In Valhalla, Kevin slumbers, fingers twitching intermittently to steal a tiny soul but as a whole, laying quiescent. The shortening days and the chill in the air tickles his nose, ending his long hibernation. He awakens. And he is hungry, the rotten jerk.
I used to love the holidays, until I became a vet. I still love the holidays, but I hate working during them. Work is the opposite of merry and gay. Work is destruction and sadness, year after year and I can’t explain why, bizarre in its consistency.
Usually the madness doesn’t rear its ugly head until well into the holiday bacchanalia, but as with elf-laden commercials sneaking ever closer to the first of the year, so does the ugliness. I walked in the door this morning to find my technician helping a person fill out paperwork to cremate her deceased cat. She wasn’t even a client. The cat had passed at home, and we are not allowed to bury pets on property in our area so she took him to us out of necessity.
Then I am handed a sympathy card for a pet I had seen last week. He was fine at the time. The owner was leaving town for the holiday and wanted us to follow up on a chronic disease that had been well controlled for over 2 years. He was good, she left for vacation, then he had a relapse and died while the petsitter was at work.
As I’m signing the card, in walks that One Pet that all vets have at their clinic, the one with every bizarre malady you can think of and a wonderful owner who lets you do everything you need to try and stay on top of them. I love the dog and I love the owner, but I always get nervous when they come in because it means something wonky is going on.
Charlie looks terrible, as does his owner. I spend an hour trying to figure out which of his problems is acting up this time- his diabetes, his pancreatitis, his epilepsy… I finally settle on an answer but have no success in helping him improve, so with a sense of hopeless frustration I bundle him off to the emergency hospital for an ultrasound. I hope I threw in the towel and got him off to the specialists in time.
So I sit, like one of those old men in the horror movies rocking on his stoop in the dusky twilight with a musket and a pipe, a lone sentinel against the impending storm. I stare off into the distance as I sit on my rocker, waiting for Kevin’s shadow to loom over the horizon. I aim my musket and spit into my bucket. I may not win, but I’m not going down without a fight. Bring it, Kevin.
So you’re totally making me not want to start my internship next year 🙁 I am way too passionate about animals, it sounds like my job will ruin Christmas for me.
But I do like how you are incorporating the Kevin thing…
Dr. V says
You’ll be fine. Just don’t work on Christmas. 🙂
Had 5 euthanasias in one 8 hour day the Monday after Thanksgiving last year.
Hoping not to repeat this year.
Dr. V says
The most I had in day practice was 3. But in emergency, I hit 10 one year. 🙁
Lisa W says
Dr V, you are my hero. I wish I had had you to help do battle with Kevin over my Bailey. Not that I don’t love my vets, and not that you would necessarily have done anything different. I think it’s that you’re not immune to it yet, if you know what I mean. I really wanted someone beside me with that musket!!!
Dr. V says
(((hugs))) *pokes Kevin with butt of musket from Bailey and Emmett*
Susan Montgomery says
It’s already starting in our area. I was at my vet’s yesterday because my wolfhound was attacked by another dog. while we were there in the packed waiting room, I saw sick puppies, a lovely cat who had been sitting in a corner for a day, not moving. A dog who had recently had a leg removed for cancer, back with other suspicious lumps, old wheezing dogs in for more meds, and one owner who left quickly clutching an empty leash and collar, face set and not looking at anyone. Tough times. Wish I could sit and load for you Dr V.
Dr. V says
Oh, the empty collar ones are the worst.
Sounds like I’m gonna need to toughen up my skin if I plan to survive in the veterinary field…
It’s the same for people ask anyone in the fire service or EMS.
Dr. V says
I’ve heard that!
Ok, so tonight I finally watched “Up” and the stupid movie made me cry 5 times!! Most heartbreaking part of the whole movie? “I was hiding under your porch because I love you” OMG I thought I would die! My husband had to cuddle me the whole effing movie. It was really cute though.
And the bird’s name being Kevin made me think of you, Dr V…
Dr. V says
I was shocked at that too. What is it with the name Kevin?? lol.
Annette Frey says
Oh my. In PT, there are types of injuries associated with different holiday an time of year (like summer when it’s super hot and everyone’s tempers rise – gun shot and spinal cord injuries, jumpers on New Years). It is sad knowing what’s to come and expecting it.
Kevin needs to be told it’s the holidays and he should be on vacation!
Btw, Lambchop and I were those patients (the ones with the most bizarre issues that were on board with whatever it took to make it right). One day I’ll give you the list of issues, you won’t even believe! His chart never needed to be filed because it was so thick you could find it no matter where you put it.
My Husbands name is Kevin, srsly I think I will ask him to change his name ..:-)