It's Probably the Sudafed, Honey!

I've been sick for the past week. I really feel sorry for Mr. and Mrs. Blackstone, who have rescheduled dental recheck appointments with me twice already since I was out of the office. Dr. Runte has been out the past few days too with a sinus infection, so we agreed to blame it all on Dr. Filip, since he was sick the week before and also because we just like blaming stuff on him.

So, while I was out, I wore a Breathe Right strip across the bridge of my nose 24/7. I'd have to say that I'm impressed by the design of this thing. Over Christmas I saw a few Breathe Right commercials, which feature the inventor of Breathe Right Strips. I was expecting a professional-looking middle-aged medical researcher in a lab with a white coat on. This guy looked like Jeff Foxworthy bouncing on the bed in a run-down motel room.

Okay, so this is how Typhoid Filip started. I bought myself an Ab-Lounge for the hell of it. My cat thought it was his new bed, and he spent more time on it than I did. I decided that I was going to try it out for the first time a few days ago. Right before I got on, I chewed up a half-dozen Sweet Tart hearts, which made the back of my throat sore. After 15 minutes of lounging myself to death during the commercial breaks of The Oprah Winfrey Show, I rose from the contraption, grasped my throat, and felt like I walked through the Mojave desert with my mouth wide open. It went downhill from that point on.

So today I was feeling really bad and discovered I ran out of cold medicine. I forced myself to get up and go to the grocery store. I put on a pair of aqua-checkered pajama pants, a pair of Crocs, a long-sleeved t-shirt an Old Navy corded sweater jacket, and a Texas A&M baseball cap. My dog needed to go outside first, and of course since she's a princess, I obeyed. Now, she refuses to go out in the BACKyard, which is fenced in, and instead insists on going out front, which is NOT fenced, and is surrounded by heavy traffic, 300 screaming elementary school kids out for recess, the Fire Station, and probably 2.5 criminal offenders.

My dog prances down the front steps and out onto the grass. She then continues onto the sidewalk, and bravely trots near the property line. I clapped my hands and called her name. Her ears twitched and she pretended she didn't hear me and continued down the street. Not in the mood for her antics because of my illness, I stomped down the steps, slipped on the wet pavement and landed on my tailbone. I guess that's what I get for trying to exercise my right to have command over my own animal. She came running up to me as if to say, "Yeah, that's what you get for trying to tell me what to do!" She then ran ahead of me to the front door, waiting for me to let her highness in.

I went to the grocery store to get some produce and Sudafed. While checking out, I caught the end of a conversation between the old lady in front of me and the cashier. I figured out the lady in front of me saw the Sudafed I was about to purchase on the conveyer belt that was separating my produce and flu medication and her adult diapers and baby powder. The old lady said, and I quote, "You know if I was sick, I'd just go down to the man on the corner of the street and buy me some crack cocaine. That way I wouldn't care if I was sick." I pretended I didn't hear her.

After I purchased my produce and Sudafed, I headed out the door. So anyway, on my way out the door, the friggin' store alarm goes off. The old lady, who was talking to her self about crack cocaine and stalking me at the same time, blurts out, "It's probably the Sudafed honey!"


what WE feel

*Note: The following post is about the sensitive subject of humane euthanasia and end-of-life issues. If this subject brings up feelings of anxiety and sadness within yourselves, it is completely normal and is okay. If your feelings of anxiety and sadness are profound, please use caution as you proceed. I am happy to answer any questions or concerns you have regarding this post. You are welcome to post comments below, or you may e-mail me privately at corneliusdvm@yahoo.com.

The most difficult, delicate, and daunting part of my job is euthanasia. Yet, I am bound to my oath to relieve pain, suffering, and disease. Vet school does little to prepare a veterinarian for this moment. All of our medical knowledge means nothing now, and we must rely on our emotional intelligence to help us get ourselves and our clients through this condition. Grief is one of the most difficult, sad and confusing emotional experiences that humans suffer.

Veterinarians must be empathetic and altruistic at the same time. Clients count on us to maintain composure and dignity, while providing compassion and support during a highly emotional and extremely stressful moment. We willingly fatigue ourselves, and sometimes we fall victim to intense emotional exhaustion.

With each euthanasia, veterinarians experience loss as well. We lose a patient that we've been fighting for and have lost sleep over. We lose a client we've bonded with. Through this ordeal, we lose our own pets all over again that have passed even years ago. We never, ever forget.

For owners, euthanasia is a conscious event that is inevitably intertwined with unconscious projections originating from the owner and projected onto the veterinarian. Humans are of all sorts of distinct backgrounds and experiences, and each have different expectations, emotional reactions, and needs. There are also circumstances that can intensify the grief. For example, if a pet's death is the result of trauma or toxicity, guilt may enhance the grief felt. If a person has recently suffered other losses, or has never fully grieved an earlier loss, then the grieving process is often much more complex. At times, clients seem to view contact with us as some sort of contact with their lost pet, and will attempt to communicate with us for an extended period of time.

When a human dies, society recognizes our loss and grants us a grieving process. We are encouraged to feel bad so that eventually we can feel better. This is accomplished with the aid of rituals and funeral services. However, society generally fails to give pet owners and veterinarians permission to grieve openly. Bereaved pet owners often feel isolated and alone because they don't have a conventional support network. This can be a critical part of grief resolution for some owners, as many people cannot accept the reality of pet loss without a suitable period of mourning.

Sometimes, our emotional investment is overwhelming. There are nights when we go home and cry after one or several euthanasias in a day. This sentimental investment may last for several days, weeks, or months in honor of a grieving client. Compassion fatigue is a recognized condition of our profession. In this condition, we are more prone to depression, stress and trauma, and are at even a higher risk of developing these symptoms when we deal with terminal illnesses. Secondary traumatic stress becomes an unfortunate part of our lives, especially those that work in the field of emergency medicine.

There is a reason veterinarians choose this profession. Most all of us are willing and capable of sacrificing our own well-being for yours, at a moment you need us the most. Sweet, aren't we?


Addicted to My-Diary!


Hello, my name is Christie Cornelius, and I am a My-Diary addict.

There, I've gotten through Step 1, my admission that I have a problem and I am not in control of my current situation.

O.k....so here's how you do it. Click on the link above to access the home page of My-Diary. Then, choose "Read what others have written" on the menu at the top of the page. Finally, choose whatever dysfunctional situation you most likely would relate to best, and click on that entry. The names of each diary and the usernames are also visible, and should be taken into consideration when choosing the messy situation that suits your individual need.

You will find that you can learn alot about a person's adaptive unconsious by reading their truths. These visible diaries have been published online with the author's permission, however, so it will not be 100% true, but will probably be as close as you'll ever get to knowing someone else without being THAT person.

Let me know what you guys think.
Peace, Dr.C


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