Quality Advice from Dr. G

27 Apr
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SPROUT! I want a Brussels Griffon. I want one real bad.

The above dog has nothing to do with this post, other than the fact that I took it at work, and this story also takes place at work. Honestly, I’m just trying to lure you in to read my blog, because I’m sly like that.

So the worst part about working in Veterinary Medicine is the people, the clients that inevitably come with their dogs. Ironic, right? People get into this field, because they want to spend their day with animals. Yet so much of the time is spent dealing with people. And people, in general, aren’t that pleasant.

Some people are wonderful though. Like Dr. G. He’s my favorite doctor at our clinic. He’s older, so a lot of us call him “Pops” which has always been a goal of mine…to have an old man friend whom I call Pops. He’s a lifelong Yankees fans, so we’re always discussing our teams. He continuously attempts to bring me to the dark side, make me a Yankees fan. With other Yankees fans, I find this sort of thing annoying; with Dr. G, it makes me smile.

He’s also the only doctor that doesn’t lose his temper, that doesn’t freak out at clients, never blames any one else if things go wrong. His interactions with clients are legendary. For example:

“Dr. G, is my dog going to die?”
“Well, yeah, one day. We all are. I just don’t know when your dog will die.”
“What am I supposed to do?!!?!”
“Stop worrying about your dog so damn much.”

He’s the only one who can get away with saying this sort of thing.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a client who was persistently calling the front desk, driving us all insane. She was sobbing about how her main vet had left the practice, how someone in her building told her the food she fed the dog was garbage, how she was a single mother and couldn’t afford vet bills. Basically, she called to complain about things that don’t concern me, and I can’t fix. She just wanted someone to whine to.

Finally, she stopped in to the clinic and demanded to speak to a doctor. She was crying and yelling, but she didn’t want an appointment. We only had Dr. R and Dr. G available. Dr. R was doing an emergency emesis, so I approached Dr. G. He rolled his eyes and said, “Oh, these fucking idiots.” Then he straightened his embroidered scrubs and asked, “So, how do I look?” I gave him the nod of approval, and he headed out there.

20 minutes. This woman ate up 20 minutes of an important man’s time. She ranted. She cried. She whined. He sat there. He nodded. He told her his food recommendations. It did not look like fun.

Eventually she left, and I followed him back into the treatment area.

“That was amazing, Pops. I don’t know how you handled that woman for that long.”
“Let me tell you something I learned a long time ago,” he began. All of treatment turned to listen to the wise, old doctor. “It takes two people to argue. One person can complain and cry and scream all they want, but if you sit there calm, you aren’t in an argument, you aren’t upset. The second you raise your voice and give in to anger, they’ve won. They pulled you into a fight. So I listened to that woman’s crazy rant. And even though I sat there for 20 minutes and could only think, ‘Go fuck yourself, you crazy bitch,’ I didn’t say it, and she didn’t get to win.” All of treatment erupted in laughter and applause.

I lose my temper with clients every once in a while, but I’m really trying the Dr. G method of dealing with it. It really does work. I’m not as good at it as Dr. G is, but I suppose I have 40 odd years to perfect my craft.

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