Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jinx or superstition

Veterinary medicine is a scientific world that is froth with superstition. There are so many things about which we are superstitious. Never say a day doesn't look busy because it will then explode into chaos. Never say things can't get worse; TRUST ME, they can!! Never call an owner before their pet is fully awake from anesthesia or the pet will die. Never name a pet "Lucky" because it surely won't be. You get the idea.

Today, I have a perfect example of one of our common superstitions at work. Anytime an owner comes in super worried about anesthesia, something is bound to go wrong. With the large number of surgeries that I do on a monthly basis (not just routine spays and neuters, either) we have very few anesthetic deaths. They are so rare that I can name all of them from the past year and they are so few that I can count them on one hand.

This morning, an 11 month old 5 pound Chihuahua came in for a spay. I had first seen the dog when she weighed a mere 10 ounces at 4 weeks of age when her owners found themselves with a bottle baby. At that time, she presented hypoglycemic and virtually lifeless. It's easy to see why she is so very special to them but when they were telling me how concerned they were this morning, I was not a happy camper.

Needless to say, I was super careful and guess what happened...yep, she arrested. One of those stupid unexplainable anesthetic reactions. Thankfully she responded to CPR and is fine. She is now spayed and whenever another anesthetic episode is required the protocol will be altered. Hopefully she'll like a different drug combination better!

I've always wondered if this is truly a jinx or if there is some intuitive sense that warns people of a potential problem. The problem with that theory is that I am typically very intuitive and the pets with whom I have had the most reservations about anesthesia had no problems at all. Go figure!

On a separate note, I must comment that I'm less than impressed with Starbucks coffee. I've never had anything other than hot cocoa from Starbucks before today. I am not a fan of flavored coffees and typically like dark roast. (Chocolate and coffee are approached the same. No contaminants, dark; I'm a purist of sorts.). If it is a good coffee, I drink it black; if just mediocre, I add sugar. No cream and definitely none of the flavored creams. To me, Starbucks coffee was no better than your average grocery store coffee. For the price they charge, it should have been superb. No wonder I never spend my money there. Why did I have Starbucks coffee? My boss bought coffee for everyone yesterday. Now my cynical pessimistic self is still wondering why. He has done several uncharacteristic things like that lately. Not that he's not a nice person, he's just not typically the type to show appreciation by providing "treats". Makes one question the ulterior motive...

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Nice to know there are more fans out there. No one amongst my friends are familiar. I'm constantly amazed by the things I hear wrong which is probably one of the reasons I do much better with written media. Incidentally, we were shown "Brainstem" in vet school during our neuroanatomy class as well. Thanks for the confirming info.

On personality types, I have to mess with you a little. Myers-Briggs says I'm an INTJ. It is a fairly accurate assessment overall and I've always found it entertaining that there are supposedly so few females of that type. Maybe it's why I think a little more like males in general. On the animal scale, I'm primarily a beaver which is equal to a melancholy which is equal to a "C". Secondarily, the "S" and "D" are nearly equal, phlegmatic and choleric, golden retriever and lion, which is odd because these two are polar opposites. Lowest is the "I", otter, sanguine. Clearly, all systems agree I'm reserved / introverted and task oriented rather than people oriented.

On the veterinary personality field I'm a surgery junkie with ophtho as a strong second and emergency / medicine coming in third. Unfortunately I have a gift for oncology. Derm and repro I'd prefer to pretend are nonexistent.

Can't Spell and I were discussing this last night and determined that in our world, we would need to do multiple personality assessments because our world requires multiple personas to show the public. I've developed my public persona so well that many of the employees think I'm an extrovert who enjoys people. Now that's truly frightening...


I'm questioning the possibility that I may be mistaken... It would seem that "dinky" appears in the opening of each Pinky and The Brain episode. Perhaps it is deliberate. With my ear problems, I cannot accurately differentiate if they are singing "d" as in "dinky" or "p" as in "pinky" for certain. Any other fans out there that knows the answer to this piece of trivia???

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pinky and The Brain

I'm still on my understanding personality kick. Some people say I can be obsessive at times but I wouldn't know about that...

It all began, or maybe I should say was triggered, innocently enough and for an upstanding, admirable reason. (Okay, so I was interested before as well; this particular obsession was triggered, though.) I ran across my old Myers-Briggs profile from when I was 16 and it struck me how accurate it was with a couple of explainable quirks thrown in for good measure - I can't be totally understandable, you know. Then, yes, a brilliant idea hit me. What if I could determine the personality profile of everyone with whom I worked? Not only would I understand them better but I could also communicate with them better and then...take over the world!

There are several attempts that have been made at characterizing personalities. Many are actually the same just using different words. For instance DISC is equivalent to choleric / sanguine / phlegmatic / melancholy is equivalent to the animal one using lion / otter / golden retriever / beaver. There is also the previously alluded to Myers-Briggs which is somewhat based on the same concepts but further characterizes based on how one receives and interprets information. There is also the birth order idea I talked about previously and other ideas floating around. Tonight, however, it suddenly hit me, sorta like a flying cow in a tornado...all of those ideas are over rated and too complicated. I propose a new, simpler, and better characterization...

The Pinky and The Brain test.

Suddenly, I made sense to myself because I realized why I've been so hard to figure out. Pinky and The Brain are polar opposites and I...I am both! So if one is a genius and the other's insane, what does that make me? An insane genius???

(Incidentally, if you watch the opening song carefully, you will notice there is a typo where it says "dinky" rather than "pinky" just before the bar of gold squishes them. At least there is in the second season. I'll have to watch the rest to see if it is there, too. There's also an interesting typo in the Walker, Texas Ranger series opening on some of the episodes as well. My grammar and spelling Nazi side can't help but notice...)

Now, on to some political commentary. After I take over the political system in the US, the following changes will take effect:

1. We will eliminate the electoral college so that every vote counts as an individual.

2. We will eliminate ad campaigns. No billboards, signs, radio, internet, television, etc. commercials. The money saved there will be put to good use rather than wasted on lying ads.

3. There will be debates but any mudslinging results in that candidate being evicted from the debate and not allowed to participate in future debates until they have fulfilled 100 hours of community service.

4. Each candidate will be required to release a record of past voting history if applicable and a statement (in print) of their platform.

5. Once elected, the official can be removed by public vote if they fail to display integrity in fulfilling their promises and maintaining their platform.

Or, we could just promise free ice cream and see who gets the most votes. I'd bet on the ice cream...

And in the veterinary world it feels as if summer has arrived months early even for the deep south. Fleas, ticks, and allergies are in full swing. Business has picked up even though it failed to ever really drop off much this time. I had an awesome surgery day Tuesday where I never even had to talk to anyone all day... Then I wanted to hurt everyone the following day because we weren't as busy but they somehow created chaos. I love being busy especially when things run in a smooth, organized, and efficient manner. Besides, I find that if I am kept busy and not allowed to become bored I create far less mischief and get into far less trouble. I despise it when chaos occurs at all but even more so when there is no reason for it. So tonight, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

People do the weirdest things!

This evening I had a client come in with a request that came near to my previous experience when the lady yanked up her shorts in the middle of a crowded lobby to ask about a skin lesion on her rear. Today, a male long time client came by wanting "to speak to the doc." I invited him back to one of the exam rooms after finishing the appointment that I was with, primarily because there were a lot of people in the lobby and I had no idea what he needed.

After carefully closing the door he said he had a strange request and proceeded to unbutton his shirt. Apparently a "friend" of his had removed a growth from his chest and given him some thumb forceps and a small disposable scalpel with which he could remove the sutures himself. He wanted someone to "supervise" and make sure he wouldn't hurt himself. I was afraid to ask if his friend was truly a doctor and why his friend didn't remove the sutures.

I advised him to go to a doctor or at least to get some suture scissors rather than a scalpel blade...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Birth Order Personality Traits

I find attempts to understand ourselves and how we relate to the world to be fascinating. Some of the ideas seem valid while others are clearly a crock. I'm not sure where the birth order idea falls...

In some ways, it makes a lot of sense that a firstborn will approach life far differently than a middle child, singleton, twin, or last born. The people who started researching the idea believe it is very important and that certain traits are universally to be expected. For instance, a firstborn should be more conscientious, more rigidly adherent to rules, and mature earlier taking on more responsibility. A baby should be more rebellious, creative, and less observant of rules. Okay, makes some sense when you consider it, right?

There are problems with the theory, though. First, research has failed to fully support the conclusions. Second, far too many fail to fit the mold. I'll use myself as an example since I know me well. I'm a last born. By the books, I should be rebellious and creative. Check. Got that right. Problem is I'm also super conscientious, hyper-responsible, and tend to take on leadership roles more appropriate for a firstborn. Hmmmmm... Oh wait, say the proponents, didn't we mention that age differences between siblings, gender, stressful episodes during childhood, early loss of a parent, and relationship to your parents also has an effect?

With all those influencing factors, you really want to tell me that birth order determines your personality? I think not. Why don't we just admit that personality, like so many things in life, is shaped multifactorially.

Or maybe I'm just a really messed up last born...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Certain things really make me angry...

I am a very even tempered person and it usually takes quite a lot to really make me mad. I got very angry this past week because of an appointment. The young couple who I have met once before showed up at the clinic in a reasonably nice vehicle that looks newer than the one I drive. They had their three very young children with them, all decked out in cutesy matching outfits and riding in very nice matching buggies, you know, the two seater ones that will lay down and have gadgets on them. They brought their new puppy to get its rabies shot because they had purchased the other vaccine at the local feed store and given it to save money. By the way, can he have a bath? Oh, and check his ears. He most likely has sarcoptic mange starting on those ears but we need to go the cheapest route possible because we are both out of work right now...

At this point, no doubt y'all think I'm being a first class witch. I do understand needing to conserve and losing a job. So why did I get so angry? These were the same people that brought the puppy in last fall and surrendered it expecting it to be euthanized. The puppy that had sarcoptic mange but they never bothered to bring it until it was almost dead. The puppy that I was possessed enough to rescue and transport halfway across the country to its new home where it is happy and well.

The lady even mentioned the previous pup saying she was with Jesus. Took every fiber of my being not to say what I was thinking. When an animal is surrendered like that, it is our policy that the previous owner is not allowed to know the outcome; they forfeit that right. They don't deserve to know and they sure don't deserve such a sweet little new pup. I just hope they follow through with treatment...

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I have a T-shirt, purchased for me by my mother, that says "Sarcasm, Just One of My Many Talents." She, as well as most everyone who know me well, seem to think it fits. I'm sure my mom is very proud of my many talents. I doubt, however, she would have predicted or chosen some of the best ones. Like my talent of mimicking the sound of a reverse sneeze. Given that this is probably one of the most common benign complaints for which I see panicked parents with their dog who "can't breathe," "is choking," "has asthma," "can't catch its breath," "is in heart failure," or any number of other death-inducing emergent presentations, it is a wonderfully helpful talent. I make the noise and the parents are amazed and delighted that I know what they mean and their baby is not dying. I can also mimic mother cats calling their kittens (it's how I used to catch and tame barn cats as a child), mimic many accents or patterns of speech (often unintentional), and some heart murmur sounds. Now if only I could sing well enough that I didn't have to restrict that activity to when I'm all alone...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What day is it?

I have a horrible memory. Everybody will tell you this. I forget to bring my lunch, I forget to bring my empty lunch pail inside the house, I forget it all. This has led to numerous attempts over the years to come up with memory aids to help me. Alas- I forget notes and forget to look at my phone.

One of the places this tendency towards forgetfulness really turns around and bites me on the rear end is remembering important dates. I'm going to digress a bit here (Dr. Maybe and I call them "rabbit trails")... I can remember random useless facts- The date of Pearl Harbor? Got it. The date I graduated vet school- got it. Even the years WWII and the American Civil War were going on- all up in the old noggen. However, one thing I can't remember worth a hill of dirt is birthdays.

I even have trouble remembering my *own* birthday on occasion, let alone family members and friends. Now pets' birthdays- those I remember. Priorities, after all... However the only date I can always remember is my mother's birthday, my dad's birthday is always one of two dates, and everybody else is just SOL. All my relatives and friends know- don't be offended if I don't send a present, card, phone call or random Facebook post- I don't remember *any body's* birthday..,.

This led to a rather humorous exchange with Maybe last night. I have recently had a birthday (I don't remember when but I did) and I knew that Maybe's birthday was shortly after mine. So I asked her on the phone last night-

Can't_Spell: So Maybe, your birthday is May 11th right?

May B. Insane: Nope

CS: Uh, March 11th?

May B: Nope

CS: Uh...

May B.: forget it already CS you do this every year...

CS: I do?

May B: Yep. You even guess the same dates every year.

CS: Do I get close every year?

Moral of this story- I need to get every body's birthdays put on a list and tattooed in my dog's ears- I look in there all the time...