Sunday, 30 November 2008

The Body Bag

Death is a common sight in the veterinary profession. It may “only be an animal” but l have known extreme behaviour after the pet has died.
At least 2 different family’s l know who have had a suicide after and as a direct result of the pet’s death.
In another case the marriage split up as the husband could not cope with his wife’s behaviour at loosing her dog, she was sectioned.
So while it can have serious consequences it can behind the scenes have humour in, although the humour is usually only apparent later.

At my old job when l first started from 22:00 when l went on duty there was the vet, myself (vetnurse) and until 23:00 we had a receptionist on. After that just the vet and the vetnurse till 8am.
On the night in question it was a very busy Saturday. The vet had a huge Rottweiler to put to sleep. The vet then used the other consult room while the owners had a few last minutes with their family member then left. After the owners had gone l had to run in and place the dog in a bag then drag it up the passage to the freezers. No way l could carry a 45-50kg dog.

The bags are not human body bags they are simply slightly stronger black bags, only this batch was not that great but l did not know that. Those that do nights regular know that day shift NEVER pass anything onto nights except abuse.

I shut the passage doors between the waiting and consult rooms so no one could see what was going on. Grunted pushed and sweated to get the dog in the bag. Waited until the vet took the next clients into consult then proceeded to pull the bag out the room and up the passage. That was the plan.

The reality was
Dog placed in bag .. ok
Check passage doors closed ..ok
Listen to confirm consult ongoing.. ok
Pull bag into passage but it was so heavy it took longer than intended.
Ignore door opening into waiting room as receptionist came down the back and held the door open as she was talking to someone.
Suddenly realise door was open and about to yell quietly “Shut that door” while giving the body bag a hard pull to get it moving.
Clients came out of other consult room as consult had ended early.
Bag split
I went flying backwards waving empty bag.
Clients see “flying” vetnurse give despairing scream slamming backwards into, and sliding down, second set of doors separating ops and kennels area.
Body of Rottweiler lying on floor
Vetnurse flat on back and struggling to get upright, trying to check for broken bones and remember not to swear.
Everyone in waiting room, the vet and her clients in passage and receptionist stares horrified at drama unfolding.
The vet pushed the owners out.
I crawled up the passage on all fours back to the dog (quicker than standing) snarling shut the F**** door at the receptionist.
I managed to pull the dog to the kennel area and solitude while l sorted it.
Vet and vn and spend the night in mix of horror and hysteria groaning and giggling at the looks on faces, and cussing “bloody day shift” for not warning us about the bags.

Yes even in death there is humour


Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

Brilliant - gotta luv vet practice!!

We left a body out of a freezer over a long weekend and the pick up service failed to get it... when we returned on Tuesday, the entire clinic was crawling with maggots... we had to load the body into a new bag and then onto a trailer... and then drive to the nearby rubbish tip. Needless to say my boss braked at a zebra crossing, and the body slid off the trailer onto the road and burst open.
The sight is etched in my mid forever.....

Vetnurse said...

ROFLMAO. I treat maggots as stress relief, squishing them and thinking of people l don't like but that's going a bit far.