Friday, March 9, 2012

Why you love your job

You often consider a different profession or moving to Montana and build a recording studio better than the one you have now but you stop and reconsider because the people you meet in LA are so unbelievably interesting you cannot fathom another profession. You drop off meds to your good friend and client famous horror novelist for his shepherd dying of liver cancer. Somehow the dog hangs on. You wonder if you should pursue oncological advice, but the owner is against putting the dog through “misery".

All of this happened after having left the insane mountaintop home designed by a famous architect whose owner has a white cat enjoying the sun too many years. Yes poor Don Giovanni (not his real name) a 14 year old skinny white cat had developed skin cancer on his ears and a large tumor on his head. You realize these are totally removable and the cat will have ears of a pitbull but will live many more good years on top O' Mulholland Drive for many years to come.

You have a rough hockey game where the new team with all it's potential falls flat in the first game going behind 5-0 in the FIRST PERIOD yet you rally back and at least lose 8-3 respectable? You have now been named captain by lack of anyone else stepping up so you have coaching ability and agree to take the reins cause it's fun. You drive back from the rink at midnight in your branded vehicle when an emergency strikes since you are on call 24/7.

A Sunday call comes and you are dispatched by the Service to help a down dog in the Valley. You note that the dog is owned by physicians and you instantly recall these individuals have a propensity for letting their pets suffer longer than the average pet owner. You surmise that this attitude/propensity is due to the fact that MD's are very familiar with HUMANS lingering as long as possible and suffering is relative, meaning the relatives suffer more than the patient.

You are pleasantly surprised by the lack of extreme suffering of this lab, Bill (not his real name), who is simply lying in the garage on a blanket alert and anxious, unable to stand. You explain to Bill in your head that you are here as the Angel of Mercy to help him out of this world. You explain to the physician owner that Bill's spirit is vibrant but his body has given out. Free to use human medical analogies, you refer to the equivalent of human suffering: the patient is bed-ridden. Pressure sores are barely manageable. The patient has a bed pan or is helped out of bed to eliminate. Will you do this for your dog?, you inquire. No, this is not a life for a dog. Not for ourselves. We are fortunate as vets to alleviate the misery with humane euthanasia. You recall 3 discussions with clients all in the same day and the consensus is that humans are forced to suffer to the end while our pets are legally allowed to pass before the inevitable horrible, painful ending.

You help lower Bill into his grave at the ranch home of the client who has buried many pets on the property in the past before. You gloss over the city ordinance barring this practice and the ritual continues. You actually get into the grave to lower Bill yourself within...

Meanwhile Don Giovanni is recovering.

You return to writing this blog a couple of weeks later. You had already forgotten about “Bill” but are happy to read what had happened. Is your memory going? Or are you suppressing these memories in order to remain sane and professional.

Yes, back to “Don Giovanni” her real name is a different opera. And she is doing very well. It’s just the sutures are digging in and you need to remove them even though the are absorbable, oh, and the fact you want to drive up the impossible driveway carved in stone to the plateau overlooking Greater LA the Hollywood Sign and the Ocean(?) just one more time despite needing a new transmission on the 106,000 mile-driven Highlander.

You realize that this blog is already too long and no one is reading it anyway unless they let you know by a comment a sign or something posted on Facebook. You need some sleep but can’t stop thinking about the critters in your care. The wolf-like dog with pyometra that kept you up til 4AM has shifted your sleep schedule and reminds you of Senior year overnights and the zombie-like day to follow.

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