Monday, May 25, 2009

Welcome to summer

Finals finished on a Wednesday 12 days ago, and it has officially been "summer" ever since.

I spent the next day, Thursday, getting the second floor of our condo in livable condition. Believe me, that was an all-day project despite there being only 4 rooms.

Friday was intended to be my clean-up day for the main floor, but CLH stayed home from work so I didn't get much cleaning done (a-okay by me). I also got to have a bonus trip to FoCo for an eye exam at the student health center (results: my eyes are really messed up but at least they aren't getting worse!).

Saturday and Sunday were taken up by church activities and handbell concerts (which went well).

And Monday was the first day of my new, 6-week job at a clinic owned by a Giant Veterinary Corporation in Northglenn, CO.

Northglenn is a northern suburb of Colorado and is about 48 miles from where we live in Windsor. On a good day, it takes me between 40 and 45 minutes to get there (and yes, that means I am not exactly going the 75 mph speed limit on I-25). On a rainy day or in rush-hour traffic, the drive is closer to an hour. But really, it's not that bad. It's pretty much a straight shot down I-25, and I can drive really fast, which always makes me happy. I listened to the radio for a couple of days then checked out an unabridged Michael Crichton novel on 11 CDs from the library. That should take me awhile!

The job is okay. The first couple days were pretty boring, because nobody seemed quite sure what I was supposed to be doing. I mostly watched what was going on and helped restrain a few animals. After that, things have started to get better. People are actually starting to explain to me how they do things and asking me to help with other stuff. Most of the stuff, like drawing blood and running tests, I already know how to do, but every clinic does it a little differently.

My second day of work, last Tuesday, was not super-fun. It culminated in a drawn-out, two-hour death for a 17-year-old cat that had never been to the clinic before. The cat died from respiratory distress (i.e. it couldn't breathe and nobody could figure out why). I spent the two hours shut in the surgery room with the poor gasping cat, giving it oxygen through a mask, while they tried to figure out what was wrong with it. Kitty got really close to dying a couple times but rebounded. Finally, after two hours, she was really, really near death so the owner came in to see her and decided (wisely, and belatedly, in my opinion) to euthanize her. The doctor and other nurses left me in the room with kitty and owner while they went to prepare paperwork and things they needed for euthanasia. Kitty died while they were gone. That was a definite bummer and not a real happy way to end my second day of work. I've seen many, many animals euthanized, but never spent such an intimate length of time watching one die on its own. I'd rather participate in a hundred euthanasias than go through that again.

Anyway! Last week's work schedule was Mon/Tues/Fri from 9-7:30 and Saturday from 9-6:30 (with a 1-hour lunch break every day). This week's schedule is shorter shifts, but more of them: Monday (yes, Memorial Day) from 11-5:30, Tues/Thurs/Fri from 11-7:30, and Saturday from 9-6:30. It will be nice to have the shorter days (mostly 8.5 hours instead of 10.5) but that means I'll be driving to Denver 5 times instead of 4 times for the same amount of work as last week.

Though it's technically summer, it doesn't entirely feel like it. I feel busier right now than I did during the school year. Or maybe it's the same level of busy-ness, but my current activities are remarkably more tiring. I had forgotten about the sheer physical exhaustion of being on your feet and handling animals for 9 or 10 hours straight, which I'd imagine is quite exacerbated from the last 9 months that I've spent sitting on my butt in a classroom all day. But I think I'm getting used to it again pretty quickly.

(Lest you think I'm enjoying my days off too much, consider that last Wednesday [my first day off from work], I sat at home and enjoyed myself. Last Thursday [my second day off], I drive to Fort Morgan and spent the afternoon and evening with CLH for his middle school concert, then stayed over night and drove 75 miles instead of 48 to work on Friday morning. Yesterday [my third day off], we drove back to Fort Morgan again so CLH could play the organ at the Presby church there. My next day off is this Wednesday, when I'll be driving back to FoCo to get my last rabies shot and finish up other assorted errands. I'm hoping that by the end of June, I will have had a day off when I get to actually stay in Windsor instead of spending half the day in the car!!)

Anyhow, it is definitely interesting to see how this clinic is run and how things are done, with this clinic being owned by a Giant Veterinary Corporation. Actually, the main reason I took this job is so that I could find out what it's like to be in such a clinic, so it will be a good experience and I expect I'll be glad I did it in the end.

Now almost time to get back in the car for a drive to Denver...

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