I wish that I had seen this sign when I looked at the appointment schedule today. Wolf was just in for his annual check-up. "By the way, he's got bad breath." Actually his breath isn't so bad. That's his ears you smell. They are full of stinky pus. "Well, I guess he has been shaking his head every now and then." I reckon he has. I've talked about why dogs stink before, but this post is about something else.
It's not uncommon for a pet to be presented for one problem and, lo and behold, I find more than one problem… or a completely different problem. Of course, nobody wants to make two trips when one will do, so we try to handle as much as possible during the visit. Unexpected problems can naturally make the visit take more time than was allotted on the appointment schedule. Now we're running behind, but maybe we can make it up.
The people who are waiting are not the people whose problem is causing the delay. They suffer because the guy ahead of them has more problems than we scheduled for. It's not fair. It's not good for business either. Everybody has something they'd rather do than wait.
So I try not to let these things get away from me. If it's really some big deal, then we need to schedule a special time to take care of it. Unfortunately, sometimes these things are like quicksand. You do one thing, and it sucks you in a little deeper… and deeper… and deeper… aaaaagh! I can't breathe!
Wolf's ear was so sore, he wouldn't let me examine it fully, so I had to sedate him. No problem: I can look at someone else in the other exam room while he's getting sleepy. [ Now I've stepped in the quicksand.] Gee, he's not sedated enough — that ear's too painful. We'll have to give him some more. [I'm sinking up to my knees now.] Still too painful; we'll have to have him inhale a little gas and go all the way to sleep. [Waist deep now] Geez, there's a ton of stuff in these ears and it doesn't want to clean out easily. Well, he's already anesthetized, so we need to get the job done. We can't just knock him out for nothing! [Nothing above the surface but my head and shoulders now — THROW ME A VINE!]
It takes another 20 minutes to get things cleaned out and find there's a polyp deep in the canal that is the source of the problem. No way to get that today — too much swelling and infection. He really will have to have another visit to handle that. Cortisone to shrink the swelling and antibiotic flushes to get the infection under control and we'll see him back next week. [Slow, steady swimming motions finally get me out].
If I could have predicted the future, I wouldn't have started that mess today. Sometimes you just don't know there's quicksand on the trail.