Monday, June 18, 2012

I am sad to say that I think this blog is reaching its natural end.

For the past 7 years, I have kept The Homeless Parrot. It has been a part of my veterinary student life, my intern life, and now my ER veterinarian life. After 3 years as an ER veterinarian, the stories are starting to sound the same.

Motherhood, a full-time job, and outside interests have kept me from blogging. That and I just don't need the catharsis of words that I once did. My catharsis is now a 20 pound, red-headed ball of mischief that has just recently learned to crawl/scoot, grab the cats, and clap her hands. I don't find myself NEEDING to sit down and write anymore, although I hate to think of the stories that I will forget as a result of this. If there is no need, then there is no drive - hence the 1-2 week pauses in blogging.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for your comments. The support of readers I have never met has been invaluable during some difficult times. Blogging has been wonderful. There are several of you that I consider friends, though I don't know your last names, and we have never met.

If you'd like to keep in touch, my email remains the same.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

On how to be a better veterinarian

Self improvement is something I work on constantly. This week brought a new experience that helped to open my eyes to ways that I can improve my interactions with owners.

Wednesday morning, we had a doctor's meeting. I'd been up all night at work, obsessing over my dead patient. I was tired, demoralized, and just stressed in general. I stopped by the house prior to the meeting to pick up Evaline. I wanted to let my husband sleep in, and she is usually a very good baby out and about in public. The first half of the meeting, she happily ate her egg and entertained herself. Toward the latter half, she became fussy and tired. I had my husband come pick her up, and the meeting continued.

When I got home, she was napping. It became apparent when she woke up that there was something wrong. She was glassy-eyed and very lethargic. Her cheeks were flushed, and she seemed to be breathing with effort. My husband thought I was hallucinating from being overtired and emotional, but I know my baby. I knew she was sick. We packed her off to the pediatrician's office quickly.

I was a mess quite honestly. I was overtired, emotional, and stressed about work. And to see my little Smoosh become so ill so quickly was terrifying. I started to cry. I cried the whole way to the doctor's office and while we waited. Worse case scenarios kept running through my head.

The doctor that saw Evaline was not her normal pediatrician. She was kind, thorough, did an excellent physical exam, and listened to my concerns. Despite my somewhat overwrought tears, she listened to me and took me seriously. She didn't make me feel silly about how upset I was. She explained her physical exam findings and then she went over differentials with me. She answered all my questions carefully and seemed to really understand my anxiety. Despite being fairly confident in her diagnosis (bronchiolitis likely secondary to a virus), she sent me for a chest X-ray. She knew it would assuage my worries.

I learned a lot from her mannerisms. What Evaline has is a common disease of infants. History and physical exam are usually sufficient for diagnosis. She's probably seen it a thousand times. Yet, she never made me feel rushed or as if I was overreacting about a fairly common illness (which I was).

It reminded me that although I see bite wounds and hit by cars and heart failure dogs all the time at work, most people are seeing it for the first time, and it's scary. It reminded me to talk to people gently. To listen to owners' fears and concerns. To answer questions and take the time to make sure my recommendations are understood. It reminded me to be compassionate no matter now silly or over the top an owner's reaction may be.

To that end, I wrote a thank you note to her and her staff saying pretty much all of that.

Evaline seems to be on the mend, although she is still hoarse. Me - I will be on the mend once Monday rolls around and I can forget I'm a vet for 9 days.