Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It just kept bleeding

I love my job.

I love it.

There are times and circumstances though that no matter your experience level will leave you shaking, feeling like you might vomit, and sweating like a maniac. It's just part of the experience and happens no matter what kind of practice you are in. Apparently, the head vet at my workplace, who has been in practice over 30 years and has seen everything, has been known to be up in surgery cursing like a sailor.
I had a terrible day in surgery. Let me tell you the story:

This 1yo male neutered hound mix dog was on a walk with his owner. She bent over to pick up his poop like a responsible citizen and accidentally dropped the end of the leash. The dog ran into traffic and was hit by a car. He has pulmonary contusions, degloving injuries to a hind and front foot. The left hind had a compound, open fracture mid tibia/fibula. Owner couldn't afford to go to referral.

I was ER yesterday and was asked to amputate the leg. Why wouldn't I? I love surgery and am trying to get more experience, time, and a reputation for reliability. Besides, I've amputated legs before. All you have to do is dissect and keep the animal from bleeding too much. I made my incision, dissected down to the triangle that holds the femoral artery and vein and started tying them off. Artery? Clamp. Tie. cut. Check. Vein? Clamp. Whoa!!!! WTF!!! Clamp below...still bleeding...swab...clamp below...still bleeding...panic...swab...clamp...bleed...swab...swab...clamp...bleed...etc, etc, for help.
After that bleeder was taken care of the rest of the surgery went smoothly for the dog - pressures stayed up, PCV was fine after the Sx, and he recovered from anesthesia smoothly - no dysphoria, normothermic within minutes.

My confidence, however, is another story entirely. I thanked Scarlett for one, helping and two, not making me feel like an asshole. I am doing fine in that department on my own, thank you very much. She was gracious, as she always is. I cried in front of her (embarrassing) and then I went to the stairwell and did the ugly cry. I haven't cried in years. Even when I wanted to I just couldn't make it happen. Today I just feel worried - about the dog (even though he's fine), about my confidence, about my reputation, about what the people at work think of me....