Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Computers and Chocolate Biscuits

Well l have spent the last 2 weeks at a small practice and we have been wondering if the world, or the town we are in more precisely has gone mad. Every pet in the area seems to have had a need to come in and several times we have had to make appointments with one of the other branches to handle overflow.
Thankfully l was up to speed on the computers as l have been on late’s which end at 19:00 which means once ops and cleaning up is done l am on reception.

Monday l finally have an early finish as l was on mids which was a 9am start.
One of the reception computers was pulled out and looked like a computer version of rip. it had been playing up last week and looks like it finally died over the weekend.
I barely sat down on reception when l had to take the first payment of the day, l was unable to get the cash till open to get change. The computer/till system is meant to work independently so if one dies you do not have this problem, great start to the day. The client said just pop his change (pence only) into the charity box.
I had a word with the head nurse (hn) who was snarling at the back computer while trying to add histories for patients that had been to the emergency vets over the weekend. For payments l suggested we send invoices or ask for cards. She was past caring; l had enough computer problems without caring what was going on with hers.
This left me with a fist full of cash so l shoved it in an empty draw and hoped l would remember which office draw it was, the room is a bit of a tip.
Next minute the vet appears and tells me that her computer won’t print labels; quick test showed no computers would print labels. This meant hand writing labels. Money wise the clients were happy to card it or pop back to pay bills.
A practice rang up and wanted a history for a client that was leaving the area. Guess what won’t print. I read the very short history over the phone and tell them l will send the history at some point in several light years time if any of us survive the day.

The hn stomped through and rang head office told them that the reception computer seemed to have fully died after spending last week crashing all the time, this had caused overall chaos. HO said to ring the computer people they promised they would dial in and fix things. The hn and l did not query how they would do that when one of the computers was turned off at the wall. Life had enough for us to do without caring about some mythical dial in.

Finally the receptionist came in she was on late’s the hn and l fell on her like starving wolves telling of all our woes. The reply was as she knows nothing about computers except what she does what were we telling her for. Miffed and rebuffed the hn and l did what any sensible person would. Ran away down the back and got op’s ready for the vet’s, leaving the receptionist to sort the mess down the front.

Part way through the standard ops of spaying and castration the receptionist came through and said that she had sorted the computers; we must be incompetent as with no knowledge she had them all working.

I pulled the short straw with the dental. I have mentioned before one of the reasons l like nights is we do not have dentals. First get the dental machine working, these are designed by experts who do not use them. The vet cussed her way through tooth extraction, she used to do mixed work (farm animal and small pets). She hated dentals and would always swop a dental with a vet that preferred dentals to farm work and they were both happy.
Anyway the dog had lots of teeth out on both sides and a stitch a gum flap, this was needed to help extract one of the large molars.

At this point the receptionist came through again to dental/prep room. She had coffees and chocolate biscuits. I know l am trying to stop chocolate but l had to have a couple of biscuits as a stress aid. Apparently the vet from one of the other branches that was in charge of the computers was round and sorting things, l never got a chance to ask why? As she said she had fixed them.

Recovering post munch of biscuit and quick coffee hit, l took over again from the vet who was glaring at the dogs mouth, daring anything else to be wrong as she felt her part was finished and keeping an eye on the patient. The vet went to get her recovery aid and write the patient up.

I started to clean the teeth and the tooth scaler died. Water bottle full… check. Machine switched on… check. All knobs seem to be in right place…check. Dental machine kicked hard… check, nothing so look for hn. She is new and not used to the machine so repeats what l did to same effect. Then she had an idea and said hang on there is 2 bottles try and fill the other one. I did and it worked. Now what is the use of having a back up water bottle if both of them have to be full to work but the machine only takes water from one bottle at a time. To the normal mind when one bottle is empty you flick to the other and when that is empty THEN the machine stops. No not this devil you need both full even though one is back up and not in use.

Turn patient over and start to scale that side. “Errrrrmm” clear my throat trying to think how not to make the vet want to run away. Vet looks at my face and you can see her heart sinking, then perk up “Have you done something wrong”.
“Gee thanks for that, no but you need to do something with this canine”. Her face fell. I continued “I can feel a depression in the upper canine under the gum”
She came over and felt it. “No no that is fine no….” and with a deep sigh asked me to go and get M (the other vet) and more experienced at dentals so she can check see if it needs to come out. Although she knows it does, she is hoping it is one of those cases where there may be a lifeline. M comes through and has a feel, no words needed.
Canines are difficult to get out because they have such a deep root. So more gum flap incision and a new trick taught by M to extract canines involving drilling into the base of the tooth, a nice big hole in the gum for more stitching and 2 happy vets and vetnurse.

Patient back in recover and trotting through to get Wib’s so she could go out for a pee break l walked past a strange male scowling at a computer muttering in Irish under his breath. I assumed he was the vet/computer expert. Hope he was enjoying himself because anyone that wants to fix the stupid things must have a screw loose them selves.
He was still in the same position when we came back a few minutes later and l tied Wib’s back up in reception.

Back to clean up kits, theatre and prep/dental areas. Lunch by now a distant memory, not unusual with me, I seem to miss out on lots of breaks. I must start putting my foot down as most people do and insist on taking them. Except l can not be bothered to l just grab what l can when l can, l hate starting again after l have unwound.

At least on late consults we had all the computers working and 2 vets, which was just as well because it was a busy surgery, fit in patients kept coming through the doors. I ran out the door at 17:30 relieved to let someone else play with the computers.

Tuesday l was on early l was there but no one else so l couldn’t get in. 15minutes after hanging around l rang one of the local branches as they are friendly with the staff from my place and go out partying etc so l figured they would have phone numbers, except they were still on answer machine till 08:30. So l had to ring head office asking what was going on was anyone ill. Finally at 8:30 the missing student turned up using rude language about school run and traffic.
We were as busy as Monday but thankfully the computers all worked. And l escaped as afternoon consults were starting.

Only this week there then off to another practice next week. Wonder what surprises life will treat me to there. That is the beauty of locum work. So many new routines, computer systems and staff to learn then rush off onto the next one just as you get the hang of things. I love it.


JuliaM said...

Sounds like a heck of a day!

Still, at least there's not a computer in the world (yet) that will bite, dribble, vomit or bleed on you... ;)

Vetnurse said...

If a computer added that lot to the torment it already offers l would defiantly throw it out of the highest window l could find.