A Couple of More Observations on Being a Mature-in-My-Profession Professional

Filed under: @ 4:57 pm

I got my DVM in May 1994 and, barring a few weeks in late ’97 and early ’98 when I wasn’t employed full time but rather was doing job interviews and regular relief work, I’ve been in clinical practice ever since.

Most of you know my employment tales –the 3 years I spent working for Dr. Ratbastard in Olympia, the chaos of the first year I spent at 5 Corners, and the hard work that Melanie, and later Laurie and Rachel and Paul and I put into making 5 Corners a functional, prosperous practice.

Also I have blogged elsewhere about Pet’s Choice’s purchase by VCA, my disappointment at Melanie’s leaving her post as medical director, and my eventual realization that I needed to work elsewhere. But really what was most disappointing about leaving there was realizing that I’d never again be working with the people. A good doctor team with an experienced and well trained support staff can make up for almost any deficiency in the job otherwise.

Oh calm down! I said almost….

Last week I was spaying an 80 pound 6 year old Golden Retriever that has been on phenobarbital therapy for 4 years. For those who have never been inside a dog’s abdomen, the above values are sufficient to cause considerable sweat even without the pheno. A mature dog has a lot of intra-abdominal fat to start with which makes finding the relevant blood vessels a challenge and a joy. Adding the pheno on top of that adds additional fat. Spaying a mature dog is a sweaty, greasy, bloody undertaking and the bigger they are the longer the enjoyment lasts. It is No Fun.
Anyway while I was spaying the dog I realized suddenly that I really miss working with Melanie.

God knows it’s sometimes hard to understand why. We can’t be more temperamentally different. Professionally I’m quiet, reserved (yah, yah, yah, add whatever smartass comments you like, but then remember back to when you first met me and you’ll realize I speak truly here) and not prone to speaking my mind. All traits that are likely contributors to the tummy weasels I’m sure.
Melanie is outspoken and emotional; she’s never been one to leave well enough alone. If Melanie’s pissed at you, you’ll know it. At times it was like working with a lit firework with a wet fuse. You’d never know when she was likely to blow.

But for all that we worked well together. We both have a passion for practicing high quality medicine. She likes internal medicine more, I like surgery more. We complimented each other well and we were comfortable with each other’s quirks and foibles. Each of us has seen the other at their best and their worst and we still get along. And I almost always ended up spaying the fat dogs.
Adding Laurie to the mix was educational for all parties involved, and ramping up the staff to open the 24 hour hospital allowed us to put together a team that was beyond belief. It was fabulous to work with a group who would anticipate your needs, who were considerate and funny, who were efficient, enthusiastic, and a lot of fun.
I am romanticizing just a little bit here. We had our share, probably more than our share, of losers, weirdoes, and screwups. But overall it was a great team.
I miss that. I miss them.

Which is not to say that things aren’t going well with my new job. I love my new schedule. There’s plenty to do without being lunatic busy and I am, for god’s sake RELAXED at my new job. And the staff and I are getting more chummy and they’re starting to anticipate my needs and it will eventually work out to running as smoothly as I would wish.
Also I’ve spent much of the last two days on a road trip, traveling all over the county and back doing field research into digital radiology systems. We’re upgrading our x-ray to digital sometime within the next few months and I’m the one that has been doing all the research and the leg work. This is a big purchase, somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000 and getting all the information and evaluating all of the systems has required a remarkable amount of study into things that I never really wanted to know about. Looking at the systems in place has taken me from Puyallup to Lake City and as far east as Issaquah which, during the business day, can be a considerable trip.
It was one of the first things that Melinda asked me to do when I started working for her. It’s a huge responsibility.

I think we’ll manage to get along together just fine. 🙂

All portions of this site are © Andrew Lenzer, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.