So, it's been a busy past couple of weeks and just when it feels like we are getting control of things, something comes out of the blue to remind you you're not in control.. I guess that's life. I will look at it though not as the world spinning out of control and anxiety, but as a reminder of the blessings we do have. There are several stories from the past couple of weeks I could share, but I'll focus on this past week.
I was working at a place that was super busy, but I was fortunate to work with a new graduate veterinarian. In my line of work, it is fairly rare that I get to work with another veterinarian, because most of the time I am the only veterinarian. This isn't my first rodeo, so to speak so I can survive ok on my own, but I sometimes find myself longing for a colleague to run my case by, or pick their brain, or just lament with. The new veterinarian was refreshing for me to work with and reminded me that if it wasn't for the prospect of going back to school, I'd have loved to teach other veterinarians (I got to do this briefly when I was on a Mission trip). It reminds me of how much I know, how much I have learned and that I've grown in more ways than just my cynicism in the past 10 years.
It's great to work with a new veterinarian because they are fresh out of school and they want to do everything "the right way". They haven't been jaded by years of dealing with difficult people, too many long days and nights and they still feel like they can change the world and save everyone. It's refreshing, but it also reminds me of how much I have forgotten since veterinary school. As the new veterinarian was about to deal with some difficult clients, one of the technicians said, "Talk to Dr. Meg- She's good at dealing with pain in the butt people." While I think that was a compliment, I told the new vet, "I'm happy to come in with you, but I know you can handle this on your own." She seemed happy that I had confidence in her.
Ok, now to the lemonade from lemons moment. The new veterinarian came back to see me to go over a case. She presented it to me and then asked for validation. "So, the next step would be a fine needle aspirate and bloodwork right?" I look at her and say, "yes, ideally, but what does the client want to do?" I told her I've seen and been involved in many cases where you do diagnostics and then there's no money left for treatment. The patient was sick and had been sick with possibly cancer for a little bit. I told the veterinarian, "I know it's not what they teach you in veterinary school, but it's ok to offer her to try to make the patient feel better for a little bit, knowing that won't be a cure. If the diagnostics aren't going to change what the owner does, it can be better to skip those and just focus on what you can do." A technician was in the office with us and told the veterinarian, "oh, I remember that client, when she called she expressed that money was a concern". The veterinarian looked at me and said, "Ok, I'll go talk with her again and present that option." She came back in and said with a look of enlightenment, "She seemed relieved when I presented the option to just focus on treatment, she was kind of embarrassed that she couldn't pay for the diagnostics and was glad I brought it up." The new doctor learned just like I had in the past that the things you do in veterinary skill and the things they drill into your head that need to be done in every situation do not really apply to real life all the time. Sometimes you have to realize you can't cure everything, but you can try to make everyone feel better, at least for a little bit. You can make lemonade from lemons or at least you can try to.