Listening and compassion are two traits you want — truly want — when you are talking to a doctor. You want to be in a partnership with the doctor and you need to know that the doctor’s interests are aligned with your own.
The same holds for dealing with doctors on behalf of someone else.
It’s called bedside manner.
It also holds true for veterinarians.
This is what we didn’t get from our when talking on the phone today with a vet talking about Zoe.
Taking a step back we found some lumps and took her in to see a vet. The vet found more lumps. Biopsies were taken of five lumps. Results of four of the five came back positive for a metathesized cancer while the fifth was inconclusive. She also has a highly coincident trouble with her back right foot. En researching this (and later corroborated by a vet tech and vet) was that this is a common site for a meta in cats in particular.
Talking today the vet was all about X-rays, ultrasounds, chemotherapy, surgery and all sorts of technology we can throw at Zoe.
For what end?
How will that change the course of treatment?
We made it quite clear that we don’t want to make swiss cheese out of our kitty. We know of at least five spots, a likely sixth (on her foot) and likely (though unconfirmed) in more places as well.
I reiterate, how will knowing change anything.
Having data that’s not actionable is as good as not having data at all. If all you do is go “hmmm… that’s interesting…” and move on you’re not ahead any.
I pointed out that they told us on Sunday that she has metastatic cancer and it’s essentially untreatable.
She paused. I threw her off her game.
She ignored me.
All of the diagnostics will say what surgery is needed. I know enough about metastatic cancer to know that this isn’t something that you just cure (in the general case, some rare exceptions do exist in humans). You endure surgery after surgery until you run out of things that you can remove. You might be able to deal with that as a human who understands what is going on, I don’t think an animal would fare as well.
We made it clear again that this isn’t an avenue that we were interested in pursuing. We don’t want to be selfish just to keep her around while she’s suffering physically, mentally, or emotionally.
The vet ignored us and soldiered on. “Well, we might be able to remove part of her liver…”
Fuck you. Why don’t you fucking listen to us. Why do you want to just make a poor animal suffer. Why do you want to extend false hope. Fuck you.
– = –
Tomorrow En’s going to call our old vet in Cleveland. We trust her. We went to a few other vets before we found her. She’s been good to us and Jack and Zoe. Hopefully we can talk to someone who’s more interested in Zoe than the bottom line.