The first work day was pretty much amazing. In a nutshell, it pretty much demonstrated to me why I subject myself to hours upon hours of debt-ridden classroom drudgery for half of my life. In order that I may do this – be outside all day, working amongst the people in ever-shifting and dynamic conditions, providing quality animal care to the best of our abilities, and never knowing what’s going to “walk through the door”.
We performed a total of 14 surgeries – 10 spays and 4 neuters. One of the neuters turned out to be a cryptorchid (one of the testicles had not descended, meaning we had to open up the abdomen and go looking for it). One of the third year students was blessed with that daunting task. 😉 Anyway, most of the way through the surgery, the dog aspirated (vomited and then breathed it up into his lungs) and started to crash. It was very touch-and-go there for awhile and a couple of the doctors were pretty resigned to his death. God is faithful though, even in the small things. He recovered, came out of anesthesia (albeit slowly) and he should be fine with some antibiotics and TLC.
The owner even brought us 4 liters of Coca-Cola as a thank-you…which people then promptly began placing in plastic bags and sucking out through a hole cut in the corner. But not me…because I was in my first surgery! Well, kind of. I was allowed to finish closing a spay (the subcutaneous layer and skin layers). The dog started waking up and we were out of “night-night” drugs, so I was being lovingly encouraged to “hurry the heck up” through my first suturing procedure! Amazing. 🙂 I also was able to watch many of the spays and neuters and will probably get to do a spay from start to finish on Thursday. 😀
But back to the majority of my day. My main task today was learning how to be a tech by doing all the things I never really learned how to do in the clinic back home. Such techniques included:
1. Giving intramuscular (IM) rabies vaccinations
2. Giving dewormer orally
3. Monitoring heart and respiratory rates of patients during surgery
4. Checking palpebral eye reflex response of patients during surgery to make sure they stayed adequately anesthetized
5. Tying a gauze muzzle (very important)
6. Dosing out penicillin, dewormer, and ketamine (“night-night” drug)
Some goals for tomorrow:
1. Give an IV injection (find the vein)
2. Use even more of my Spanish
3. Especially this word –> Sostener = “to hold” <– very important when trying to give a painful injection to a fractious dog. Ha.
All four of the doctors are so patient and soft-spoken, amazing teachers that are calm even when you screw up or get flustered. I wish all the clinicians were like that. You learn so much better.
I also succeeded in communicating in Spanish with several people, which made me feel slightly better about going through all that work in college to get a minor in the language. I only hope it continues to come back to me and improve as the days go on. After all the surgeries were finished, the local children invited us to play a game of soccer! I wasn’t able to participate because I was still in my surgery, but it was so much fun to watch “la juega bonita” acting as a universal language between our two peoples and cultures. It communicated friendship and trust and acceptance. There were no politics, no underlying motivations, no presumptions, and no apprehensions.