Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Joy and sadness.

On a busy weekend in my ER, I worked efficiently through trauma patients, removed a plastic toy from a lab's intestines, repaired lacerations, and treated this and that throughout the day.

Our lobby was a hotbed of emotions. It remained packed with waiting pet owners all day; each sharing in the joys and sadness of those around them.   One of the most memorable cases was a much loved 14 year old miniature poodle.  The parents, a husband and wife, and their children, both younger than the dog, huddled around their pet as I listened to the history, performed a physical exam, and discussed options.  Ultimately, the family decided that their beloved friend had been in failing health for too long, and euthanasia was the best answer for her.  The kids had never lived without their dog; they had no memories without her yet in their life.  This was clearly the first time they had experienced this type of grief, and it was truly heartbreaking.  I watched as the dad comforted his family, and we all shed a few tears together.  As they exited through the lobby, the entire crowd of waiting patrons was in tears.

Several hours later, after continuing with a busy shift, we were ready to discharge a patient who I had performed surgery on the day prior to remove a plastic toy he had eaten.  The dog practically ran up to his clients, tail in full wag, and licked them hello.  The clients had shared their story with those in the lobby who also shared the joy of a life saved and another pet going home to his loving family.

A roller coaster of emotions. Another day in the journey of an emergency veterinarian.