Veterinary medicine is not for the faint of heart, the weak, or the soft. There are going to be stressful times (daily), sad times (daily), and some down right heart breaking times (daily). I lose it...a lot, in veterinary medicine. Here are just some of the ways I lose it:
1. When a grown man cries
I usually can keep my emotions fairly in check during euthanasias. I was once told to not be more emotional than the owners, and I can usually stick to that.
However, every time a grown man (especially the kind with tattoos, a biker jacket, and bulgy muscles) breaks down in extreme agony over his beloved pet, I lose it. I lose it so hard that I usually need to excuse myself. Seeing grown men cry should not be such a rarity, but I have seen it multiple times in my career and it gets me every single time.
2. When strangers save animals
There are times when a complete stranger will take on the responsibility of rescuing an injured animal and I lose it. Not initially, but once the pet is fixed up and sent into the loving arms of their new best friend, it will hit me. There are good people in the world willing to open up their pocket books to save an animal they have just met. Then, when the pet comes back several months later and is thriving, I lose it again.
3. When my boss compliments me
Day after day you start to feel like a slave to they system, or to the proverbial "man." Then there are days when you receive that unexpected compliment like "nice job with that dental" or "thank you for staying late last night." It doesn't take much to compliment me, but I lose it sometimes over the little stuff.
4. When a patient doesn't make it, unexpectedly
It will happen, and will happen several times. There will be a patient that unexpectedly dies under anesthesia, or when you were sure they were going to pull through an illness or surgery. Even when we follow all the rules we were taught about pre-op blood work, pre-anesthetic assessment, etc., a patient will die, and I will lose it. I will lose it for the pet and for the family.
5. When someone steals my pen
Do I need to elaborate here? Just give it back so I don't lose it!
6. When I see abuse
There are the times when it is obvious, and other times you can only speculate. Either way, I lose it. My heart breaks into a million little pieces. No animal deserves to be abused.
7. Newly adopted senior pets
Every pet should be able to live their senior days in a loving, and comfortable home. When a client is willing to make the brave sacrifice of adopting a senior pet into their life, I just lose it. Their heart is bigger than I could imagine, and I am truly in awe of their selflessness.
There are so many times when I lose it in veterinary medicine. Sometimes it is out of anger and frustration, while other times my heart swells with joy. Our field is one of great emotion.
When do YOU lose it in veterinary medicine?