Long before Covid-19 arrived, vets and vet nurses were quiet, hard workers who didn’t complain about less than ideal working conditions. And, …Veterinary Work In The Time Of Covid-19: Unspoken Truths
The day I thought I discovered a homemade bomb at the local ice cream shop.
It was such a nice day out so I decided to stop and get ice cream for my children and we hung out near some wooden animal structures while we ate. My son, who was 6 years old, discovered this toy-like looking thing inside of one of the wooden gorillas. He was going on about it and I was doing my usual ‘oh wow honey, that is so cool!!’ and then I saw it and smacked it out of his hand. It was an old school film tube that had camo tape wrapped around it with copper wires also threading through it – like WTF. Is this a bomb? I was shaking I was so nervous, I threw it back inside the gorilla and grabbed my kids and ran back to my vehicle as if I’d just thrown a grenade and was running for cover. Nothing happened. We got into my car and left. We arrived to my boss’s house where I was babysitting some pups and I put the kids outside and cracked a beer and rehashed the events once more. Then I’m like, there was probably a drone that saw me throw that bomb back into the wooden gorilla but they didn’t see my son pull it out of it in the first place and now I’ve targeted myself and my boss’s house as part of the problem?! I decided I’d better call the police and explain what happened before drone-magic unfairly targets me and plus, of course, I want all the people at the ice cream place to be safe (only after I’ve driven completely away from the scene) it’s just getting worse but the second, and then, just before I hung up with the officer, he wanted to know my address and phone number… UGH!!! So I’m sitting there sipping this beer and I’m starting to wonder if the swat team is gonna show up and officers will raid the place. The next thing I panic about is if I’m having to explain this whole matter again, I’m gonna get an officer saying, ‘ma’am, have you been drinking’ so I immediately put the beer down and wait for the military to arrive… instead the phone rings and the officer says he’s pretty sure it was a geo cache item and inside the bomb was a free ice cream cone ticket. Whew… that was such a close one!!!
Chihuahuas are not like a box of chocolates. You almost always know what you are going to get. These little dogs that fit into purses and pockets so well, have a tendency to turn into whirling balls of razors upon entering a healthcare facility, without fail. Occasionally, there will be a nice one, a rare incident, but it does happen. Once in a while, you do bite into a chocolate that is filled with caramel and not the horrible gelatinous fruit filled kind.
Maria has two chihuahuas that are coming in on one sunny and hot afternoon. We weren’t sure what we were going to get, but, then again, we did know. They did not disappoint. First of all, they were wheeled in via a double stroller. We all oohed and aahed over how adorable their ridiculous chariot was. As if that weren’t enough, they also had sunglasses on. Sunglasses. Dog sunglasses look like swimming goggles with tinted lenses. It was borderline horrifying. So, there they sat, in their stroller with these sunglasses strapped to their faces, all zipped in behind a screen that kept them safely within the confines of their carriage. Again, the staff swooned at the adorableness of everything that was going on in this buggy. Honestly, none of that stuff is cute, we all agreed on that immediately, but that’s neither here nor there.
It came time to unzip these pups and start the veterinary process. Two fingers gently grasped the zipper and, sure enough, Fluffcake and Punkin began viciously biting and snapping at them from the other side of the screen. Maria interjected with, “You just need to point and say no firmly, they’ll stop”. Yeah, they’re not going to stop. They didn’t stop. We had to break out the leather lined gloves and blankets just to retrieve them from their nest. Their sunglasses flew off in the fray, beads were dropping all over the floor, where were the beads coming from?! Maria actively struggled to put their goggles back on while exclaiming, “the fluorescent lights, the babies can’t take it!” all while we are just trying to not get bitten. They also had dresses on that Maria had undoubtedly bedazzled herself, this is where the mystery beads came from, and this made it extremely difficult to hold them with the blankets. Once Maria was able to secure their goggles back on and they were extracted from their stroller, things became much calmer and the visit commenced at a much calmer pace.
We all breathed a sigh of relief as their visit drew to a close and the hands on part was done.
“Do you have any more questions or concerns, Maria?”
“Well, actually, could you check their back molars again? One of them might have a loose tooth but I can’t remember which one.”
What Dr.’s appointments are like for me: the other day I went to a new doc office for the first time & I ate a salad on the way to my appointment that was 85% pure red onions and then decided, while waiting in the patient room, after demanding to know if my nurse could smell onions, (she said no but I know she lied), that I’d wash my hands to try and cut the onion smell by just a teeny slice. I then proceeded to get water on the Dr’s special rolling chair and thought OMG I can’t have that!! They are probably already wondering why in the hell the water is running in this room.. So, I decided to grab paper towels from a wall dispenser thing and the entire box came out of the wall, this was not quiet, it made so much racket! I don’t even know how the box Houdini’d out of the wall mount holder cause one thing was for certain, it wasn’t going back in. I was able to pick the fake lock thing that holds the box of paper towels and replace the box with minimal damage but this was not a quiet endeavor. They’ve got all kinds of low lighting and nice stuff going onnnnn, so tranquil…. and then there’s me… basically making train sounds emanate from my room. I start wiping off the seat that I splashed water on and then I can’t find a trash can except for a hole in the counter with a sign that says ‘linen only’ and I legit have to think for a second – paper is not linen, or is it?? BECAUSE WHY IS THERE NOT A TRASH CAN!?!??! Right?! so I shove the paper towels in my coat pocket that’s wadded up on a different chair. And then I see a drop of water I missed during my first go-around so I get busy on that & of course In the middle of doing the final dry, in comes the doc I’ve not yet met. He glances at my wad of paper towels sticking out of my coat & then at me, gently wiping his roller chair down for him while reeking of onions. I stick my hand out immediately to shake his hand, whew… that went SO WELL!!!!
Because everyone likes to talk about themselves on some level, I’d like to formally introduce myself!
You may have already gathered this but my name is Daisy and I worked in the exciting field of veterinary medicine for a combined total of roughly 15 years. The last 11 were spent mostly in management for a small, 1.5 doctor, veterinary clinic in an amazing community who enjoyed wonderful clientele and patients.
Behind the scenes: I am a mom of 4 human children, 1 German Shepherd Dog named Ruby, and 2 cats named Tink & Paulie. Oh, I also have a husband who has been an amazing source of support throughout my career and life. I enjoy living in the countryside with my merry band of hooligans and, recently, I have made a career transition that takes me out of the veterinary profession. Why, you ask? There are a lot of reasons for this but primarily it was simply a strategic career move that needed to happen for me and for my family. Dinner was going on the table at 9pm far too frequently and, let’s face it, kid math is hard work, especially after a 10 hour shift that-was-supposed-to-be-an 8 hour shift, sort of day.
That being said, I am having a hard time letting go of the veterinary profession so I have turned to this blog & care site with the goal of offering support, fun, and some sarcastic humor to management roles within the veterinary community. From someone who has been through a lot of career highs and lows; I understand so much. Not everything of course, but, so so much.
I enjoy writing a ton, so this rolls up a few passions of mine into one, I hope you enjoy some of my story writing as much as I do…
Even though I no longer work in a veterinary capacity, the knowledge, feelings, and the skill set don’t simply go away.
I started at my former hospital when I was 18 years old, I started by scooping the yard and walking dogs as so many of us do. I hired in under what some might call an ‘old school’ veterinarian. He rarely ever spoke to me directly, he would address our only technician (sometimes right next to me) and then she, in turn, would instruct me on the matter at hand. Crazy, right? After a couple of years of this, a new veterinarian purchased the clinic. This one was amazing. She liked me, she talked to me, and did everything she could to help me succeed. I finally had a boss that allowed me to realize my potential and build my self-confidence. This was especially significant to me because I have a profound hearing loss. I never doubted my abilities with my hearing loss, but it sure freaking helps when you’re beyond successful and have a great support system. With my passion for people and my ideas that generated revenue, I eventually found myself in a management position. There wasn’t a management role to be filled, it just sorta happened.
At the very most, I only ever managed 12 people at a time. There are some of you that run practices that employ 50+ people. The memes of an extremely elderly woman with the caption of: “Who says vet med is stressful? I’m 29 and I feel great!”, come to mind. Hell, I felt like that with 12 a lot of the time!
As the practice grew, I went from simply doling out my PO’s wishes to advocating for my team. This was the pinnacle of my career when I realized that this was the most important thing. Without a team, we have nothing. That’s when my job got tougher and my work-life balance got a little trickier. Work-life balance will be revisited at a later time… Sure, I could continue to order people around in my softer way of doing things, but the people matter so much when they wish to be heard. Everybody has their own things going on but the job at hand must be done. Balancing the two for the team, myself, and the PO, all while staying committed to each layer, became my new goal. Was I super successful at it? Hard to say… I was never fired, so that’s a plus! I like to think I made a positive impact on each of my team members but personal feedback is hard to come by in this profession in this role, short of directly asking or emailing surveys.
Well, there ya have it. My timeline of my career in veterinary medicine.
Box subscriptions are my jam. Who doesn’t love to receive gifts with meaningful items inside?!
Part of my goal for this page is to assemble thoughtfully crafted packages for management. A one-time delivery is the best way to start this off, monthly may become a real thing later on down the line! Need a gift for your technician or rockstar CSR? Did National LVT week creep up on you (it’s in October, by the way, the AVMA has yet to determine the date)? Need a personal boost in this tough profession so many of us call home? A reminder that you’re worth it, you matter, and there is no limit to what you can accomplish might help.
Perhaps you’re friendly with another veterinary manager in another state. Thanks to social media, so many of us, myself included, have found management from states away to confide in. Surprise that person!
Well that’s great… But what’s in the box?
Through a simple series of questions, I’ll do my best to match up the loot to your liking. I am from Michigan, so there may be Michigan paraphernalia peppered throughout these boxes.
Fair warning: Sarcasm and off color humor are also my jam (hot button politics, are not).