Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page


In Veterinary Quotes on May 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Being a Cowboy can be a good or not so good thing. What it means to me is to blaze a path with a courageous take no prisoners attitude. Probably a good thing. It can also mean to do stuff that others wouldn’t do because it is foolhardy or not care what others think. Less of a good thing.

A singular episode associated with this is additionally one of my fondest memories of a colleague and how I was perceived. Y is going to be terribly embarrassed by this association if I know her like I do. To set the stage I need to explain her a little bit.

It was during her interview at the hospital that I was working at for her first job out of school. I had actually met her at a previous interview for a job because I was working at that hospital for the day to help out. In some small way I have always wondered if she didn’t end up at my full time hospital because of me.

To go back further another memorable and possibly the first thing she said to me is “you are at the best place you can be” in a gushing manner. VERY complimentary. Simply put that I was 5 years into my career and she couldn’t wait to be that experienced because her perception was that is when you were at your ultimate best. A big part of why this is so memorable is the package she presents. You see Y did not start her professional life as a veterinarian. She had been a concert cellist.

And if there is anyone who should have been a cellist, it is her. I actually long to see her one day play the cello because I can only imagine how magnificent she must be. Tall, gorgeous, thin, platinum blonde (I know, I know, we are starting a singles ad here!) wearing all black holding onto the far too big instrument just so with her concentration only focused on making beautiful music. Pause. Sigh. Pause.

Back to the story: going forward my lasting memory of her was unlike everybody else, she would stand waiting with some little white fluffy dog for help, with much aplomb as the rest of us scurried around or forced our way into getting our work done. But Y always had the patience to wait. So unusual.

Towards the end of her shift working with us that first day, she is checking us out and we are checking her out (not like that!).  I had the opportunity to help out a patient named “Cash” – rarely would I remember a patients name from a decade ago but this one stood out. He was a terribly ill and very thin mastiff with the type of owner who would have a dog with this kind of name (think wearing about 1o too many gold chains). The dog had a huge fever and one leg was grossly swollen unlike anything I’d seen before. I was positive this would be a euthanasia situation if only because of how much CASH it was going to take to fix this dog.

I don’t know if it was how much I wanted to impress Y, how badly I needed to be creative to make the dog better or how scared I was of his owner and which was the predominate driving force behind my actions. But I took the dog, drove a rubber tube “drain” into his leg to gravity allow a liter of pus to be removed. The dog was too debilitated to care, no anesthesia or pain medication was administered (wait, I did what?!?).

Y looked at the dogs leg, then looked at me totally blank faced, and back again at the dogs leg and uttered the words that still ring in my mind only when I think of her: “(my name), you are such a Cowboy.” She knew I would be titillated and happy to hear this from her. And nobody else at that practice would possibly have done the same thing the same way.

Darned if it didn’t work beautifully 🙂  Given the proper medication to fight infection and that miracle procedure when I saw him again to remove the drain, he was a new dog with a lot of weight gained and felt great and the leg was healing nicely. Definitely a top 5 in my career save to this day – I’ll have to recount some of the others on here later.

The Point (trying out new end titles, due to Y actually):

Cowboys almost always get the job done. And I love it when I can be one and have my way with the nature of things.


Casual Aside

In Veterinary on May 22, 2011 at 10:32 pm

There are things we say that get us in trouble. We often don’t think anything of them, just mention them in passing, often something stated as a way to relieve stress or take a stab at humor or to provide perspective on something.

As a afterthought I can think of 3 times that this has been an issue in veterinary medicine for me and others. One that came home to me was when I had an afterthought interaction with a very sick cat where I attempted to examine a wound in its mouth and when it practically passed out due to basic manipulation I stopped and called its caretaker to discuss the situation. While it was happening, one of the other veterinarians I was working with commented in a dry joking manner “I see you are doing non-anesthesia dentistry there.” And as I was on the phone with my client I had to take the phone into another room because of a sudden burst of noise that occurred.

As it turned out (the cat had to be euthanized due to a not yet determined significant occult illness) over a month later I was called on the carpet by not only our hospital medical director but the regional manager as well about the “cat who I killed” seemingly inadvertently. They had taken the word of a suspicious staff member having misinterpreted my colleagues words and thought I was hiding my discussion with the client to make it look like I had not caused its distress. And took it upon themselves to review the record (nothing was there) and interview the employee and finally ask for my side MUCH later. The whole time I had no idea. If they had asked me right off I can only imagine it wouldn’t or at least shouldn’t have been a big deal.

The other two situations had to do with overheard stressed frustrated vet comments overheard by staff, I am going to imagine. Only they know how truthful the situations were, but my role led me to believe there wasn’t much merit to the allegations made. In one case a veterinarian was thought to have a special “PIA” (pain in the ass) fee for certain clients and in the other the doctor had significant medical needs and was believed to be taking narcotics which were effecting her ability to perform her job duties. On closer inspection that didn’t appear to be the case, though an employee did say that they had been heard to say “It’s 5 o’clock, almost time for my vicodin” which was damning.

Ultimately, though we are people too and in stressful jobs, we as veterinary professionals need to remember that ALL of our actions are taken very seriously by those around us and we have to keep our actions above reproach at all times.

Otherwise …


Keep your manners and wits about you at all times and you won’t have any ‘splainin to do (remember I Love Lucy?)