28 April 2008

Sometimes I feel ashamed, other times I'm so mad I could burst, often both

Dear Intern:
If the mastectomy cat has just returned from surgery [sterilise your females, for fuck's sake, you have no idea how dreadful it is, and how avoidable] and is screaming her head off in pain and can be heard across the hallway, and the doctor has just given you permission to administer a stronger painkiller, do you think maybe you could give it to her STRAIGHT AWAY, you bleeding idiot, AND ONLY THEN place the drip on the dog in the cage next to her that is not suffering at all?? You're a bloody intern, shouldn't you know better, are you deaf or blind?? THE ANIMAL WAS IN AGONY, YOU COW! And regarding the Persian whose CAT scan revealed cancer do you think you could refrain from gleefully announcing Oh his days are numbered, loads and loads of tumours!, especially considering that it was visitation hours and you can't be sure the owner isn't standing behind you, my God, and there were other owners there anyway and yes, how lovely for them to see a future vet so happy over a condemned animal, that certainly cheers up any normal person. And it might also not be a good idea upon noticing that you are being stared at in horror by us to smilingly add Oh yes, I'm a bit cold aren't I! and make it sound as though it's actually something you should ever be proud of, YOU STUPID CALLOUS BITCH! You will never touch any animal of mine and God help those who fall into your obviously capable hands, pain and losing a pet being such minor things.

Dear Dr.:
See that severely traumatised cat who's been in hospital for quite a while and whose surgery was postponed? See how he softly calls out to anyone who approaches his cage in obvious pain, even with a lower jaw that's almost wrapped around his ear? See how the corticosteroids don't seem to be alleviating it much? OPIOIDS, think you might want to give them a try and spare the animal suffering an extra day?

Dear Other Intern:
You were strutting your stuff even bfr you'd graduated, God's gift to animaldom at large, but from what I've been seeing for years there is no doubt that there are other, lower-key interns who will be much better doctors. We'll all forever be learning, we'll all forever be forced to pay attention, we'll all forever be ensuring that things are done the way they're supposed to but we'll all fail at times and yes, I did forget to check that the cage with the tricky door was indeed closed, I never ever do but I did this time so good thing you caught it, but please don't act all shocked and surprised when you look at me supercilliously and ask, dripping with superiority bcs you're so clearly above such behaviour, Did you leave this door open by accident? and I reply Oh no, obviously I did it on purpose.

And by the way, Dear Fellow Colleagues:
It will forever be beyond me how I can arrive to relieve you from your 12 h shift and ask as I walk in what's wrong with the dog in cage 6 and what's his name anyway and for you to tell me you have no idea. Didn't you just spend the past 12h looking after them? Even if you end up only working the one room, how can you NOT start by reading ALL charts to find out what's wrong with YOUR patients?? How can you be there for a whole half day and not even learn the animals' names? There are usually only abt a dozen of them, too much for you? And when the doctor tells you she'll be back at 7 for rounds and we're to present the cases and we call you to come join us while we prepare them, is it too much to expect that you will stop watching your DVD and actually do it?

God help me, imbecils stretch my limits anyway but I'll never be able to cope with needless suffering or doctors who can't be bothered. It was a bad morning.

12 furballs:

QuietusLeo said...

My advice: and read carefully because you will avoid the copious gray hairs that I have accumulated over years of experience - Do not torture yourself. All of us, without exception make the same mistakes. It's better to learn from these mistakes at the beginning of one's career. Remember: it's OK to make mistakes. Just don't make the same mistake more than once.

Lioness said...

Oh, I know, you're absolutely right and am not berating myself over the cage door, am simply done in by the sheer amount of callousness and lack of interest and holier-than-thou attitude. I am actually far more responsible and aware than so many of my colleagues I can't imagine what sort of professionals they'll be. I also immediately printed a sign for the door to ensure that no it never happened again, apparently it had been happening a lot, we were just lucky that it was a very quiet cat.

Anonymous said...

You are going to be an absolutely magnificent vet, you know. This rant just confirms it. (That's the ulterior motive behind my encouraging you to consider moving across the pond -- because Minou would love to have you as her doctor. But you know that already.)

Lioness said...

What, not just bcs you love me so?!

Lioness said...

Weird, according to my sitemetre you're now in Dinero, Texas. Is it an improvement over Chantilly, Virginia?

Next, Fargo, to exotify your accent.

Anonymous said...

i've been a lurker for some time, lioness, and i love your blog! i must say, as one who loves her dog dearly, it was so troubling to read this post! he has a wonderful vet, but the thought that he could encounter individuals such as those you describe, should he need to stay overnight, is horrifying! let's hope that they are in the minority...

Viscondessa, in crinoline said...

Dinero, TX? I wonder if there's a casino there.

Chantilly at least sounded like it might involve something yummy, or maybe piles of lacy underthings.

Anyway, how do you know I'm not actually traveling around America on my juggling tour?

At least my service provider works better than anonymouse.org.

Dexter Colt said...

A lot of people have the knowledge to be vets. But, having knowledge doesn't mean you have the necessary tools to be a good vet.

Your compassion is what will set you apart from the rest of them. They can't teach that in school.

CarpeDM said...

God, you're going to be a fantastic vet. Would you please move to Minnesota? Eddy needs you. I needs you (and yes, I did that on purpose).

You can live in Portugal during the winter. It's spring here now! There are leaves! On trees!

Lioness said...

Anonymous (wish you'd invented a name, it's so... impersonal!), I fully understand what you're saying, and I used to fear it even more bfr vet school. It's different now, and not only bcs already being considered a colleague does afford us some clout and privileges, but also bcs I have seen how it works from the inside. And you know, for all the callous ones out there you have people like me as well, who care, who will make everything to ensure the animals are as happy in hospital as an animal who is ill and away from his family could be. And even the callous ones will mostly do their job properly, when I left this afternoon one of the interns I mentioned was closely monitoring a sick pet who'd had surgery and making sure he was breathing and properly heated. She was sitting on a gurney in front of the cage and she will have stayed there for a long as necessary - for all I know she could still be there. One person can change a lot in how others work, I've seen one of the doctors there do wonders, most of us do very much care. And a wonderful vet is usually surrounded by people whom he can trust, bcs otherwise he'd feel hindered. So I'd say, not really knowing anything abt it, that your dog would be in good hands.

V., I don't know, how many Indians are there in Texas? [This is where I'd be slayed if i were widely read, right?] And jugglers are only a few steps up from clowns, so no. NO. Never.

Dexter, I actually feel the same way, and I know it is better for them that I am this way, but sometimes it feels like my compassion goes Om nom nom nom and I am the snack. The powerless snack. It's not being able to change it yet that hurts the most.

Lioness said...

Oh Dana, think of what Minnesota would do to my accent! Hows woulds Is lives withs myselfs??

JoeInVegas said...

Not as many Indians here in Nevada as in Texas, do you want more or less? We can arrange most anything. Except rain and snow that is, sunshine yes, rain no. But it is wet in our pool, and the water temp is up to 27c.