When You Are Labeled A Non-Compliant Patient

It is Tuesday evening as I write this and it has been one week since I had my surgery. In less than a week, I have earned the label of being a non-complaint patient by Doc and the veterinarian. For someone that screams about not labeling others Doc sure slapped that one on me quickly, even though I did kind of deserve it.

It all started in the early hours of Saturday morning. Doc was still in her PJ’s and getting ready to sit down to a leisurely breakfast of eggs and bacon. I had already eaten my breakfast but I was sitting next to Doc just in case she dropped something on the floor. Before she started eating, she decided to get up to get a cup of coffee, I moved out of her way as she went into the kitchen. On her way back to the table I saw her look down on the floor and I could tell she was trying to make sense of what she was seeing. Her face turned ashen as she realized that she was seeing bright red drops of blood that had left a trail from the kitchen floor into the family room and on to the back door. She would later describe it as looking like something out of a murder scene. Now Doc is not one to panic, but I could see she was trying hard not to for my sake, when I heard the fear in her voice. ” Grover, come here! ” As she lifted up my head and looked at the surgical site, there was blood oozing out between the stiches. First she grabbed a paper towel but it soaked right through it, next she tried a ABD gauze pad and the blood soaked through that as well, but remembering her first aide training she applied a little pressure and it soon stopped. She placed a large bandage over it and then called the veterinarians office. Since the bleeding had subsided they gave us a 9:30am appointment.

I can’t lie, when we got to the office and Dr. Ritchie came in to examine me I started shaking. I had been through so much medical stuff lately that I was worried they were going to have to stich me up again. Seeing I was upset Dr. Richey got down on the floor along with the nice vet tech and they gave me a pats, talked to me and gave me treats until I calmed down. Dr. Ritchie looked at the surgical site, said it looked fine and that the stiches were still in place. Both Doc and I gave a big sigh of relief and that is when Doc turned on me, telling them I was being non-compliant and that my antics are probably what caused the bleeding. In my defense, I’m a dog for goodness sake and don’t know how I can be expected to sit around like I’m old and decrepit. But that is just what they expect, so I had to sit there and listen to them plot and plan what I would call a very unrealistic and boring recovery plan. When we got back in the car, Doc said to me ” Grover you can either follow what the doctor said or you will have to get stiches again, it’s up to you. You are making me a nervous wreck. You know Grover, the choices you make with your health and recovery don’t just affect you, they also affect everyone that loves you.” she said with firmness. We drove the rest of the way home in silence.

Now that was a guilt trip I had not planned to take so early in the morning, but she was right. It’s not just about me. So as hard as it might be to believe, this stubborn dog has been doing what I am suppose to do. I only tried to do “zoomies” around the yard once but Doc stopped me dead in my tracks since she supervises everything I do. I still don’t like the stupid tee shirts I have to wear in this 90 degree heat to keep my stiches covered and clean but I only have to put up with everything for one more week until I get my stiches out next Tuesday. Until then I have decided to give up my non-compliant ways, at least for awhile.


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