Friday, December 12, 2008

Complete lack of human compassion

Chelsea and I were at peace with each other when she left this past Friday. Although I miss her more than you possibly want to hear about, I know that it was time for her to go, and it was my responsibility to help her leave this life. I promised to be her guardian and caretaker, and I was for 14 years. All the way up to the very end.

There was a part of the story I didn't tell on Friday. I didn't want to mar saying goodbye to my pup anymore than had been done for me that day. The experience we had at the vet was unbelievable, and I wavered on whether to share it at all. However, if anyone is searching for this vet online, I think it is important that they hear how we were treated.

Quail Corners Animal Hospital, where I had trusted the care of my dogs for close to eight years now, will no longer be our vet. There was a girl who was supposed to be scheduling it to be done at home for us. Two days went by without her calling me back, only to find out that the vet who was supposed to do it had gone into labor. While I certainly understood that labor and birth took priority, I didn't understand why I hadn't been extended the courtesy of a phone call to give me this information. Instead I had to keep calling back, trying to find out what time I would say goodbye to my pup. I needed to find someone to watch Bird and really wanted Kevin to be off work to be with us. I needed to prepare myself mentally and emotionally.

After two days of not letting me know anything except how little she knew, I finally told her that I would just bring Chelsea in to have it done. She told me the vets who were available, and after I chose one, she asked me if I wanted morning or afternoon. I told her afternoon. She offered me 1:30, and I said that would be fine. I repeated back the time to her, and she said yes 1:30 was the time.

I called Kevin and let him know. Then I called Boo who had offered to be with me, and I asked her to watch Little Bird. I set the whole thing up for 1:30. I did not get the time wrong of the death of my dog.

When we arrived at the vet, we were told by the front desk that our appointment wasn't until 4:30. The woman at the front told us there was nothing she could do to change it.


I'm sitting there in the waiting room, bawling already. Chelsea is just standing there because she can't lay down without just falling over anymore. Kevin is standing with his mouth agape. It was all I could do to get there once. There was no way I could go home and bring her back again.

Seriously? Nothing she could do?

I told her through my tears that she didn't need to change anything; that our appointment was at 1:30, and we were there at the right time. I wasn't going to even entertain this discussion.

She just repeated herself.

I start sobbing. I can't help it. I tell her that I had been working with Rachel for three days to get this taken care of, and that I had been extremely patient with her. I told her that our appointment was at 1:30.

She went to get Rachel.

We have to believe that something else was going on in the office because Rachel approached us swinging. She came out and immediately told me we were wrong. I was wrong. Our appointment was at 4:30 and that she had confirmed it on the phone with me for 4:00. Um, okay. I'm not sure how that made any sense, but whatever.

I have to admit. I lost it. I actually yelled. In public. At that girl. I yelled at her and told her she was incompetent. I yelled at her and told her that she was completely unable to engage another adult in an intelligent conversation that resulted in effective communication. I yelled at her and told her to quit talking to me and just get me all of my dogs' records so I could get out of there and never have to see her again.

The whole time, she was yelling back at me, telling me that I was wrong. Telling me that the circumstances were out of her control. I'm not sure what circumstances kept her from inputting the correct time of my appointment into the computer, but whatever.

Kevin stepped in between us and told us both to stop. He looked at Rachel and asked her what she was going to do to fix this. She said that she couldn't do anything right then, that we could be worked in at 2:30.

I told her to get our records and she yelled over Kevin's shoulder that she would be glad to do that and then stormed out of the little office cubby.

After she was gone, another office worker came out into the waiting room and leaned over to me. She said that there was a vet who could help us then. Kevin took my arm and nodded at me to get up and go back. He knew that this was the one chance we had at my strength. It was sapped, and if we took Chelsea back home again, I would never let her go.

There were mumbled apologies at the "mix-up." I ignored them. There was no "mix-up." It was a major mistake on their part.

The thing is, even if I had gotten the time wrong, which I didn't, they should have ignored it. Obviously, I wasn't in some sort of hurry that I deceptively came in with my dog and tried to get them to put her to sleep 3 hours before my scheduled time. That's freaking absurd.

Any ounce of compassion would have caused the very first woman in the office to ignore the discrepancy between the time we arrived and the time that Rachel the genius entered in the computer. She would have quietly slipped into the back and found the vet who helped us in the end, and made everything work out without subjecting us to the drama that their incompetency created.

This isn't a rant, it is simply what happened that day. In the event that someone Googles this vet, it is the chance for them to see how they might be treated if they choose to go there.

It was hard enough to make the decision. It was hard enough to get in the car with my pup. It was hard enough to get out of the car and take her inside for the very last time. To say goodbye.

I will never understand how they could possibly treat someone in so much obvious pain as badly as they treated me.