This is why some choose to become veterinary doctors.
Today I write about the last animal that Dr. Jim attended to from my morning at Lincoln Road on June 22nd. I have been blown away by the interest in this theme from so many of you. Thank you!
Indeed, today I am back at the clinic spending both the morning and some of the afternoon watching and recording.
My plan from now on, subject to Dr. Codd supporting the idea, is to spend time at the clinic roughly one day a month. For in just the five or six hours of a day’s visit there is such a variety of events that it will provide more than enough material for me to present Visiting the Vet posts regularly each week during the following month.
OK! Now to the last patient that morning.
A woman carries in a stray kitten that had been found on the premises of a local scrap metal dealer.
The woman, Lynn, didn’t hesitate to bring the kitten to Lincoln Road because it had an infected right eye.
Jim takes some blood, in itself a bit of a challenge with such a young kitten, and looks more closely at the male kitten. He observes that the eye is most terribly infected with puss pouring out and Jim is of no doubt that the kitten had this eye infection since birth just a few weeks ago.
I come closer to take a photograph (the one above) and am in awe of the delicate way that Jim uses a tiny swab, Lynn holding the kitten for Jim, to clear the puss away from the eye. Moments later Jim has not only cleaned out all the puss but found and removed the cause of the infection that was behind the kitten’s eyeball.
12:40 The kitten sees with both eyes. What a transformation in just twenty minutes.
Jim looks up at Lynn: “Lynn, you do know you have saved his life!”
Lynn replies: “I didn’t really want another cat!”
Jim then gets some food for the kitten and gives it time to settle down.
Lynn and I chat and I am flattered to learn that Lynn has previously purchased a copy of my book. It can be such a small world at times!
12:30 All done. Lynn wraps the kitten back into the same towel that was used to bring it in to the clinic such a short time ago.
Thus ended my first experience of being behind the scenes of a busy vet practice.
The experience has profoundly affected me.
For as well as the astounding level of medical skill that I have observed it was also clear, as Jim put it, that he has to play counselor, psychotherapist, and even bartender. Why bartender? Because Jim quietly offers the observation that quite a few persons come in with their pets when they are the worse for drink! The owner that is not the animal!
Seriously though, let me offer what I concluded after just this one visit to Lincoln Road. That Jim and, I’m sure, Dr. Russ and many thousands of DVMs across the world, have many more demands on them than just being a good doctor.
They must display attention to detail and have an inquiring mind. They must be genuinely empathetic for the animal owner’s circumstances. But also good record keepers! Also they will have to endure a great deal of kneeling. Then, again, those knees have to be topped with a head that is jam-packed full of knowledge and experience to avoid jumping to incorrect conclusions. More subjectively, their emotions have to be kept under control for they frequently will see animals that have not been best cared for and, again all too frequently, they will have to end the life of a dear pet as gently and painlessly as is possible.
To be continued!