After months of polling the technicians we work with from various clinics and online (with the help of a Facebook page for technicians, “Vet Techs United”), we have come up with a collection of the funniest or craziest reasons they’ve arrived late for work.
Here is a true story, narrated by a technician at one of my practices on a day we had a TPLO scheduled at 9 a.m.:
“I woke up late but still wanted to go to the gym. I quickly gathered up my gym bag, and out the door I ran. I had a successful ‘express workout,’ feeling good about myself. Time to hit the shower. And that’s when I realized that not only did I pack two scrub tops and no pants, but also no fresh underwear. OMG!!! So I have to put on my sweaty gym clothes back on.
I rushed home to spruce up and get dressed.
“Once I got to the clinic, my TPLO patient had backed up his rear end up to the cage door and unloaded the smelliest and most disgusting blackish diarrhea, which stunk up the entire kennel. With a deep breath and some assistance from my great teammates, we got the dog all cleaned up. Then we moved on to premedication, IV catheter, induction and clipping. After all of that, we had him in the OR on time!”
Other stories, however, sound totally shady, while some are good old classics:
- “I had a ticket.”
- “I didn’t know I was working.”
- “I got stuck in a snow bank.”
- “I was pulled over but got away with a simple warning.”
- “I ran out of gas.”
- “My car wouldn’t start.”
- “We had a power outage overnight, and my alarm never went off.”
- “I thought I worked 10 to 6.” (Interestingly, that shift didn’t exist at that practice.)
Some stories are harder to believe, but entirely true:
- “I had to stop and buy underwear because I have a job interview after work.”
- “I couldn’t find my dog/my cat.”
- “I broke three fingers running in a demolition derby (a car race).”
- “I am late because I had to stop to get coffee.”
Some stories were too graphic for a reputable publication like VPN.
And one of my favorite stories: “There was a bat inside my apartment.”
Here is another true story, told by a wonderful, former technician:
“I lived solo in a very old, very small apartment. I arrived home one evening, and my two cats were acting weird. They kept running back and forth from the kitchen to the front room. As I was on the couch watching TV, I suddenly saw this shadow in the room. The cats sprinted into the room. I looked up to see a large brown bat, circling my very tiny front room. I immediately jumped up and locked myself in the bathroom. Every time I tried to come out, the bat would dive bomb my head.
“After pleading with my neighbor, he finally called his friend (a good old farm boy) to come help. Armed with brooms, after 25 minutes, we finally managed to get the widows open and chase the bat outside.
“The kitchen had an old vent, operated by a pull chain. I must not have noticed that the vent was broken. The blades left small openings from the outside bat world into my apartment. The bat was subletting the space.
“I spent the rest of the night dealing with frantic cats and cleaning up bat guano, late into the morning.”
So dear doctors and technicians, next time you’re late for work, at least come up with a good story! And don’t forget to share with us!
Kelly Serfas, a Certified Veterinary Technician in Bethlehem, Pa, contributed to this article.