This could probably be said for any career, but veterinary medicine certainly has it’s extraordinary share of highs and lows. Some of my most memorable cases from the past year are some of the worst, and best, cases that I’ve encountered. It’s amazing sometimes how much something can affect you, whether it be positive or negative. I have lost some amazing patients over the past year, to terrible diseases like lymphoma, liver failure, and Lyme disease. I’ve cried with owners when we’ve sadly had to say goodbye after months of palliative care, or unfortunately short periods of time where the pet declined rapidly. I’ve talked owners through heartbreaks while dealing with that heartbreak myself.
All of that being said, for every sad case comes a silver lining. First, that pet is no longer in pain, or sick. I’ve developed strong bonds with owners because of these sad situations. And when these owners come back in with new puppies, you bet your butt I have cried all over again with them but this times it’s tears of joy and reminiscing on the pets we have lost. The paralyzed puppy comes walking in wagging his tail, and your heart just explodes. You take that dog that’s been itchy for years and give it a new allergy injection and for the first time they get relief.
My job is not always the most cheerful, but the success stories are enough to make up for the sadness and the badness. Those are the cases we have to think of when lying in bed at night (though of course as a veterinarian we’re worrying about the cases not doing so well). It’s the “highs” we deal with on a daily basis that remind us why we do what we do, when we can’t always save the “lows” and sad cases that come through the door. One thing that is for sure…we learn from them all no matter the outcome. We can always take the bad with the good, the good with the bad, and important lessons from everyone.