Notes From The 146th Annual AVMA Convention

Filed under: @ 8:20 am

Okay, so picture this.
Saturday morning July 11th 0800, the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.
Two, maybe three thousand veterinarians, veterinary technicians, hospital staff and various hangers-on. All tired, those of us that weren’t jet lagged to one degree or another had worked the day before. Probably more than a few hung over from the night before, some covered in fish scales from the appearance of the Pacific Fish guys at the opening (as it were) ceremonies for the convention.
The overwhelming thought in everyone’s mind is……


Stumbling around in a large crowd early in the morning, all of us realizing that there were no two ways about it, we WERE going to spend most of the day stuffed into crowded little rooms sitting on chairs that were not meant for the human form. Me realizing that I was not only going to spend most of the day crammed into a crowded little room sitting on a chair that wasn’t meant for the human form, but also that having given into my own urge for coffee was probably not the wisest thing to have done.
None of us really resentful in any way, I don’t think anyone was there to learn that didn’t WANT to be there to learn, but all of us at least a little resigned to the fact that it was set to be a long weekend… and your brain can only absorb what your butt can endure.

Now you have the correct mind frame I can proceed with my story.

I went into my soon-to-be overcrowded little room and found myself a convenient chair that wasn’t meant for the human form. A little jiggling with my computer bag so that I could semi-conveniently take notes (NONE of the major conventions that I’ve been to have had desk space. It makes me CRAZY…. and vaguely pretzel shaped…. to have to take notes on my lap for four days.) and I was ready with my notebook and pen. Still thinking, in a vague sort of way…… caw-feeee!

The room moderator got up, introduced the speaker and within minutes you could hear all the thoughts of coffee leaving the room. You could hear the sensory nerves from everyone’s backside getting shut down. I wrote her name down somewhere, she was an ophthalmologist from NC State as I recall, but within minutes she OWNED that room. No shit, I have never in eight years of college and fifteen years of continuing education lectures, NEVER heard a lecturer so damn good.
I scribbled in the back of my notebook in between bits that I wanted to write down the following impressions (Editor’s note: translated from shorthand gibberish to actual English):
Most veterinarians are puzzle lovers, we have to be or we’d be absolutely no good at our jobs. The best educators, veterinary or otherwise, are those who are so interested in their own puzzles that they want to share them with other people. “Look at this, isn’t this neat? Isn’t this cool?! Come share with me this extremely, wickedly, interesting world in which I take such joy!”
Dr. Ophthalmologist, whoever she was, was so GOOD at translating her passion for the subject into words that the rest of us could understand that her lectures were always crammed to the rafters. I sat through three additional hours of lectures that I hadn’t planned just because she was so mesmerizing.
It is a rare thing to be so thrilled by what you’re doing that you can hypnotize perfect strangers. Especially tired, caffeinated, vaguely resigned to a weekend of yawning strangers. I hope she continues to use her powers for good.

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