Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Wonderful time

Well, I'm two-thirds of the way through my second block and I'm absolutely loving it. This hospital has me working between 10 and 12 hours a day, and for once....I don't mind. In fact, I hardly notice the time go by at all. Thankfully, I think the owner of the place is really hyperactive which leads to the place being especially busy all the time. The one thing I hate the most at a job, above unsatisfactory coworkers and employers, is being bored. For the time being, the only part of my day where I'm bored is while I'm eating lunch, which is only for 20 minutes anyway.

Probably the highlight of my past week was getting to travel with the other doctors at the practice to this local meeting of a group called the DC Academy of Veterinary Medicine. The first Thursday of every month, doctors from all around DC gather for this monthly conference where speakers from all over will present the latest developments in the profession. This month, the speaker was a professor from NC State who presented the latest information about tick-borne diseases in dogs and cats, such as: Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme's Disease, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Not only was the speaker great, I especially enjoyed his talks because I knew I wasn't going to be tested on the information ;). There must've been a few hundred veterinarians there who all really reinforce what a great community this profession provides. Oh, and best of breakfast and catered lunch ;P.

On a sadder note, I assisted with the first few euthanasia's at the hospital since I've been there. One was done on an old Golden Retriever who had malignant melanoma and prostate cancer to boot. The vet asked me to join him in the room and warned me about what a tear-jerker is was going to be. In the room was not only the dog, but the entire family consisting of a husband, wife, and two teenage daughters, both of which were audibly bawling. By the end of it, the vet started losing it as well since these clients have been coming to him for over two decades. I managed to keep my composure, but only because of my own awkwardness. To be completely honest, I never have any idea of what to say in these situations so everytime I've assisted with a euthanasia, I've kept my mouth shut. While I did my best to take the doctor's consoling words away with me, it wasn't exactly the type of scenario where it would be appropriate to take notes. The other euthanasia I had difficulty with involved an owner who couldn't bear to watch the act, so they left the dog at the hospital. I don't personally understand how someone could view it that way, I still certainly respect it. This dog was a lab who had a really distended abdomen, was having some difficulty getting up, and was defecating all over the owner's house. What bothered me though was how the dog still seemed happy and had a positive attitude. Fortunately, the owner opted for a necropsy for some closure, which I performed and found the dog had hemangiosarcoma of the spleen: a really nasty malignant tumor which can (and did in this dog) spread to the heart, and can burst at any point causing the dog to bleed to death internally. Therefore, while this dog did seem happy, he could've dropped dead in a terrible way any day.

This post is getting a little winded, so I'll post other cool cases (mostly positive ones) I saw last week in a post tomorrow. Thanks for reading!


The Foodist said...

not sure if you ever met my dog (Im sure you have) but were looking at having to put him down.. eck I hate saying it that way.. anyway, hes suffering from severe hip displacia(sp) and its gotten so bad in the week that Ive been away that he can barely get up. Hes whining all the time and has gained about 30 pounds since I saw him last 4 months ago.

Id really like to be there when they go to the vet, but Im not sure itll happen.

its gonna be hard to imagine coming home and not having him waiting at the door for me staring out like "oh just give me the chance and Ill run right outside and run away like I used to"

such a good dog.. breaks my heart

Elaine said...

I've had to make this decision with horses, dogs and cats. Having had euthanasia done when I was both present and absent, I think it is easier, in the long run, to be present.