Feelings, those damnable anthropomorphic sticky sentimental drivle that cripples our ability to see the black and white of life and deal with it.
Doctors are slaves to science. No emotional excuses to sway the numbers and the data never lies. I like black and white. I love numbers, raw, unadulterated bar graphs. They are the doctors apparition to the reality that allows us to shut the door on emotions.
But, the rest of the world lives in well sheltered 'spare my feelings' bubble.
So goes the course of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. You can numb yourself with the short lived delight provided by a Milk Bone but the grim reaper of obesity will find you sooner than he should if you do. Death and obesity are best of friends. If you want to thwart the pearly gates for as long as possible I recommend that you try to out run obesity. One of the easiest ways to add quality years is to stay lean and healthy.
And such is the dilemma that leads me to my most recent drama du jour....
I am hearing from my staff that there are clients who "don't want to see me because I tell them that their pet is fat." In my defense, their pet is fat. In their defense they can choose to see whichever vet they want to. But, do I fail to deliver my purpose if I can't get my patients to see me? Probably. I can't practice my passion if I can't get them to drive on over to see me.
Here's how I see the obligation of the doctor in treating their patients;
If your doctor is not telling you the truth about your weight and the damage it is doing to your body they are negligent. Writing you a prescription without clearly explaining to you to the root of the problem, your role in it, and how you can resolve your own disease, without the drug is my PRIMARY responsibility. Excusing your difficulties and sheltering your feelings, responsibilities, and participation in the problem is the very foundation of why we are bound to the gripping strangulation hold of tobacco, fast food, drugs, and addiction. A drug to help you maintain a longer happier relationship with your drug is not medicine as it should be practiced.
Telling my clients that they can use, or need, more pain management to curb the aches in their pets joints while they buy boxes of biscuits and spend more time on the couch is selling their parenting skills and affection for their pets short. I may lose a client to the associate who doesn't want to hurt any feelings, but I stayed true to my belief that my primary obligation is to your pet. Further, I have never met a pet who didn't prefer a walk over a biscuit and t.v. We have a great deal to learn from our pets. Those mucky feelings aside our pets remind us what living and loving life looks like. All you have to do is put on a leash and head outside. Your pets smile is something that exists in nature alone.
My job is to empower you to save your pets life.
I saw a client last week who had elected to see another vet after her dog added on another 5 pounds to her already 20 over ideal. Once again I was prescribing an NSAID course for sore elbows. Once again I was feeling uneasy about why we needed pain management, what long term NSAID use might do to her kidneys, liver and how to get off the endless weight gain. At 7 years old I was going to be euthanizing this dog in a year or two, 4 or 5 years before she should be, simply because her frame couldn't support her weight. I have sat through too many of these. I am euthanizing too many fat pets because their owners are loving them to death.
How do I convince you to love in a healthy manner? I suppose I can only keep opening my mouth and trying? How do I tip toe through the feelings? Well, clearly I need to ask my associate how she does it.
So, maybe I can help without hurting? Maybe I just need to start training my patients how to drive to see me and take their humans for a walk?
If you have a pet question, or think that your pet care experience might help others, please join me at Pawbly.com the online pet community dedicated to helping empower pet people by educating and inspiring them. It is free to use and open to everyone who loves animals.
If you have any advice for me, or want me to try to navigate around helping your pet without hurting your feelings, you can find me at Jarrettsville Vet in Harford County, Maryland.
I am also contributing to Everyday Health and on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.