Friday, May 22, 2009

Rantings of an insane veterinarian...

I'll apologize in advance for this post. It's going to be long. It's going to be involved. It's going to cover veterinary and non-veterinary topics. It's going to have lots of tangents. And most of all, it's going to be one BIG RANT!!!!!

I'm so frustrated right now. Frustrated to the point that I have seriously considered giving up veterinary medicine. It's a combination factor. You know how in life a bunch of things build up then the tiny straw is what pushes you over the edge?? Well, that's where I am right now; teetering on that edge...

First my landlady. She's bipolar, no kidding. One moment she is very nice to me then she does crazy things and makes me so angry I'm boiling inside. Her latest escapade? She went into my apartment again without permission while I was at work at night. Upset the dogs terribly and if anything makes my blood boil it will be when someone upsets any of my fuzzy four-legged children (or my mom, or my really good friends)! She then sends me an e-mail to inform me that I need to neaten up the place as she'll need to be showing it soon as she looks for a new renter. I cannot possibly express how much I am looking forward to shaking the dust of that place off my boots!!!!! (38 days!) I don't feel comfortable leaving my dogs at home anymore (where they are happier) but I can't really bring them to work every day either. What am I supposed to do???

Next it is the talking heads at work. The specialists are the first to receive criticism. There is one particular doctor who cannot be satisfied unless she is being critical. I do not care what you choose to do with a case, it will not be right for her. I've actually experimented (not to the point of putting my patient in danger you understand) by doing opposite things on different cases with the same presentation just to prove my point that it doesn't matter what you do, you'll never make her happy. This morning I threw the file at her. I think she may have realized I was a teensy bit annoyed. Afterwards she had to butt in on another matter then come by and ask if I "was okay? Was it a bad night?" Uuuggghhh!!!!! If you really cared, you wouldn't treat people like crap all the time then out of the blue when you feel inclined (i.e. there's something in it for you) be all nice. I hate that! I can deal with the short-tempered explosive personality better since it's not a manipulative anger. I tell myself that they are the ones that are unhappy which is why they act like such A-holes.

In continuation of the above theme is the really frustrating thing about this particular internship. I feel that I have learned and benefited from the internal medicine, oncology, neurology, and dermatology services but surgery has been a waste of my time. And I LOVE SURGERY!!! That's what I want to do but I've not grown at all from my surgery experience here. I learned more from my friend (who is a surgeon) that I'm always bugging with questions that these idiots are incapable of answering. They are all so busy patting themselves on the back about how smart they are and how stupid the interns are to even realize how little they know. That's why I characterize them as the talking heads and rounds (when we are supposed to discuss cases, learn, and be taught) are fondly referred to as mental masturbation.

Additionally, some of the staff make me want to poke hot needles in my eyeballs. Some of the people I work with I will miss when I leave. Maybe one day they'll face facts and be smart enough to leave this hell-hole. Many of the people, however, are the laziest group of people I've ever worked with and they love to toss blame and criticize. What is so hard about just doing your job??? Why can't anyone be adult enough to claim responsibility for what they do???

Then comes the recent patients. I took in a STAT emergency tonight that was a 7 month old cat just adopted today. His new owners took him home and their Shih Tzu unexpectedly attacked the cat, grabbing his chest and shaking him violently. They rushed him to their regular veterinarian who took an x-ray but didn't place an IV catheter or try to stabilize him. When he reached me he was in cardiac and respiratory arrest. We got IV access then resuscitated him once. I've never seen an animal alive with a blood pH of 6.7 before... Didn't last long even with aggressive attempts to stabilize. We could not resuscitate him the second time around. He obviously had severe internal injuries and it was just a crappy way to start the night.

Much like the case I saw two nights ago where the patient was a 12 year old Boston terrier that was in severe congestive heart failure of both the left and right side. There was not a normal body system on that poor dog. Had to give the owner the lovely "please be prepared for a bad phone call in the middle of the night" routine. Managed to keep her alive until the next day so she could have diagnostics then she died. I'm being critical of the doctor taking care of her by saying that I think he was not aggressive enough with his therapy. Don't get me wrong, I know she didn't have much time but I felt that I had stabilized her to some degree and, speaking as someone who has been there all too often, just a few more days is worth a lot if you are not creating unbearable suffering.

Another recent case was the lady that could not bring herself to euthanize her cat because she couldn't live with it but instead I now have to live with the image of the cat slowly suffering and dying while knowing that I could have eased him away. I resuscitated that cat twice before it could not be brought back because she also would not make it a DNR even though there was nothing humanly possible to do for him. Then I get the angry phone call from her friend who demands to know "if you can put a man on the moon how is it that you could not resuscitate her cat?" I know it stemmed from the pain and frustration they were feeling but I don't hold the power to restore life in my hands. If I did, I would heal everything and our furry (or not so much) companions would live as long as we do....

I was informed last night that I had finally lost it when I suggested that I would get a cape and be "Super Intern!" This thought stemmed from the conversation that the techs were having stating that in Vermont there is apparently a new position being created due to the shortage of large animal veterinarians. They were calling it "Super Tech" meaning the job is a technician who is trained to do some of the things a veterinarian would usually do without having to go to vet school. I do not know details but if I get to wear a cape I could go for it. Really.

So, I made a deal that I will do three extra emergency shifts in order to be allowed to leave one week early. Believe me it's well worth it!! Thirty-eight days and counting; I CAN'T WAIT!!!!! Yes, I know that happiness is not found in a place but this place has been truly frustrating. I hope that one day I find somewhere that I can practice medicine in a way that is satisfying and fulfilling without being asked to compromise my integrity and beliefs. If it doesn't happen soon, though, I may go back to school and teach English literature. Ah, Shakespeare. Brings to mind the "pound of flesh" extracted by this place. I truly hope that my next internship is more rewarding. There is potential since it is at a university and most academic internships are better than private practice in all respects. Then I get to make one more try at a residency. Don't think I'll try again if I don't match this time but who knows what idiocy the pea brain inside my head will come up with next.

With that I will sign off since I'm sure that is plenty rant for now. Maybe next time I'll have something funny to say instead of griping.


HugeMD said...

Wish I could make it better. I think internship is just something to be survived. I don't even think you have to come out of it sane. You can recover your sanity when it's done, though Prozac can help in the meantime. :) Why is it that in medicine (human and apparently animal, too) docs have to constantly belittle each other? I think it's a great sign that you see the insanity in all this and that, in the end, you'll come out of it and find a place to practice where you'll be happy.

Now the crazy patients (or in your case owners) will never go away. Just consider them good material for a blog.

As for what to do with the dogs--any doggy daycare around? We were able to jostle our schedules to really limit how long the pup was home alone, but she was still a total spaz. Once we found doggy daycare and she could spend hours running around with dogs--she was a joy to be around when she was home (I know there are risks to it like potential for illness and injury, but it's a risk/benefit thing, too).

Good luck and just keep counting down the days. You can do almost anything for 38 days!!

Beloved Parrot said...

I hear ya, sister!

Evil Transport Lady said...

Rant away! It feels good to let it all out! Hope all gets better!

Mara said...

You are a brave soul to try another internship. What specialty are you hoping to go into? I am still madly looking for a job (sometimes wishing I'd gone for a second internship) and blogging about it at now. Good luck with academia!

AMAMMAL said...

she should know DVMs didn't put anybody on the moon. just say, "sorry lady, this ain't rocket science. next time take your dying cat to an engineer."

Anonymous said...

Someone is going to read this and all they are going to take away from it is that we "put their animals in danger to prove a point". Way to go.