Catherine Fischer (copper9lives) wrote,
Catherine Fischer

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The things they don't tell you in vet school


Today a woman arrives with a cat that "hasn't been breathing in a while". She arrives late -- 45 minutes late, after the phone call telling our receptionist that the cat isn't breathing -- and it comes out that she has been in an auto accident on the way to our clinic (in a car borrowed from a friend). The technician who goes to assess the case/bring the patient back to the treatment area comes out of the room white and incoherent with horror. I go in to talk to the owner...

Who has her mouth around the cat's face. The cat is dead. Deaddeaddead. Deadsky. Eyes are sunken and dessicated. Abdomen is distended and liquefying. Rigor mortis has come and gone. The cat is putrefying -- actively decomposing.

I gently tell the woman that nothing I can do -- nothing -- will bring her cat back to life. I tell her that her cat has been dead for too long; she tells me that it died last Thursday (today is Saturday). She asks me if I will try to resuscitate it, and that she is "praying for a miracle". She has that unfocused, dissociated look of someone undergoing a schizophrenic episode.

I tell her that, since nothing I can do will help the cat in any way, it would be unethical to take her money. Then I ask her if there is anyone I can call, or if I can help her understand what has happened to her cat. She looks at me sideways, and asks if I can direct her to Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital (I tell her that they will say the same thing that I just told her; she tells me that several vets before me have told her the same thing). Then she sidles out the door. Nitwit me -- didn't get the license plate. Did file a police report, and called Dove Lewis and all of the other emergency clinics in the area. My friend Rob wanders in (his fiancee is my friend and colleague, Marsha) and tells me that she visited his clinic 2 hours ago.

I come home and tell Brent about the episode, and get the only gross-out I've ever managed to extract from the man. Totally heebie-jeebies. It was excellent.

Welcome to my world.
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