Night Animals

Written in response to: Set your story during the night shift.... view prompt

5 comments

Creative Nonfiction Drama

Beep, Beep!

My alarm goes off, and I sleepily reach over to press Dismiss on my phone. I tilt my phone to see the time. Just as I thought, I have enough time to prepare myself for my shift. Already dressed in scrubs, I roll out of bed and sit upright. I slip my feet into slip resistant shoes and go over to the vanity mirror to freshen up. Then I compile my belongings, locate my keys, and head out the front door.

My place of work is literally around the corner from my apartment so the commute is a non issue. I pull into the parking lot and notice a full house. As I'm walking into the building, I glance up at the full moon which explains a lot. Not much time to get situated as my assistance is being beckoned already.

Patients are trickling in like a steady stream. The veterinarian finishes typing a current round of notes from Exam Room #2. He asks me if I would clean both Exam Rooms 1 and 2 for the next clients. I give each room a quick and careful wipe down. Then I glance around to make sure there is enough supplies until we can perform a more thorough check list. I leave the first set of doors, leading out to the lobby, cracked to indicate room availability. Both rooms fill up quickly with more clients. I switch places with the technicians and head to the treatment room. I glance at the clock. Then I commence on the latest round of charts.

The first row of charts was routine temperature checks and meal time for three felines that were admitted for various ailments. Penelope the Persian had a line cut per owner request so her fur would grow back evenly due to the shaved leg for the intravenous fluids. Toby the Orange Tabby was ready to break free from its kennel. He was obviously feeling better. Whereas Frances the Tortoiseshell had been admitted more recently and required more observation.

The next rows of charts were for the canines. Similar routine checks like for the felines but the canines required outside bathroom breaks minus two who had hip surgeries. Those two patients required two assistants to change their bedding and such.

However, the star of the show was Lucy the Labrador Retriever. She was chocolate in color and greeted everybody with open paws. She initially was admitted because of an unfortunate run-in with another canine in her neighborhood. With strong willpower and treatment, Lucy bounced back in no time and awaited her turn to be released back home.

Then, we have Oscar the Cairn Terrier. He was an older canine and set in his ways. He had a particular diet to control his blood sugar. When it was his turn for a stretch break, he was shy around the leash at first but after coaxing him, Oscar broke out of his shell somewhat.

The rest of the charts were thoroughly completed and put aside for the next round.

I, then, help stock supplies and wipe down exam rooms.

One of the technicians beckons me into the x-ray room to assist with some views of Clara the Cocker Spaniel that had hip issues. She was in her prime, and the veterinarian noticed some lumps and bumps during the initial exam so he ordered some x-rays. Clara was complacent upon the x-ray table at first, but after turning her on her right side, she began to whimper. The technician immediately alerted the veterinarian and then finished the remaining x-ray. I help the technician carefully lower Clara onto the floor. The veterinarian comes in and asks me to lay out some blankets right outside the x-ray room for Clara to lay on. The technician develops the films and then displays them for the veterinarian to read.

The veterinarian notices arthritis of the joints and then he orders some labs to make sure nothing else is underlying. I assist the technician while she prepares Clara's forearm to draw labs. Clara lets out a big sigh.

The labs are run in the centrifuge and then the microscopic slides are prepared for observation. The veterinarian does not see anything abnormal in the study. He prescribes Clara a pain reliever and some dietary formulated meal. He calls Clara's owner to give them a prognosis. I prepare a kennel with clean bedding and fresh water for Clara's observational stay.

Meanwhile, two other technicians make the executive decision and order in a late night meal for everybody since the traffic pattern has slowed down somewhat.

I continue to wipe down the empty exam rooms and restock supplies.

Toby's name comes on the intercom for his discharge. I locate his pet carrier and he automatically knows what is happening. He goes wild when I unlatch the kennel and talks incessantly. I hand over his carrier to the receptionist. Then I clean out the vacant kennel.

Food arrives and a few of us grab a quick bite and discuss the nightly current events. The night started out a little hectic but we figured it was better than being super slow. The veterinarian finishes the latest batch of notes and stops to grab a bite and takes a deep breath.

The phone rings.

Just when the night came to a halt, we all scatter around like bugs after the latest phone call. The technicians and I prepare the surgery room with sterilized tools and supplies. The phone call was a possible stomach torsion which is a very serious condition that requires immediate, undivided attention. Moments later the ailing canine is rushed back to surgery. After sweat and tears of exhaustion, the canine is stabilized. I had already set up a bottom kennel in the main treatment room for its observation. I clear the room and go off to start laundry.

My shift is nearing the end. I complete the charts one last time. Then I hand Toby's chart to the technician to hand to the veterinarian. I gather up my belongings and head home.

August 28, 2021 05:10

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5 comments

Gip Roberts
20:17 Sep 03, 2021

As this proves, the "night shift" prompt was bound to get lots of interesting submissions. I like the ER for pets idea you went with. Nice take on the prompt.

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Writers Block
04:34 Sep 04, 2021

Thank you!

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Beth Connor
23:43 Sep 02, 2021

My sister worked at an emergency vet clinic for a time- I felt like I was listening to her tell me about her day!

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Writers Block
04:15 Sep 03, 2021

Thank you! I wrote this from true events.

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Beth Connor
14:27 Sep 03, 2021

Not surprised- it felt super authentic! (Had to read it more clinically- animal emergency make me teary, I would have a hard time in any medical field)

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