Thursday, May 26, 2011

it's the little things.

I came to work today with dread.  I've been off for a week, enjoying my life and feeling like a normal person... (awake during the day? Sleep at night! Preposterous!).  needless to say, working all night was not on my wish list for the day.  Unfortunately, we don't always get what we want.

Several hours in to the shift, we received a call from a small "rescue" organization that one of their recently acquired stray cats was currently in labor, and they believed that she was having difficulty. 

Immediately, I expected the worst.  It's a sad truth that being an ER doctor can turn even the most optimistic person into a hard-edged skeptic.  In my mind, if this cat was truly having difficulty with labor, a c-section was a possibility - and knowing the history of this "rescue," we'd be lucky if they had funds for the exam fee.  I imagined all the hateful comments when I denied the cat a free c-section, and all the disappointment in my heart and in my staff's eyes when I was forced to euthanize the imaginary cat.

15 minutes spent waiting for the arrival of these clients felt like a lifetime. 

The clients arrived.  My technician took a history, and to our surprise, things weren't as they had seemed.  So far, our queen, "Misty" had delivered three kittens in under 3 hours, and the last was 10 minutes prior to arrival.   Two were already nursing.

I performed my physical exam, followed by a sterile vaginal exam.  A kitten was at the tip of the birth canal, and I could feel it suckling on my finger, indicating that it is (obviously) alive.

All seemed normal - Misty was not having any difficulty with labor, in fact, she was purring, sweet, and caring for her new babies.  I educated her owners a bit on feline parturition.  While I was speaking with them, Misty delivered another normal kitten.

I spent a little extra time petting Misty before she discharged.  Misty purring vigorously and her brand new, minutes old kitten crawled around, experiencing the world for the first time. I remembered that sometimes my job is great.  Sometimes, things just work out.  The feeling of dread prior to my shift -- is gone.

This case reminded me that it's the little things that we have to enjoy to make life meaningful.  I can't make every client happy, I can't fix every pet's disease, and I certainly can't know everything -- but I can definitely be happy when things go well.

1 comment:

  1. Oh yay!! I imagine that a good story is harder to hold onto than a bad one! You should celebrate these victories, for sure! -Tammy