Monday, December 28, 2015

Have a Little Faith

We've been open a little over a year (5 quarters to be exact) and we have performed 2622 surgeries.  Not a bad start at all, although we wouldn't mind doubling that number for the next 5 quarters.  It was no surprised that we got more holiday cards this December than last- but the picture above is our favorite.

The St. Bernard on the right is aptly named Faith.  We met her at the end of last May.  She and her family sat in our waiting room after a long night  while Dr. Potter and I had a tough discussion with them.  Faith had been diagnosed with a pyometra at the local veterinarian's office.  This is a life threatening uterine infection.  If not addressed quickly, it can lead to sepsis, organ failure and death.  As a spay clinic, we are quite equipped to handle this surgery, and do so regularly for our clients.  Faith, however, was a special case.  She was 11 years old, which is ancient by St. Bernard standards.  On top of that, she was already clinically ill- she was pale, shocky, and too weak to stand.

Dr. Potter and I wrestled with whether she was a good surgical candidate or not.  We sat down with her owners and explained the serious risks- Faith could already be beyond our help surgically.  Even if we managed to catch it in time, we were still concerned about the significant anesthetic risk in a giant breed of her age.  Her family understood, and were willing to take these risks if we were.  They reasoned that her name is Faith, and that we all needed to have some.

After some IV fluids and antibiotics, we anesthetized her and performed the surgery.  Everything went as planned, and her recovery was slow but smooth.  Her family then took her and transferred her to an emergency facility for additional fluids and pain management.

When Faith arrived for staple removal 10 days later, she was a new lady- swaggering into our clinic on her arthritic hips, wagging that gorgeous tail without a care in the world.  She met us all with kisses and paw giving, and left with her share of cookies in her belly for being excellent for her staple removal.

Seven months later, we get this holiday card from her family, who were very happy to have her home for another holiday.  It was heartwarming to hear how well she is still doing.

Sometimes as veterinarians we have difficult cases.  They won't always work out, but whenever I feel a little cynical, I remember Faith, and my optimism is instantly restored.

From our family to Faith's, thank you for reminding us to always look for the good.  And from our family to yours, have a happy holiday season.   Each day is a gift.

Dr. H