It’s 11:30 on a Friday night. I’m in bed trying to fall asleep. I’m on call, so my phone and my pager are on loud and by my side. Right when I start to drift asleep, I’m awakened by both of them. Someone at the school needs radiographs and it’s my job to take them.
Within minutes I’m running into the school to the small animal ICU, where I’m supposed to meet with an intern. But they have already headed to the radiology area. After getting all the equipment fired up, I find the people that contacted me doing an ultrasound exam on a cat’s abdomen. This cat presented for abdominal pain and we were concerned about the possibility of an obstruction or urinary stones. Finding nothing on ultrasound, we move the cat into the x-ray room. Since I’m the only radiology student there, it’s my job to position the cat and take the images.
Having only done each of those jobs once, it was a little nerve-racking that I was expected to do everything by myself. Using the landmarks that we had learned for abdominal views, I aligned the shot. With the right marker in place, I ran out of the room to take the x-ray and everything looked perfect. The next two views took a while to complete because the intern, who was one of my holders, disappeared into the radiograph viewing room so we had to wait around.
Once all images were taken we moved over to the viewing room to see the results. Everything looked normal. There were no stones and no signs of obstruction and the radiologist on call confirmed our findings. After about an hour of working with this cat, I headed home and went back to sleep. One of my favorite parts of veterinary medicine is not knowing what may show up and having to always be ready for anything. While I know my first on call experience was pretty straightforward, I realize that will not always be the case. No matter what comes, I will be ready for it.