Saturday, September 10, 2011

A surprisingly expected and unexpectedly surprising week

I always expect that people will surprise me, which  makes it sort of a self non-fulfilling prophecy because an anticipated surprise is no surprise at all. This week has seen far more than its fair share of surprises. Take today, for instance. This afternoon, I peered out the window to see what jerk was blaring tasteless rap as he drove by (purposefully slowly just to piss me off, I think). What did I see but a '99 Chrysler minivan rolling down the street, rusty body pulsating and rattling with every beat of its souped-up subwoofer. Later, walking out of church, I couldn't help but chuckle at the tackiest hat I've ever seen: a black trucker hat with red and orange flames emblazoned all over it ... worn by an 87-year-old woman with a walker.
As I speak (well, type), six little surprises are running across the keyboard, thwarting my efforts. When I applied with a local rescue to foster a cat (a being the operative article), I was waiting for some elderly feline citizen to grace my couch with its presence for a few months. Surprise! I got an entire litter of kittens. Like a box of kids' cereal, these little guys had a prize inside: coccidia. For those not in the veterinary field, that basically means that my life at home for the next week to twelve days will be defined by two unique sensory experiences: diarrhea and bleach.
My life at veterinary school so far can also be characterized by poo (which I fear will remain a theme not only for the next few weeks but for the foreseeable future in my chosen career path); the first few weeks are cows, horses, and everything that comes out (and gets all over) them.3333333333333333333333`-==========09999999999
I almost deleted that last line, but Marjoram worked so hard on it. She let out a very proud purr as she tiptoed across the keyboard.
With all the surprises this past week, the only source from whom I did not anticipate the unexpected (which is the definition of unexpected, come to think of it) was myself. Prepared for exotic experiences and unforseen circumstances with my foster babies and school, I55555tr (Marjoram again) I didn't even consider how I would have to change to meet these novel challenges. I've never even owned a cat before, now I have six. And, as of 3 am this morning, those six are spewing bodily fluids out both ends. What to do? I've been in school before, but never in a course of study that requires 6776(kind of getting annoying, but still cute enough to leave in) the kind of intense study, dedication, commitment, and lifestyle changes that vet school demands. How would I handle it? Had I stopped to think, I probably would have concluded that I would fail miserably and should capitulate now. I should give in to the urges that overwhelm me in my quiet moments: pack up my things, hop on a plane, and retreat back from this intimidating (yet thrilling, fascinating, and promising) new world to my familiar home, family, and dogs (for whom cats, even six impossibly adorable little ones, are a poor substitute).
Thank God I didn't stop and think. I just did. With every challenge presented to me, I put my head down, put my nose to the grindstone, and got the job done. =-e-----[[[[ (Coriander this time, now gnawing on the corner of my laptop) Sometimes I got it wrong (no matter how I jerry-rigged the many kitty enclosures I constructed, the little buggers managed to escape, and no matter what I did, Bessie the cow just would not let me examine her mouth adequately), but sometimes I got it right. Overwhelmed by responsibilities - studying, going to class early and staying late, confining, caring for, and cleaning up after kittens - I could have just shut down and conceded defeat, abandoning my commitments like I've done so many times in the past. (Marjoram managed to traverse the keyboard without stepping on a single key - she's an evil acrobatic genius, I tell you) And yet, I didn't. Something is different now. It seems like a neon sign suddenly lit up over my head that said "Adult" with a giant fluorescent arrow pointing straight at me. I got it right when I didn't let go of that damned cow's head and wrestled with her until I won. I got it right when I sprung out of bed every hour from 3 am onward this morning to check on the kittens as they horked up their kibbles 'n' bits, when I sat with them for hours auscultating hearts, assessing hydration status, taking heart and respiration rates, and cleaning noxious bodily fluids from my bathroom floor. I know I got it right when I chose this life for myself because in every such instance, the consistent (and sole coherent) thought in my head is, Damn I love this.
Looking back on this week, I've surprised myself with my diligence in keeping commitments, so unlike how I have historically. A few months ago, I never would have gotten up at 5 am every morning so that I would have time to sit with kittens, clean up, and get tho class early, especially after staying up until 1 am every morning putting the house in good order, re-duct taping the kitty prison after numerous jailbreaks, and over-studying for an anatomy quiz. So what's changed? What made that adult sign appear? In the pre-dawn gloaming, I sat in my pjs, bleary-eyed and groggy, on a bathroom floor spattered with kitty litter and diarrhea residue, my stethoscope around my neck, taking the pulses of some very sick kittens, another neon sign flickered to life. Three shining iridescent letters lit up the dim pre-dawn room, the ones that mean more to me than any others in the world and that now define who I am, what I do, and why I do it: VET.
The spiels they gave at orientation - that we're members of the profession now, part of the veterinary community - were true. I've run myself ragged upholding my commitments this past week because my actions bear new significance. It may be another four years before I get the next significant three letters (DVM), but moments like this morning have made it abundantly clear that I have accepted the responsibilities, privileges, frustrations, joys, and pains in the ass (stop chewing on my power cord!!! no, don't claw the couch, dammit! Gah! that was my toe!) of a veterinarian. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~################5666666\\ (Speaking of pains in the ass)
I love the role I've chosen, so it should have come as no surprise that I will do whatever it takes, no matter how inconvenient or uncomfortable or out of my comfort zone, to live up to it and be worthy of those three magical letters that have already begun to set the course of not only my future, but of each and every exhausting, smelly, squishy, pre-dawn, and post-midnight moment.
A real-time image of this blog entry

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