Saturday, January 17, 2009

What a Day...

When you have a blog it seems that ideas come to you of things to write about throughout the day. Then you get home, sit down at the computer, and its hard to put all those thoughts into coherent sentences. Eh... it's a blog so does it really matter? Maybe not so with that in mind hers my ramblings for today.

My weekends are always bizarre in a good way and also in a bad way. See I work seven days a week and sometimes two jobs a day. Yea, insane I truly realize that. However, I have two great jobs that don't pay as much as I need and then one job that is lame but doesn't fully suck and of course it pays enough to cover my bills, yea the one that doesn't involve animals.

Anyway, on the weekends I head to the zoo yep a real zoo. Its crazy that I have landed the "job" I have there. I still think back to the day I walked into Dr. L's office and told her I wanted to change my career. Dr. L's the small animal vet I work for, job number 2 vet assistant. I pretty much idolize Dr. L not in a creepy way in a way that's good. She gave me a chance and exposed me to world I LOVE! I can't thank her enough. I look up to her because she's human and has a ton of heart. She has great days, bad days, patients that break her heart, and clients that piss her off. She goes through all of it and I get to experience the highs and lows so for that I am forever grateful.

Because she took a chance on me I took a chance on myself and went back to school. I slowly wiggled my way into the Biology Department and some how ended up doing research work under the Department Chair. Weird how doors open sometimes. Through the research project I ended up at the zoo.

I was given the title of "volunteer" and assigned to some Zoo Keepers who work with the giraffes, elephants, and a couple of hippos. Yea, it was grunt work and LOTS of it! The novelty of the experience wore off really quickly as I scoped really big poop and used muscles I am sure have atrophy! Still it was a chance and I tried hard to embrace it and get my research work done. To push me along 007 would meet me for lunch and listen to me whine and then send me back for the afternoon.

I made it through and the research work was undergrad stuff so very basic just observations of the giraffes based on a medication change. I got to do T-tests and well my "observations" matched what the Vet predicted and the test results done at an independent lab confirmed. Really it wasn't as cool as it sounds. I have friends doing real research work and this was lame compared to the real stuff they do.

Still my report gave me an opening to talk with the Zoo Vet and she reviewed everything so that was a huge help. Then my semester ended and I left the zoo with my project completed. I was thrilled to be done with scooping big elephant poop! Well Dr. Z, that's not her name but we'll go with that for lack of something more cleaver to call her. Anyway, Dr. Z e-mailed looking for a volunteer to work in the Vet Department, help on rounds, assist with procedures, do grunt work, and anything else asked. I of course nearly fainted when I got the e-mail I was so excited! Of course I said yes and the adventure began. Now it's been about two years of volunteering and one day her Vet Tech decides to move on for various reasons. This leaves Dr. Z with no tech and who does she offer the job too?


Yea, me with no RVT behind my name and trust me when I say this the Tech who had the job prior was amazing and I have zip in skill set compared to her. So besides feeling rather inadequate I am also beyond excited to jump at this next amazing experience. Its also rather cool to finally get paid. So I accept and my working seven days a week begins in earnest. I've been at it now for around 3 months or so, I think. The days are starting to blur together. Granted this is just a weekend gig but its pretty cool for a part-time gig.

So on the weekends I head to the zoo and I do rounds by myself, I check on whatever case we have going on, e-mail an assessment, talk with the Keepers to see if anything new has come up, and do whatever "list" has been left for me from Dr. Z. Its a small zoo and she's about 20minutes out if I need her. Another vet is down the street if I really needed someone within a few minutes (counting phone call and drive time). I could also call Dr. L if I was totally freaked out. She'd probable tell me to call Dr. Z but would still show up. Like I said she's that cool. So I'm not REALLY on my own but I kinda am and some days like today it makes me giddy!

Nothing special happened but when its nice out and the staff is in a great mood the animals just seem perkier. Then you get the feeling that "this job rocks"! Then you head back to the vet hospital to clean up whoever is sick that week and its not so damn glamours after that. Still I can't tell you how much I love it. I get to be within inches of exotic animals. Heck I even get to touch them!

Basically I love my weekend job once I get there. It's the getting out of bed and giving up my time with 007 that's hard. I make it home with a little daylight to spare so we make sure to take the dogs for a walk and spend some quality time together but its getting hard. Then you add to that equation that the zoo is small so we have much older animals and my guess is we don't get the top picks when it comes to genetics. This means most of the cases that I work on are terminal and we're just buying time. That part is tough as it seems weird to get attached to a wild animal. You do and its even a billion times harder for the Keepers. Still you fight against death/disease and sometimes you get lucky.

The real challenge with all of this is I feel as if the cart is in front of the horse. This is an experience I would kill for as a 4th year vet student or as a resident. I feel so inadequate when I evaluate a patient and I worry each time what I've missed. Its very frustrating as that feeling isn't part of the equation or my job, but I feel it just the same.

I am craving the next step in the process which should be classes but I'm stuck just "playing". It just doesn't sit well with me. Keep in mind my job is to observe and report back. I'm the nurse so to speak so all of these "issues" I have are of course self inflicted. Story of my life.

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