The first time was at the vet. My dog ingested clumping cat litter (I knew this because the smell of cat shit on his breath and the gravely stool sample he left on my floor were a dead giveaway). I rushed him to my own veterinary clinic, a half-hour before closing, only to find an unfamiliar face staring blankly at me from behind the counter. "Do you have an appointment?" she said. "No." I said, "but I have a bit of an emergency..." "Don't care..." she said. "We're closed. Call back in the morning." I knew the attitude- strictly by the clock. The moment her shift was close to being up, her mind checked out and so did her humanity.
"So, what should I do?" I asked. "Again. Don't care. No appointment? Go away." she said... So I did, and I went to the all night vet clinic and spent $1200 to find out that if I had waited another ten minutes the clumping cat litter would have hardened in my dog's intestines and it would have either cost me another $5000 for the surgery, or $3000 for the cost of cremating his soon to be dead body. But it didn't come to that, thankfully.
I (well, my dog) was lucky. The girl at the first vet clinic was not- I called and got her fired the next day. Her boss, the one who owned the clinic, was a close family friend. I know I should have mentioned my relationship to her boss when I arrived, but that's not my job. If she was doing hers, it shouldn't have been an issue. I just wish I had that kind of pull everywhere. Sadly, I don't.
Case in point, last Tuesday night, when my wife and I rushed our daughter to a highly "respected" children's emergency clinic - only to be turned away at the door - my second run in with Eva Braun. No, the girl behind the counter didn't look like anything like the girl from the vet clinic, but they sure shared the same crusty, curmudgeonly personality. I knew it was a lost cause, even if my wife didn't, but I stayed for the show anyway.
My wife rushed up to the counter, our injured, tear-filled toddler in hand. "My daughter has an infected finger...," she said. "Do you have an appointment...?" the receptionist interrupted. "I thought this was the clinic I called," said my wife (which she did), " but now that I see your sign maybe it was another clinic?" "Well, maybe you should go to that clinic?" said the receptionist." This one is closed." "But, my daughter has something wrong with her finger," said my wife. "I just need for someone to take a quick look at it because I'm afraid it's becoming infected." "CLOSED!" said the receptionist. "We are not taking anymore patients!!!" "But isn't this a "walk-in clinic?" I asked, from the doorway. "A closed one!" said the receptionist.
But god love my wife, she wouldn't let it go...
"You have to leave ma'am," said the receptionist. "Not until I see a doctor, I don't," said my wife. "You have to GO ma'am," said the recetionist, " Now!" "Nope," said my wife, bearing down in her seat. "Oh, you're gonna leave..." said the receptionist rushing toward her from behind the desk. "Not before I see a doctor," said my wife, sneaking around the receptionist to see the doctor, coming out of an exam room behind her. Rushing toward him, my wife, holding out my daughter's finger asked: "Burn or infection?" The doctor, questioningly, looked at the receptionist, then my wife, and finally my daughter's finger. "Burn." He said. "Put Polysporin on it." "That's all I needed to know" said my wife. "Thank-you," she said to the doctor, turning around to walk out the door- and, if I remember correctly, she said something- something like: "F@#% you, bitch!" to the receptionist. Gotta love it.
"What did she just say to me?" said the receptionist, watching my wife triumphantly exiting through the doorway. "Nothing you didn't deserve." I said. "Golden rule - treat others as you would like to be treated. Otherwise, "hell hath no fury" like a mother that can't get medical attention for her child." Following my wife out the door, I couldn't help trying to get one last jab in there: "and, have yourself a nice night, you unfeeling (expletive deleted)."
And that was our fun trip to the Children's Emergency Clinic. We did put polysporin on our daughter's finger, but come the next morning we rushed her in to see our Paediatrician. "It's an infection," she said, giving my wife piece of mind- in the form of antibiotic ointment- and my daughter a cookie- before shooing her out the door to greet her next patient. And, that's the way it should be. No muss. No fuss. In and out in three minutes (not including the hour you sat in the waiting room and the ten minutes you waited in the exam room, but that's a post for another time). We showed up without calling. They fit us in. No one told us to leave. And no one got hurt, feelings or otherwise. Sure, they probably hate both me and my wife for being neurotic new parents, but they never show it, and as long as my daughter gets the best care from them, I couldn't care less. Some people could learn from that. Unfortunately, most never will.