Friday, February 8, 2019

Drugs, Drink, Or Die? The shitty shady side of my last 48 hours as a veterinarian.

This is glaringly obvious...

I need a full time shrink. You know like other rich white entitled women have assistants, or glam squads. I just need full access to a therapist at all moments of the day.

How else am I supposed to deal with the shit that I do?

I have considered excessive exercise. Some cathartic attempt to tone my temple to a place of self absorbed elevation. Dump all my time and energy (the tired dog has no bad habits model) into spin classes, Zoomba, Ironmans. But alas, I can't, or rather, don't want to. It's a little excessive and selfish. Especially when you think about how much time that's going to require.

Or, I start to drink excessively.. No, not this either. No path to enlightenment here.. Watch too many of your relatives die from the bottle.. Not interested.

Drugs, Nope.. I lack the stomach for this. End up another number on the police billboard for the class of 2019. And, I'm too old. (Vices, addictions are age dependent I think? Aren't they?).

So, I am left with creative license to try to deal with the shit I can't compartmentalize quickly and quietly into lock boxes.

I deal with too much shit. Vets, those of us who still show up and give a damned (pun intended people), and those of us still trying to manage getting through the shit without it eating us alive. (I could go off on a whole tangent of suicide in this profession. How pervasive it is. How abysmal our stats on suicide vs the rest of the population are. All the little reasons it happens. The chipping away of your fragile psyche as the world tries to break your compassion with fatigue that has no end and any healthy outlet. But that is already widely publicized,,,,, I hope?)

I have resorted to blogging instead. (Slightly cathartic and even minimally effective), and, cutting back my work schedule. The tactic of minimizing exposure in the hopes the stats of the one absolute awful humans walking amongst us in society between the hundred of amazing humans I see daily. (There is always one psychopathic serial murder in a pack. Stay small. Be quiet. Hope some other victim is met sparing you the slaughter).

Blogging is great, (i.e. here I am,) but, there is still something lacking with it. My coping mechanism to handling the shit I get dumped on me isn't absolved via a blog. (hard as I hope and try)...

Getting my shit sorted out effectively AND in a healthy manner requires more than sitting down and vomiting my complaints to the world wide web. It requires an outlet bigger than that.

Here's how shitty my shit can get.. and why I need more places to put stuff. Hide it so I can try to resolve it, not let it eat me into oblivion, later.. You'll understand.

Here's a few examples of my shitty life as a vet... And to shorten my list to something people will actually try to plow through I am just reviewing my last 2 days.

The Lying, Thieving Neighbor:

The setting; new client with dog is here for exam and vaccines.

The protocol; every new client is asked to provide information on themselves, basic stuff like address, phone number, and email address for the purpose of notifications and legal criteria. We aren't like human hospitals where we must meet and provide HIPPA, but close. And we are every so often to provide proof of vaccination status to law enforcement in the cases of bite injuries. We take protecting our patients and clients info very seriously. We never provide info without scrutiny first. And even then we still never do.

The case; Quiet, reserved, somewhat shady looking arrives with jubilant compact tan dog in tow. The guy makes a point to tell you within the first sentence that you meet him that "he is a lawyer." The adorable pittie pup at the end of his leash is jumping around the room elated to be in public with lots of people who love pitties. Her name tag says "Olivia," the gem of a girl who is loved. He is a new client, a guy noir neuvo. He wants us to have her examined and update her vaccines. Olivia is not a puppy, obviously. She is a full fledged adult and she has probably been to the vet before. But, upon initial questioning he has no medical records and no clear idea of when she might have last been seen by a vet or vaccinated. My savvy technician takes her to the back treatment area and scan her for a microchip. Guess what? Yep! She has one! And guess what else? This guy still isn't a client, BUT Olivia IS!.

We go back into the room to discuss our findings and he says, "I haven't been completely honest." (shocker).

We call Olivia's mom. She has been looking for her for days. Has been filing missing dog reports and now her missing Olivia is here. With us. Great lucky joy she is safe and found.

It goes on.... She (Olivia's mom) calls back minutes later to say she doesn't want her back... she is after all running away often she admits.

She calls back again minutes later and says she does. Starting to see the problem here yet?

We are confused... We are torn. All we really care about is the best interest of this dog. Where is that in this mess? Whose side are we now rooting for?

We call Animal Control, which, thank goodness, is a part of the Sherriff's Department. We walk away wondering.... why do people steal pets?.. Well, they are either shady and use them as bait dogs, or sell them, OR, they think they are a better parent than the original parent which means they know them, they are neighbors and how you gonna hide that body?

The shit we deal with.... we save a lost dog... we have an angry lawyer because we stuck our noses in his shit,,, (oddly he confessed he already had three other dogs and didn't need anymore,, and he went to a different vet. Why did he come here? Maybe his original vet would have stuck their noses in his shit? Or, maybe not? Please just go away... like forever Mr. Lawyer-shady-guy).

And we have a client with an unfulfilled dog in need of more exercise, more supervision and more people to love and take care of her.

And people wonder why vets kill themselves? Clearly this is beyond my vet degree, AND, we are now scanning every pet with a microchip and scrutinizing those who decline them. (yes, we do stick our noses in other people's shit,,, I go back to dilemma of giving a damn).

(PS Olivia is not her name.. Mr Lawyer had changed it, gotten a new name tag, and did he really want her? Is he just a guy who cares and maybe went about it the wrong way? and how do I sleep at night?).

Case Number Two. Angry "Kill My Dog ASAP!" woman.

The cast; New client, new patient.

The stats on the cast; New client states that she just moved here, can't remember where her previous vet was, and the dog is a 14 year old lab.

The setting is ripe for disaster in my eyes already. I can see this emotionally devastating tsunami coming. Had I been the receptionist I would have found some creative way to discourage her from coming here. It is a vibe we get. Not concrete. Just a feeling. Thwart destructive people before they enter the front door in every case possible.

The next example of fried burnt out vet meets "I can't handle this shit" is the never met before woman, with the equally never met you before patient who makes an appointment to euthanize her dog and goes ballistic because she isn't seen immediately for her appointment. (This is not a proud moment for us. We get behind because we invest our whole heart and soul into every patient and these cause poor time management). She gets impatient. Really, really impatient. She then gets even more heated and ticked when we inquire about this never seen before dog who is here to be killed,,, We call it "euthanasia" because it is prettier, but let's not cloud the issue,, it is death,, no going back from that. She goes to a place that is irreparable. She starts screaming and charging through the clinic. She puts her dog in the car, yelling foul things, like a two year old without the toy she wanted, but didn't get in Wal-Mart, and then upon the intervention as I try to smooth things over I foolishly say "We don't know you, or your dog and we need to insure proof of ownership and rabies status." (And, I want to say, and who gets defensive about that?)

The worst part of this whole thing is how happy her dog is.. How much he has no idea about what is going to happen and how sick we all are to witness it.

Is this about us? Jeez, I hope not. It is not a dog we can see as being suffering. It is a dog who is older, ( reason enough for many), and she is ALL ABOUT HER. We are her servants. We aren't supposed to have a heart or a soul, We don't know her story. We don't. But his, this sweet dogs, seems apparent.

Shitty online review from her follows.

Once again soul crushing disgust in lacking humanity ensues.

So I sit here. Dilemma of the day; drink, drugs, therapist, exercise. VENT!

Get out alive people.. Pets you are at the mercy of these humans I hope to be able to hide in the pack from.

P.S. New JVC protocol; Don't call us and request a euthanasia if we don't know you. Sorry, not sorry..

Shit like this. People like this, cases like this, happen every single day at every single vet clinic. No one talks about them. We may joke internally. Share each others beaten empathetic complex. Share the burden of the pets we feel got cheated by the people who they relied on most. But most of us just internalize the frustration. Let it chip away at our fragile souls until we give up. We kill ourselves because of the shit we can no longer swallow healthily. We die internally as we comply. Find utter indifference. Abandon caring because it just hurts too much to do it anymore.

Me, single me, I am getting out alive. Protecting my heart and soul running for the goal post cradling it like a gladiator in the arena of compassion fatigue.

Those two pups in this story, I also carry them. The impact of their stories. One now deceased and one without a happily ever after ending.

Here's to praying the meek inherit the earth and do a better job than humans did.

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