Dreams of Retirement Fleeting


I left the exam room for just a few minutes to get a shot of penicillin for her dog. By the time I got back, Mrs. Quibble was hopping mad.

I left the exam room for just a few minutes to get a shot of penicillin for her dog. By the time I got back, Mrs. Quibble was hopping mad.

"I have a bone to pick with you, Doctor," she said. "While you were out, I looked at Porky's record. Last year, you wrote down that he weighed 67 pounds and that he should go on a diet. That's no longer true and I want that entry removed from his record."

I felt sick. How could an experienced practitioner like myself make such a rookie mistake? Everyone knows that you never leave an open record where the prying eyes of the client can read it. (I should be put out to pasture.)

"Porky only weighs 65 pounds this year," she continued. "You just said so yourself. I think you should cross out what you wrote last year."

Foolishly, I tried to explain the error of her thinking. The entry was correct at the time it was written. However, Wanda Quibble has never been one whose train of thought follows the track. To say that she suffers from insanity would be inaccurate because she seems to enjoy every minute of it. Seeking the easiest way out of the situation, I decided to draw a thin line through last year's entry and move on with my life. (Retirement sounds better every day.)

Waiting to see me next was the Eureka family. They had called earlier that morning to let me know that their dog, Logjam, had not pooped in two days. As I entered the room the entire family spoke at once.

"Logjam has an ear infection! We just noticed it while we were waiting for you to come in. We found a lump also. He didn't have it when we left home."

It turned out, of course, that the ears were perfectly normal. Furthermore, a five-minute game of "where's the lump?" produced nothing other than normal anatomic structures. I gave the plugged up pooch a laxative and sent him home.

For some reason, people like the Eurekas often seem compelled to give their dog a physical exam while waiting to see me. I guess they feel that they are being helpful. In many cases this is followed by grooming the dog and depositing as much hair as possible on the exam room floor. Bolder clients often open a cabinet and borrow my comb to aid in their mission.

Another on the list of typical examination room antics involves the electronic scale. We have one in each room. The average client intends to help me by weighing their pet before I arrive. However, none of them seem to be able to work the thing. Those few who do figure out how to read it usually present me with a number equal to the weight of their own hands added to that of their dog or cat. (God must love stupid people. He seems to have created so many of them.)

One more office call and the day would be over. (I'd be one day closer to that retirement I'm always dreaming about.)

It was Mr. and Mrs. Swab with their cats, Trickle and Cascade. Both cats were in one carrier. There was no towel or other absorbent material in with them. It was high tide. Naturally, the Swabs were anxious to get the cats out of the carrier and onto the exam room floor as quickly as possible. They had urine smeared from wall to wall. One cat was getting a bath in the sink. There were now three hundred of my paper towels in the bottom of the carrier. I entered the room wearing new shoes with leather soles. There was an immediate reenactment of my first experience on roller skates. I called for back-up.

Luckily, all good things must come to an end. So 20 minutes later, I was driving home. It had been one of those days. Once again I found myself thinking about retiring. It can't happen soon, though. I still have too many dependents relying on my financial support. This year, the principle one being my Uncle Sam.

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