It was one of those crazy days here at VBB where every client that came in was needy, difficult or just plain weird. This one stood out.
It begins with the phone call. The receptionist comes back and says “Doc, you’re going to love the appointment I just made for you. This new client thinks aliens came down and gave her cat worms.” I think “Great. I’m not a psychiatrist.” But I keep an open mind. Maybe the receptionist heard the owner wrong or misinterpreted what she said. So I wait to decide for myself when the owner is here.
The owner comes in with her cat.
Me: “Good morning. I’m Dr. VBB. How are you and Fluffy today?”
Owner: “I’m worried about these lesions. I don’t want her to get sick from the worms.”
Me: “OK, so tell me why you think she has worms. Did you see them in her stool?”
Owner: “No. A couple weeks ago a dark cloud came down into my backyard from the sky. It was a clear day so I didn’t understand what it was at first. Then the cloud came into my house through the screen door. It engulfed me and paralyzed me. I couldn’t move. I felt prickly all over. It scared me. Fluffy was right there and I didn’t want her to be scared but I couldn’t move to reach her. Finally the black cloud left and I was released. The next day I had these lesions on my arms and legs. I don’t know what they are. Do you?”
Me: “Um. You feel the cloud gave you these lesions?”
Owner: “I know it did. See? It’s worms, right?”
Me: “I recommend you see your doctor right away to evaluate those lesions. Fluffy, on the other hand, seems fine. Her physical exam is normal and she does not have any skin lesions.”
Owner: “Oh. You sure? Cuz the black cloud touched her too”
Me: “If you want to be sure, we could collect a fecal sample to look for worms or do a fungal culture of her fur to look for ringworm.”
Owner: “Well, I’ll just watch her for now. She seems ok otherwise. I just got so worried about her.”
Me: “I understand your concern for Fluffy. Let me know if she develops any lesions. Please consider seeing your doctor about those skin lesions. They may be able to help you with them.”
Owner: “Thank you so much.”
I find that sometimes listening is the best form of treatment. After all, who doesn’t want to be heard and understood.