hate the place where she works, I will NEVER go back there and I hope that bitch gets her license taken away. How dare people who are supposed to be taking care of animals treat them with such disrespect? Incompetent assholes.

OK, vent over. Thanks for listening (assuming you actually made it through that whole thing).


Alex said...


I'm outraged on P's behalf. I've been to the vet with 4 cats (my girl-cat, and the cats of several ex-es), and have always seen needles used in the back leg. Just... wow.

Erin said...

They take my dog's blood from her neck, but they always take her in the back to do it, so I thankfully never have to see it. She's a pretty skittish dog (she's a rescue who weighs five pounds, so she's got some justifiable anxiety). But I just always assumed the larger vein was better for drawing blood. I'll ask my vet (who's a much nicer/smarter guy than Dr. Genius) next time what the difference is.

MCBias said...

I surprisingly did make it through the whole thing. Knowing your love of all things feline, I thought you were exaggerating...but unfortunately you weren't. What is it about med folks and their pincushion poking?! I got to talk to my brother the nurse about that. Do they train med folk to poke harder and faster when the patient seems to be in pain? I'm starting to wonder...

Mel said...

Usually a lurker - but last time I picked up my cat Garfield from the vet after boarding him there was too much food leftover - so I can definitley feel your rage. And the only reason I board him is because I don't trust anyone else while I'm away, figuring the vet is the best option - but that was the last time at that vet.

Anonymous said...

Red, I sincerely hope this is not the only place you vented! I would very much let that practice know how unhappy you were with that piece of shit vet- hopefully she gets her ass chewed out!

Hope P(rincess?) has recovered from that horrible experience.

Redhead said...

alex: Thank you! My mother actually called her vet (great guy) to ask him about this after I called her, completely distraught, and he assured her this had NOT been necessary.

erin: Aw, P is a rescue too - I think that definitely factors into the whole skittish thing. Also ask your vet if he uses the front or back of the neck; I know the back of the neck on some animals is actually very tough (they get carried around by their mothers there), but my vet used the front of the neck, and I STILL would have preferred the leg if they'd asked me.

mcb: You know, the main thing people say to me upon hearing this story is 'I can't believe you didn't say/do anything!' I'm kind of surprised myself (I'm not one to keep my displeasure quiet), but I honestly...I was just so shocked and upset, I could barely speak (a first for me).

mel: I would have been really angry too! You're right, you think people who choose to work with animals would love them and treat them better than the average person, but I'm beginning to realize that's not true. That's why if I'm going away for any length of time, I still only trust my parents to take care of P - hence, I have to drag her out to NJ (she hates it, but it allows me to relax and not worry).

anon: Princess? You think I would name my cat Princess? Are you serious? Think less prissy valley girl and more mythical god. (Oh, and thanks for the support - I'm thinking of saying something when I call today to get her test results.)

MCBias said...

No Friday post?

Redhead said...

Shut up. I was going to post today, but instead I decided to rip a tooth in half while eating a salad, spend the next hour making small talk and pretending I wasn't in excruciating pain while at a business lunch, going back to the office and calling every dentist in NYC to see if ANY of them were actually open on a Friday afternoon in the summertime and able to fit me in (FYI, I went into the wrong profession). Then I decided to trot off and spend a couple hours in a dentist's chair while while having half my tooth removed, my gums cut into because the crack was so high they 'couldn't see if the rest of the tooth was salvagable' and then getting some glue-type substance put in the gaping hole where half my tooth used to reside so I can wait it out until my insurance company gives the okay to surgically repair me. So no, I didn't post today. Sorry about that.

MCBias said...

You ripped a tooth?! Well that's one of the more creative excuses I've heard, and...ok, more honestly I feel about two inches tall right now. I'm really sorry to hear that. Get well first and then come back.