Friday, August 7, 2015

Getting too old for this...

Oftentimes lately I found myself saying, "I'm getting too old for this."  It's funny when I'm taking care of my two year old, I can find myself getting goofy and acting like a kid again without a problem.

In the work environment is often where I say, "I'm getting too old for this."  Especially when dealing with difficult people, or with animals that want to kill me.  There is a certain point, I'm not sure exactly where it happened, when I went from the naive uber-compassionate vet to the seasoned, still compassionate, but a little more realistic vet.  The point where I realized I just don't have the emotional capacity to care more about everyone's animals than they do (There are still special cases where I can go to my reserve and for whatever specific reason go above and beyond.)  But really, nasty people, or nasty animals?  I was probably too "old" for that long ago.  Who wants to deal with that.

I'm not sure if the saying "I'm getting too old for this" does anything helpful, but it does maybe help with perspective.  I found myself getting a little too close to the dangerous end of a cat and being a little more adventurous near its teeth than I normally like (maybe this means I'm due to get reminded of what a cat bite feels like).

Maybe I'm getting to the point where I've seen and dealt with so much that there's not much that surprises me (like the fact the other day I realized why my fingernail was hurting... um, I kind of drilled an actual hole in it when I was doing a dental.)  After this revelation, my husband looked at me and said, "how did you not realize you did that and why were you in a position to do that."  The answer to that is a recurring theme in veterinary work.  First of all, I didn't realize I did it because I was so frustrated and focused on the procedure I was doing pain was not really going to get me out of focus (most vets have laser-like focus, kind of like how my cat is with prey) and secondly, I did it because I remember being frustrated with the piece of equipment and trying to see if it actually worked and I tried to test it on my glove and apparently it worked very efficiently and went through my glove : )

With difficult people- well, that's been a long-time of adjustment that in the customer service world I work in, you really do have to go above and beyond to be polite and courteous to people who are either not having their best day, are entitled or were just never taught manners.  It is the exception that when people answer their cell phone while in an appointment actually apologize for it.  I have a couple of circumstances lately where clients have been "surprised" that I am the doctor they are seeing.  I sometimes feel like apologizing, "I'm sorry I'm not a tall, grey-haired skinny woman, there's not much I can do about that, but I can tell you that that doctor respects me enough to let me work here, so let's start there."

There are times when wrestling with a 120 pound labrador to try to clip his nails or get a temperature the phrase, "I'm too old for this," is quite legitimate.  I mean, too old might not be the right phrase, maybe I should add on, "too inflexible, too out of shape/ not a rodeo rider?"  (I don't think most non-veterinary field people understand the amount of bruises and the locations of bruises we get from our "rodeo" work.)  We do use sedation for anything that is too stressful for our patients or too risky for us, but in non-painful procedures with energetic dogs, it's a lot more stress on everyone to anesthetize them for a mani/pedi.

Yet, while I'm saying all of this, "I'm too old etc", I go back to my son.  He has absolutely no boundaries/ excuses or mental restrictions.  In his world, he could eat donuts all day and watch fireworks and play ball and climb anything (I do mean anything).  Like I said in an earlier post, he can put the trampoline on top of the couch with no mental restrictions.  While some of the restrictions we put on ourselves are well- learned from experience, some are just psychological.  Maybe we can learn something from toddlers in their boundless energy and exploration.

After all, even though I say, "I'm too old for this,"  I go back to work each day and there is a certain amount of gratification in getting the job done.  I guess I'm not too old for it after all.

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