“That’s awesome!” I exclaimed out loud. In my left hand, I held a jar full of alcohol. Suspended within were seven maggots that had just been plucked from the neck of a wild bird. The intern beside me raised an eyebrow. “We have different ideas of awesome,” he said before giving me a dirty look. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as I placed the jar down and left the room. My interest in disturbing cases is a large reason why I wanted to become a veterinarian.
One of the biggest factors in becoming a vet is being able to stomach an immense amount of bodily fluids, parasites, and horrible smells. Every day, you can expect to have at least one situation that may make you cringe or gag. Having an ability to stomach these things is hugely important. I don’t want to say that I enjoy these moments, but there is just a certain sense of satisfaction that comes from draining an abscess or cleaning out those gunky ears. Not only have you taken the first step toward resolving the problem, but you have also given the animal a great feeling of relief. That is one of the things that I love most about the job.
In light of these recent events, I have realized that not everyone within the field may feel as comfortable with these types of cases. It is important to be professional and courteous to our colleagues and peers. We must know our own boundaries as well as the boundaries of those we work with. It’s normal for people to become grossed out. The cases we find fascinating may be deeply disturbing to others. Practicing medicine is not for everyone.