The writing on the wall

The writing on the wall

Sep 01, 2006

Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand

~Author Unknown

Mirror Lake Animal Hospital: 8:45 a.m.

Dr. Kenny Long mulled over the chart long and hard. More study time passed. He scratched his head.

"What is this chicken scatchin' here that Jenny Adams wrote down on the O'Henry chart?" he questioned in a resonant baritone that leaked into adjacent rooms.

Anne Britton heard his plea from the other side of the hospital and came to the rescue. She started talking to Dr. Long from the storage area and broadcast her words over the heads of several staff members that were shuffling back and forth between exam rooms.

"The O'Henry's brought Sam in last night after you left for the day," Anne exclaimed in a loud voice over the baying din of an insistent Beagle hound in Anne's vicinity.

"What? Say what?" Kenny asked as he looked up in the general direction of an admixture of baying and human voicings.

Her words trailed off into a decrescendo as she neared the area where Dr. Long stood. She repeated herself.

"The O'Henry's brought Sam in last night and Dr. Adams wanted you to look at him this morning."

"I really can't see what she wants me to do. It seems she examined him and found a mild fever and gave him an injection of an antibiotic. There is a lot of scribbling here I don't understand that doesn't seem to relate," Ken intoned.

"She was talking last night about blood tests and X-rays and maybe sending out a culture. Our blood machine was down for cleaning last night, I think, and I really don't know why she didn't do the X-ray last night."

There was a pregnant pause. Dr. Jenny Adams had left on vacation early this morning.

Anne cleared her throat.

"Carol says that Mrs. O'Henry wants you to call her when you are done with whatever you are supposed to be doing with Sam."

"Did you or Carol get a phone number?" he asked dryly.

"I am not sure. I didn't take the call." Anne quickly puckered her lips and moved her eyes like an old Grandfather clock. The ploy didn't seem to lighten the atmosphere for Dr. Long, so she sighed and quickly moved to a phantom task a few feet away. She peeked again at Dr. Long and found him drawing a very large breath.

Just then, Brittany, a short, yet wiry, technician, called from an exam room regaling Dr. Long to appear front and center for the next client. Dr. Long slumped a bit, then stiffened and pulled at his tie—another large toke of atmosphere was drawn. Then, Kenny had one last perusal of the O'Henry chart looking for a current phone number. He found three places on the chart where the phone number had been crossed out. He tossed the chart in the general direction of Anne and proceeded to the exam room.

Cheryl and Barry Franklin sat expectantly in the corner. Felix a weather-beaten feline with one eye and about six remaining teeth was hiding under the sink. Cheryl and Barry offered no assistance as Kenny fished the oily cat from the corner.

"Felix was double ugly but friendly enough—at least he had been according the last chart entry inserted by Dr. Charles Boone about eight years ago. The ink on the previous visit was beginning to fade. Dr. Boone no longer worked at Mirror Lake Animal Hospital.

On this visit, Felix was obviously very ill. A notation on the chart stated that this cat was diagnosed as FIV positive at the last visit.