Saturday, August 23, 2008

i would've posted sooner, but truthfully - i was a) too exhausted after a 21 hour shift on sunday/monday and b) too depressed to have it in me to write.

here's a brief litany of some of the cases i took in/treated on sunday/monday:

1) a 1lb yorkie puppy, stepped on by owner with pulmonary contusions and possible GI perforation: died when IV catheter was being placed

2) 1 lb tortoiseshell kitten eaten up by fleas, parasites, so dehydrated/anemic that we were unable to place an IV anywhere - even our intraosseous (bone marrow) catheters failed: euthanized via cardiac stick after heavy sedation

3) 15 year old schnauzer with a heart rate of 30 and every arrhythmia in the book - owned by a jerk sexist (80 year old man) who treated me like garbage because i was female: euthanized due to owner's refusal to work up underlying problem.

4) 16 year old cat with a 6/6 heart murmur, a thyroid slip (enlarged thyroid probably meaning hyperthyroidism), thin, weak in the rear limbs: euthanized.

5) 4 month old puppy, laterally recumbent, comatose, partially seizing, with blood pouring from his mouth but no identifiable cause or laceration. clotting times were normal, so rat poisoning seemed unlikely: euthanized after struggling to figure out what was wrong with him and failing (despite the help of a specialist and my intern-mate).

it was not a fun couple of days. the only case i had that was rewarding was a 30 lb mixed breed dog that came in vomiting for 4 days, hunched, painful, and extremely dehydrated and lethargic. he was in acute renal failure. i managed to reverse that with my treatment. it was something to be proud of, i have to say. renal failure can be a challenge to manage, but i was proud of him. he's going home today, after 5 days in the hospital.

i also had a heat stroke that became my patient when i came on the late night shift on saturday. he was managed by cooling and IV fluids initially. when i took over his case, he was still obtunded and having partial seizures. i requested a blood glucose - only to find it was 28 (normal is 75-100 or so). i gave him boluses of dextrose and started him on dextrose laced fluids, and he went from completely stuporous with partial seizures to sitting up, drinking, and looking like an almost normal (albeit weak) dog. i felt really good about identifying a problem that had initially been missed in him - treating it - and making a huge difference (perhaps between life and death).

it almost made up for the clusterf*ck surrounding my patient that needed an amputation but was refused by his referring veterinarian, the sexist schnauzer's owner that requested a male doctor (i'll probably tell the whole story some other time), and the 4 month old puppy that i nor anyone else could help.

it was a very long 110 hour week (i kid you not). yesterday - instead of sleeping - i went down to georgia to a clinic that's thinking about hiring me to do relief work. a classmate of mine works there and spoke highly of it. if i take the position, i'll be working 3 days of my off week. it might be a terrible idea, due to the fact that when i'm on, i work between 90-120 hour weeks. we'll see how it works out. the money will be nice.

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