This week began with much of the same business that last week ended with - hysterical clients with miraculous upturns along with some heartbreaking losses. Living the life of a country doctor can be a roller coaster sometimes...and as my boss likes to remind us, also seems to require a psychology degree more often than not (and maybe the ability to prescribe Valium to people).
Working with Dr. Nash Williams (known to virtually everyone as just plain Nash) these past nine months has been as much of an education as all 4 years of my veterinary schooling was - I've learned to do more than I ever thought I would, and how to recognize diseases that I never thought I'd see (hello, distemper, anyone?). He's also shown me how to begin enjoying my job, the people I work with and see on a daily basis and how not take things all too seriously. For instance, I was looking at an x-ray of a puppy that had been shot the other day when Nash walked up behind me and said, "Pretty little bullet. .22, I think." and then just kept on walking. Only a country vet who'd been practicing for more than 35 years could manage that kind of nonchalance and then immediately go console a wailing client with a dog that had a non-resectable tumor of the liver. I think it's going to take me many years to gain that kind of confidence in myself and my skills as a doctor.
One thing Nash has that I am so ready for, however, is the ability to command respect the moment he walks into an exam room or steps out of the vet truck. I mean, I've begun having "Dr. Tompkins" embroidered on my scrub tops just so people can understand that I'm not some 18 year old high school intern running around the vet's office. But still, there are some that recognize me in the grocery store or on the street, or better yet, exclaim to their dog/cat/cow (ok, probably not cow) - "Look, Fluffy! Here comes your favorite vet!" and I don't think I'll ever get tired of that.
At any rate, I don't think I'll get philosophical about my job like this again until I've worked another 20 days straight. I am literally counting down the hours until my weekend off. I think I'll blow off a little steam by attending this event: