I had a hard day on Tuesday. I took over a patient staying in the ICU from another student when I started on the wildlife and exotic rotation. She was an intestinal resection and anastomosis post-op that wasn't doing well. She wasn't passing feces and had hard masses of impacted fecal material in her bowels that weren't moving. On Tuesday her owners came to visit and she passed away in the room with them. It wasn't a very pleasant situation, her owners were very upset, and I took the brunt of it.
Later that day I was drained and moody and just wanted to go home. My last appointment was a snake with a persistent respiratory infection that we'd been trying to treat for over two months. Even with a culture and sensitivity, the antibiotics weren't clearing it up. We resorted to an antibiotic that can have some serious side effects, but would get some of the nastier bugs that won't show up on culture and the antibiotics we'd tried previously did not cover. The owner was understandably upset and reluctant, and for some reason was having a personality conflict with the clinician. Things got heated and he refused the treatment. I asked the clinician if I could go try and talk to him, because I felt like we'd developed a rapport earlier and maybe I could get him to come around. We felt this was kind of our last shot at getting this snake better, so she told me I could try. I went up front and sat with him and told him I was sorry that things got so heated. I explained again why we wanted to proceed with this treatment, despite its risks. I told him it was ultimately up to him, and I'd understand if he still didn't want to, but that I didn't want him to walk out angry and to not at least try the treatment because of a personality conflict and tempers getting out of control.
Well, he agreed to the treatment. He also told me that he's working on a Master's in counseling, and that I am very good at conflict resolution and empathizing with people. It kind of made my whole day.