One day during my externship in a cat hospital, I was asked to listen to a cat’s heart. Even though I shut the door and tried hard to listen to its heart, all I can tell was that the cat had a fast heart rate, no arrhythmia nor murmur. When I returned to the doctor’s office and reported what I just heard, I was told to listen again. Well, I stayed calm and listened for about two more minutes but still did not notice any abnormality. Later on, the doctor told me that the cat had a heart murmur. I was a little frustrated and asked how I can figure out the patient had a murmur. “Be one with the cat,” the doctor said. This even confused me more because it was more of a philosophical than a practical tip for me.
In the following days of my externship, I saw doctors give clients a hug to relieve their sorrow when their pet was euthanized, I saw doctors shed a few tears when clients were making a difficult decision to put their pets down, I saw doctors kiss a cat when it’s doing great during the examination…They use a lot of “doctor words.” I mean, not medical words consisting of a dozen letters but words like “sweet baby,” “big guy,” etc.
And I was taught on my very first day here that I should greet my patient when I make my first step into the exam room and have confidence in myself. Because you are not going to successfully pretend that you are not afraid of cats who are able to sense your feeling.
Gradually I learned how to “be one with the patient and my client.” One of the doctors here sets an excellent example for me. She is so involved in each case professionally and emotionally. Her deep empathy with each case serves as the most powerful engine and drives her to do her best for the patient.
A couple days ago, we had a kitten patient come in for acupuncture. When the foster parent of the cat was telling us its story, that it was scheduled to be adopted on Monday but a car accident happened on Saturday night and it ended up having a lumbosacral fracture, I was immediately on the verge of tears…I just feel like I am slowly growing to be that kind of veterinarian I want to be.