Diary of a Working Housewife (Part 8)
For the love of the animals...
Sunday October 13, 2019 8:05 AM:
Looking back on the above picture I remember that night perfectly. The ICU was full and my triage nurse was up to her ears in emergencies. This beautiful Galah parrot was brought into my ER due to a bad wing trim. I was the ICU Nurse and Shift Supervisor that night. The owner did not want to part with her baby and my triage nurse explained to me that the bird was visibly in pain.
I left my ICU assistant watching over the ICU and went into the room to talk to the Pet Parent. The client, noticeably shaken by her experience, begins telling me the horror story of how she took her baby to get her wings clipped at a bird pet store. She said, "The gentleman seemed knowledgeable and told me he was going to take her to the back and trim her wings. I asked him why I couldn't be present and he said that it was for the benefit of the bird." The Owner agreed and he proceeded to take her to the back and trim the wings. She begins sobbing and babbles "Oh my God... I could hear her screaming!"
This was the first time she ever took her baby, who was only nine months old, to get her wings trimmed and felt very guilty for not pushing to be present. I asked the client for permission to examine her Galah and she gave me a nod to proceed. As I placed my hand in the cage, the little bird lifted one of her feet and placed it on my hand. She then followed with the other and allowed me to take her out. I lifted her up to my chest and scratched her head while repeating, "It's ok girl... you're OK." The client smiled at me and expressed relief that her baby "likes me" and is not acting scared. I told her, "Well, I have the magic touch with birds. They seem to like me cause I love them." I confess to you, I am a crazy bird lady. I just love how they can all have different personalities, from cranky little buggers to happy little clowns.
As I examined her, I noticed dry blood on both of her wings. At that point I asked Mom if she would let me take her to the ICU so the Doctor could examine her more thoroughly. She nodded no and asked me to allow her to go with her. I tried to explain that our protocols do not allow us to take Clients back into the ICU. I could tell she was getting more anxious during our conversation about taking the Galah away from her sight in order to perform the thorough examination. At that point I had to make a decision. I either continue to argue with her about how important it is for me to take the baby parrot to the back for our Doctor to look at her or take her emotions and dreadful experience into consideration and break protocol. I asked her to hold her baby for a few minutes as I discussed the case with the Doctor and handed her baby back to her.
I went back into the ICU and spoke to the Doctor on shift. After a few minutes we agreed it was in the best interest of both the parrot and owner to come to the back. I remember how grateful she was when I told her she could come with me and her baby. To conclude this story, after the Dr. examined the Galah, she explained to Mom that the gentleman who did the trim went to high when he cut the feathers and had done significant damage to the wings and this is why her baby seemed to be painful. She assured her we were going to set her up with antibiotics and pain medication for tonight to keep the baby comfortable but she had to follow up with an exotics vet as soon as possible.
I felt so bad for this poor baby bird I couldn't stop kissing her, and as you can see in the picture (her Mom took), she didn't mind it at all. Her mom was very grateful for our understanding and compassion and in the end asked me if I minded if she took a picture of me and her baby. She was nice enough to send it to me as a token of her appreciation.
I tell you this story as just one example of the many cases that affect us Veterinary Technicians and remain in our hearts and in our memories. This year, Vet Tech week is from October 13th-19th. This is a time to celebrate these wonderful, selfless, multi-talented, under paid, overworked, unappreciated human beings. Due to some health issues, I myself have retired from the craft and I now work behind the scenes scheduling and working in administration. But that does not take away from the fact that I, in spirit, am still on the floor with my team. I've worked with them for eight years now and they are like family. Just like family, we scream, we argue, we stop talking to each other for a little while. Then just like that, without apologies (sometimes), we bring each other food and we make up.
I advise everyone who has a pet to always thank your Vet Tech at every one of your pet's appointments or emergencies. Be polite and understand they are trying their best to help your baby. We do this for the love of the job and not the money... believe me! We get pooped on, peed on, vomited on, bit, scratched, screamed at by owners and all because we love helping animals. The suicide rate in the Veterinary field is extremely high and I can guarantee you it is from all of the stresses of the job in addition to the stresses of personal life. We see death every day, we cry during euthanasia's, and we feel like failures when we can't help those sick puppies or kittens that you think we get to play with everyday.
To my night team;
Thank you for the laughter and the tears. Thank you for busting your butts alongside me, without complaining. Thank you for sharing your food with me, when I didn't bring any, because I only cooked enough for my kids. Thank you for the celebrations. Thank you for all your friendships! Thank you for all you keep doing! You are amazing!