Thursday, April 14, 2011

Not that kind of doctor...

Why do I love my patients?  Because they provide me with stories like this:

Recently I was in my office trying to put the patient education packets together on my ever decreasing (read: next to none) budget when the receptionist rushed in and shut the door.  Her face was bright red.  "You need to come out and speak to Mrs. AnimalLover.  Now."

When things get heated, when patients get irate and when any of the staff feel like they are going to flip on a patient, I get the S.O.S. call.  I don't know why, but handling the crazies seems to be my specialty.  "I'm running pretty far behind, is there anyway you can deal with her?"

"No, you MUST speak with her."

I walk into the waiting room where a long standing patient is at the front desk.  With her dog.  This isn't an assistance dog who is there to help her in any way, just your run of the mill small breed mutt.  I turned on the million-watt smile.  "Hi, Mrs. AnimalLover!  What can I help you with?"

"I brought Fluffy in for his exam, but this woman insists he can't be seen today."  She glared at our receptionist.  "I know he has an appointment today and he needs his shots updated.  I know I have the right day."

"I'm sure you do have the right day for his exam, Mrs. AnimalLover, but this is just the wrong office.  This isn't the doctor you bring your dog to, this is the office where you come for visits."

"It is?"  She suddenly looked around realizing that there were no animals nor animal paraphernalia in our office and, thankfully, we had an empty waiting room.  "Well, they should have let me know they moved their office!"

We've been in our office for several years and the veterinarian she is talking about has, according to the receptionist who has lived here her entire life, been in the same building for 20 years or more.  Umm, yeah.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The best laid plans...

By 6:20pm I had a delicious smelling chicken marsala simmering on the stove, garlic smashed redskin potatoes on the warming burner alongside almond green beans and a chocolate cream pie in the refrigerator.  A full ten minutes before Dan was supposed to arrive.

And then the phone rang.

"At what temperature is it reasonable to start freaking out over my daughter's fever?"  No greetings, no niceties, just thinly veiled panic.  Even though his question and tone made it crystal clear the date was off, I had to smile a little.  Dan in overprotective daddy mode was pretty damn cute.

"Why don't you start by telling me what's going on."  My potential girlfriend hat was set aside pretty quickly in favor of my nurse's hat. 

He listed her symptoms and they seemed pretty consistent with the same flu bug that had been going around.  Not a life-threatening emergency, but sick enough to concern someone who had only been a daddy for less than a year.  "You have two main priorities here: keep her hydrated and give her some Tylenol or Motrin to get the fever down."

"She hasn't kept any liquids down today.  All she did this morning is cry and now she's just laying in my arms with her head on my shoulder."  He wasn't covering the panic as well.  "I can't even get her to keep down the medicine.  Should I call her doctor?"

"Is her soft spot sunken in?  Is she still making tears when she cries?"

"I don't know."  There was a soft beep in the background.  "Krista, her temperature is 104.2"

Dating a single parent is tricky.  You don't want to insinuate yourself into the life of a child who has already had a parent leave until you know you're going to be around for a while.  But I know his situation.  His gem of an ex-wife bailed almost 9 months ago - a mere 2 months after their daughter was born - for another man across the country.  He doesn't have a support system and he sounded incredibly lost.  My inner Florence Nightengale took over.  "I'll be there in 15 minutes."

By 8:00pm we were pacing the ER, taking turns comforting his daughter.  She was showing signs of dehydration and wasn't keeping medication down long enough for it to have any effect on her fever.  Thankfully after a single dose of the Tylenol suppository, IV fluids and 6 hours in a cubicle her fever was under 100 and she was snoring in her carseat as we drove back to Dan's house.  No underlying UTI or ear infection, just the same nasty virus plaguing everyone.

He pulled in the garage and tried to remove his daughter from her carseat without waking her.  "I'm going to put her to bed... Can you hang out for a minute before you go?"


The next day I could remember sitting down on his couch and thinking it was almost sinfully comfortable.  I couldn't, however, remember being covered with a blanket.  I didn't recall Dan sitting next to me, putting his arm around my waist or my head on his chest, but that's how I woke up.

I couldn't have planned a better night.