Ferociously Observant

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. -Anon.

Newsflash: I Don’t Want Your Puppy To Die 30 June 2007

Filed under: Career,Dogs,Ponderings,Rants — ferociouskater @ 3:34 pm

It happens about once a week. I get a phone call from someone – sometimes an established client, sometimes not – that is at their wit’s end and needs help. Their pet is sick – a lot of times it’s a puppy that sounds like it has parvo – and they don’t get paid until next week (next month, next year, whenever they can get another job). This area’s economy is rough, there are a lot of people out of work, and so these sorts of calls are to be expected.

It breaks my heart that people have pets that they can’t afford. Animals are great therapy. They raise low spirits, comfort the lonely, and never laugh at what you look like first thing in the morning. But they are a responsibility, and, as my coworker puts it, a luxury. While a puppy brings joy and completion to a family, one can – and many do – live without.

Taking care of pets is a business, like any other. While I would love for our clinic to take in and care for any animal regardless of the owner’s ability to pay, we can’t. So when I get these phone calls, I have to tell the frantic, almost crying people on the other end, that I’m sorry but we can’t do any billing. We require payment up front, in full. Just like at the grocery store. Human medicine has laws that maintain that they must do no harm and help a patient first, bill later. There are no such laws in veterinary medicine, so I don’t think people realize that we don’t run just like the doctor’s office.

And then the people say, in different ways, the thing that used to break my heart but now I can ward off like an annoying gnat: “You want my pet to die.” And I say, “I want to help you, but our policy is that we can’t take any billing.” I give them credit card options. I even give them the option to apply for a special, veterinary credit card. But of course none of them have credit, so my offers are rejected. “My puppy’s going to die and you don’t care,” they say. “By the time I get paid my cat will already be dead.”

I don’t want your pets to die. I really don’t. I want you to become responsible and be able to tell when your finances might not support a pet. I want you to get your pets vaccinated yearly (or at least examined yearly) so that some of these problems might be avoided (A $26 yearly parvo vaccine or a $400 treatment? A $50 yearly heartworm prevention plan or a $500 heartworm treatment?) I know that unexpected sicknesses arise. They do to responsible pet owners all the time. But if you don’t think that you are going to be able to afford an unexpected sickness, maybe you shouldn’t have the pet in the first place. I’m not talking about accidents that occur and $3000 surgery bills – I’m talking about ear infections, heartworm, eye infections, upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, the list goes on. Things that pets can get easily. Things that I’ve seen pets euthanized for because of finances. Or worse, things that people let go until the pet dies from it in a slow, painful way.

If it were up to me I would take your appointment, bill you, and then try and educate you on proper prevention, proper feeding, proper saving of funds for pets. I understand that sometimes that doesn’t cut it, sometimes we just really can’t afford what comes up. But I get your phone calls too often for this to just happen “sometimes.” I feel bad for you, but moreover, I feel bad for your pet.

I don’t want it to die. I really don’t.


How is a Percutaneous Introducer Relevant to Answering the Phones? 26 June 2007

Filed under: Career,Rants — ferociouskater @ 2:20 am

I think this is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever had to do for a job.

My boss has decided that it would do us all good to watch training videos. That would be all well and good, except that these videos are required and though we are getting paid for their completion the money does not reach our hot little hands until we have received at least a 90% on the culminating exam. As I’m describing these asinine videos, keep in mind that I work at the front desk. The most technical I get is when I draw up the occasional vaccine or describe to someone how to get rid of fleas over the phone.

So far we have watched videos on everything from flea and tick prevention (completely relevant to what I do, people are asking me about that all the time) to placing a Vascular Access Point into the jugular vein to administer chemotherapy drugs to animals. PARDON ME? First of all, the dude in the video is a vet, not even a vet assistant, whom these videos are geared towards. Secondly, they are using random terms that they not only didn’t teach us but that are so obscure my medical student husband even looked and me and said, “Why do you need to know that?”  We had to watch videos dealing with how to properly clip birds’ wings and beaks (we don’t even see birds), inserting an IV catheter (they wouldn’t let me do that even if I asked), and the anatomy of a tooth.

I am a receptionist. I didn’t go to vet tech school, nor do I desire to go to vet tech school. I am not now, nor will I ever be trained to work in the back. I answer phones. I schedule appointments. I understand that it’s easier to explain things to clients if we know what they are but there’s a certain point where too much information becomes a detriment.

I will admit I’m far behind on there videos.  They were due to be done last week. I’m sure this is not helping me in the slightest in my stress on the matter. But I digress….

I’ll be interested to see what they say tomorrow when I walk into work after a week of vacation and I don’t have the videos or the exam done. To tell you the truth, at this point, if it’s between doing these videos and saying, “See Ya,” I’ll take the latter. Because really, if I wanted to take classes about Percutaneous Introducers, I would have.


Something About the Lights… 22 June 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 1:11 am

…and the smoke, and the gambling, and all the people has made me inspired to start writing again.

I’m expanding on a story I started Freshman year of college. It’s inspired by recent books I’ve read and people I knew at Denidoo (although the story’s not based on any actual events…).

I’m really excited about it. And it’s one of those things that I know I’ll keep working on until it’s over because I think about it a lot. I think about the main characters and already feel like I know them. It feels good to be writing again.

I just hope that when I go back to work next week I keep the momentum going. Who knew that Las Vegas would be good for getting the creative juices going?


The Land of Lost Things 17 June 2007

Filed under: Ponderings — ferociouskater @ 7:32 pm

I’m sad. I just left my cool neck pillow on the plane, and no one turned it in to lost and found before the plane left again, so it’s gone for good. I think I deserve it too. Let me elaborate.

When I got onto the plane in Chicago, I noticed an old copy of Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology” in the seat pocket in front of me. I had plenty of time to bring it to the attention of the flight attendant, who could have gotten it to the gate to its lost and found. But no, I left it there. When I got off the plane here in St. Louis I thought again, maybe I should give it to the flight attendant. But then I noticed that it contained a personal letter, and that letter had an address for the book’s owner (I knew it was the book’s owner because they had left their boarding pass in the book as a bookmark.) I decided, “Hey, the airport will probably not even bother trying to get this back to its owner if the owner doesn’t call. So I will send it myself.”

I was so caught up in harrowing my own future good deed that I forgot my own pillow on the plane.

I tried to get it back, but to no avail. The plane had already left and no one had alerted the flight attendant, just like I hadn’t about that damn book.

Now I’m sitting here in St. Louis about to board a 3 hour flight to Las Vegas, where I’m going to need that pillow. Lord knows I can’t rest my head on a book.


I’m Just About Done. 13 June 2007

Filed under: Career — ferociouskater @ 2:25 am

I have never been as restless at my job as I have been the last few days. Every once in a while, before, I would wake up and jokingly think to myself what I could do to make myself sick so I would not have to go in. The past week it’s been every morning. I’m so tired, tired of not working up to my potential, tired of not having control over anything, tired of being on the front lines of the clients’ frustration. The joy of seeing animals every day isn’t even helping. I thought that my gloomy mood would rise once it ceased being my time of the month. It hasn’t. So I’m trying now more fervently than ever to get out.

I’ve sent out 7 or 8 resumes this week. I’m really hopeful that some of jobs will pan out, especially several of them that look like I would be really qualified for. There was one listing for writers and journalists to call this number but the number has been ringing and ringing every time I try and call. Even if they’ve already filled the positions the decent thing would be to put on a machine, right?

I really like the people I work for and with. I would feel bad about leaving them high and dry. I’m considering, since if I got a job they’d probably want me to start right away, to give a month’s notice soon so that I can put all my energy into finding something else. I’ll just have to see if our finances would stand me not having a check for a couple of weeks. Right now I know what Tom would say. Boo.

Sorry to rant, I hate taking up the whole blog space with ranting. I just had to get it out.


I Finally Did it.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 2:10 am

I got a MySpace.

I was having major registration regret last night after I made a hasty profile and barely uploaded pictures. But tonight, after finding sooo many people I’ve (regretfully) lost touch with over the years, I’ve re-thought my regret. I’m re-discovering friends that I thought I’d completely lost touch with after my multiple moves over the years. And although it doesn’t bring us together like we were before, it makes me feel a little less sad that I only really regard them as MySpace Friends these days.

That makes Facebook, Xanga, WordPress, MySpace, and my own website to complete my internet pages. And I don’t even use any of them to hook up!

I hope I made the right decision. I hate always going with the crowd. But then again I have a Facebook, an iPod, I keep a blog, I post pictures online, I’m online more than I watch television…maybe I should just give up and go with the crowd. Why should I try so hard to be unique, just like everybody else?


I hang my head… 10 June 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 2:46 am

…ashamed that I have not posted in some time. Last weekend I was out of town for a glorious wedding and traveled back in time to college days. The bar was an open one, the pictures were just about taking themselves, and, like every time I get together with my old friends from school, I became depressed (despite the open bar) that I wasn’t working on some form of degree too.

I get this way every once in a while, mostly when I travel back to Ohio to either visit my parents or see old friends (on this trip I did both). I get moody and brooding and decide that hook or by crook I’m going to get back to school even if I have to drive an hour and a half each way to get there. Of course when one thinks carefully about this scenario, one sees a tiny VW bug stranded on the side of a Michigan highway in the middle of a snowstorm at midnight. I never like this image, but it gets easier to bear if I’ve just had a lengthy discussion with one of my old friends discussing to which PhD program she should apply.

School, school. What is so alluring about school all of a sudden? Is it because I’m surrounded by studying (Tom is taking his Step 2 this week in Atlanta) or is it because at work I’m surrounded by those who haven’t had a lot of secondary education? Most likely it’s a combination of that, a job at which I only use 2% of my brain on a daily basis, and parents who are always hinting at when I might be heading back (I think some of that must have to do with the high price they paid for my dusty Bachelor of Arts).

I feel like I go over the same things in my head every time, that we might be moving again in less than a year’s time so I shouldn’t enroll somewhere and then have to transfer, that I haven’t taken my LSAT yet so I can’t start applying, that I don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road in a snowstorm, etc. etc. And every time I come to the same conclusions: I have two choices. I can either bear the bumming every time I come home from Ohio, or I can do something about it. Since I never really can think of anything TO do about it right now that doesn’t involve quitting my job, I deal with the bumming. Or, should I say, Tom gets to deal with the bumming.

Poor Tom.