Archive | October, 2011

MY Vet Hospital [Part 4: Clients]

31 Oct

-Take pics of surprising survivals and display up front

-have a website w/lots of pics

-have free holiday pet pics with Santa, complete with egg nogg, cider, and food

-do a pet Halloween costume contest/parade

-have a client/staff appreciation BBQ in July

-post sponsors, community involvement, pet articles up front

-no creepy, trite rainbow bridge

MY Vet Hospital [Part 3: The Kind of Vet I Want to Be]

30 Oct

“What you dislike in another, take care to correct in yourself.”

-greet each employee every morning

-be accessible to all staff

-encourage questions and communication–don’t treat others stupid

-foster a supportive, team-oriented, environment–>lots of encouragement & praise

-don’t ask staff to do things I would be unwilling to do.

-say thank you, good job, when things are done well, and at the end of good days.

-introduce yourself to each client

-greet clients warmly before exams

-write some sort of fact about client on record for more personable experience

-tell clients what you are doing as you go

-explain WHY you are presenting the options you are

-as a vet make sure never to casually tell clients to “just drop by.” Emphasize appt.

-Also never say we have same day appointments–give realistic time frame

-Vets should know their own speed & limitations & accommodate the schedule/procedures accordingly

-do not schedule O appt/sx!  Send the people to receptionist who know the schedule better

-do NOT tack on an extra sx for next day!  Give receptionist time frame and have them fit it in where it makes sense.

-vet initials all rx that go out the door

-double check each estimate before client receives it

-as a vet, make sure to tell staff what was told to the client immediately–client should never know what’s happening more than the staff

-As P is being hospitalized, state entire plan of diagnostics/meds/tx (including specific timetables) to techs.

-draw out glucose curve for owner

-when fixing a snagged nail/dew claw, put lidocane on paper towel and soak first. It constricts vessels and numbs the area.

-vet personally call and check on really sick animals/complicated surgeries

-don’t bring own animals to work; Not even if they stay with you (the vet)—still have to be taken outside and are still underfoot

MY Hospital [Part 2: Physical Hospital Organization]

29 Oct

-keep hospital name, number, address, and vets on walls by all phones

-play classical music in reception.

-in reception, have a gift shop with leashes, treats, books, etc. . .

-keep dog scale in reception to be easily accessible

-hang price sheets by phone

-have file boxes for prescriptions, drop offs, hospitalization, surgery, and boarding in back

-have file boxes in reception for drop off, hospital, surgery, and boarding going home that day

-in reception, have mail-box-type square slots for multiple filled prescriptions–behind some sort of locak-able door?

-in reception, have a file box for “to-be filed” records

-no clutter on reception counter, exam rooms, etc. . .

-have breath mints, lint brush, outside exam rooms

-have slot for files outside each exam room door

-have each exam room stocked identically

-have cat exam room with scale and cat stuff inside

-don’t store product/hospital supplies in exam rooms

-keep a mini fridge in each exam room with vax

-in pharmacy, have a list taped to doors of what meds are in each cabinet and what shelf it’s on

-in cupboard have names of drugs typed on shelf where it belongs

-have a tiny fridge just for meds

-inside pharmacy cabinets have rows labeled for specific meds

-put a whiteboard by all phones in the back

-have a bulletin board in back with vet names on top for phone messages

-1 book for each logged controlled substance—all stored in an accordion “pendiflex” file

-have internet access in common area that can be monitored

-have a treatment board for hospital meds and squares to be checked off twice a day

-have a separate board for routine vax

-have a surgery board that displays pet first and last name, weight and results of mandatory pre-surgery blood work

-also have a scale in back near sx prep area

-use colored letter stickers with first 2 letters of owner last name on radiographs

– type radiograph labels in consistent manner

-on radiograph envelope, mark first and last name of animal, date each radiograph is taken, what part was radiographed, and vet who ordered/took it

-keep sheet next to processor to show date & person who cleaned and refilled fluids

-never dump processor chem down the sink

-immediately outside surgery room have a cupboard (like in den) for gloves, masks, etc

-have small washer & dryer just for sx items

-put spray hose on bathtub

-use plastic storage drawers as well as shelves in inventory room

-in overstock room, have shelves with specific labels for products

-in inventory room, food room, vax fridge, and pharmacy have check lists to mark off items as they are used

MY hospital [Part 1: Record Keeping]

28 Oct

-have physical files!

-prep files the day before

-have new clients fill out a welcome page with all info

-type owner’s basic info in the chart

-type all owner names on stickers and put on chart

-use color stickers for first 2 letters of owner last name on chart

-use different color papers for each species/sex

-put pet’s basic info on every page of chart

-tape tabs (to differentiate pets) to the inside of charts before putting papers in

-use exam checklist sticker in files

-put vaccine stickers in the margin of files

-Consider having a different vax/dental pages to keep chart organized and neat

-have techs put together estimates (on typed sheet) for costly and multiple procedures-keep in file

-keep labs, glucose curve, drawings, etc. . .

-have hanging space near exam room doors to put impending appt files.

Through Rose Colored Glasses

27 Oct



I used to watch the Roseanne show (who didn’t?) but never knew what a feminist she was.  What I knew was that America was ready for a more realistic portrayal of family.  Roseanne showed a blue collar working family, complete with harried mother, non-perfect children, and plenty of drama.  It was ground-breaking because it was real.  No one was rich.  Everyone worked–and they actually showed them toiling.  The kids could be brats.

I even realized later that the first lesbian kiss shown on television was not on Ellen’s famous Puppy Episode–it was on Roseanne!  Though, I thought the impact was tinged with a little negativity because creepy-coked-out Tom Arnold, co-producer and Roseanne’s husband at the time, probably just wanted to get his rocks off.  At any rate, it was a real step.

Whoever wrote the above article did just a fantastic job of humanizing AND dare I say it, making Roseanne Barr likable.  With her big body and big opinions–this is no small feat.  She had some pretty bad behavior back in the day.  Bad choices, bad language and quotes, and bad press.  But I really came away from the piece with respect for the gal.  It’s easy to forget that any steps women have made in Hollywood are hard-fought.  But I’m glad Roseanne scratched and clawed as she did to get the show on the air, keep it female-positive, and show legit women.

My Response to Cat Tales Zoo

26 Oct

Dear Ms. Hunter,

Thank you for returning my e-mail.  I am writing this e-mail because I was very eager to volunteer at your zoo.  I was pleased with my visit, found the zoo-keepers informative and friendly, and badly wanted to gain experience within a zoo setting.  I was so impressed that I wrote your e-mail contact and gave a very good review on Yelp, not to mention several personal recommendations to my friends and co-workers.

Unfortunately, I have been confused and misinformed throughout my quest to volunteer at Cat Tales Zoo.  When I went to get the physical volunteer application there was confusion on the part of the keeper at the check-in gate, as well as those in the gift shop.  I had to wait twenty minutes for them to track something down.  As excited as I was to volunteer my time, I overlooked this.  The formal application did not say anything about letters of recommendation, let alone specify the preferred format for them.  Also, the (friendly) keepers that found the application did not mention the necessity of letters or what format such letters should take.
Though, my initial e-mail correspondence did mention letters were needed, I trusted the application more then a faceless internet response, because I did not know who was returning my first request for information.  When I turned in the application, which I completely filled out, including the required reference names and phone numbers, I was allowed to meet Brandi.  I am not sure of her title or qualification, bus she seemed important, and was confused why I did not have my three letters of recommendation.  Considering these were not specified on the application itself, or by the keeper who handed it to me, I found her attitude that I should have already known off-putting.  Still, wanting to gain experience in a zoo setting, I again overlooked the mis-communication and poor attitude towards me.  I knew my dedication and superior work ethic would win everyone over once I was admitted to a volunteer spot.  Wanting to get the letters in as soon as possible I asked Brandi for an e-mail address to send the letters to.  This would get them there faster, and let me volunteer sooner.  I would think if letters were not welcome in an electronic format Brandi would not have provided the e-mail address or told me what to put in the subject line, “Attn:  Margaret Hunter.”
Ms. Hunter, I found your response to my legitimate e-mail featuring my three letters (which I had in my possession because I had just finished my application to veterinary school), as well as an invitation to follow up with each of those letter-writers, disheartening.  Writing SPAM in a subject line is not only unprofessional and un-diplomatic, it is downright abrasive.  Instead of being treated like an enthusiastic pre-veterinary student wanting to help the zoo and wild animals within, I was treated as some sort of charlatan.  Saying you need ORIGINAL, signed letters implies that I forged my letters (I did not) and that I could not properly follow instructions (none were provided).  That whole communication made me disappointed to the point that it would not be fair to me, the zoo, or for the animals to volunteer my time.  Your consistent lack of clear communication, and, especially, your severe response sapped all my motivation to work for free at your zoo.  As such, I will not be mailing my letters of recommendation.  I suggest communicating expectations of volunteer requirements to your entire staff as well as making them clear on the application so that other hopefuls such as myself do not have to go through this same negative experience.  Thank you for your time.
7aurel 7ehl

Grandma Reathel

25 Oct

What do you say in these awkward essays that ask for a snapshot of who you are as a person? How could I possibly give you an idea of who I am in only a few pages? I could probably write books about my years, detailing every goal, triumph, and failure I have experienced. I agonized what to write for over a week before deciding that the best way for you to get to know me was by telling you about the most influential person in my life. I feel, in telling you about the close relationship I had with my paternal grandmother, you will learn about who I am and what type of person I aspire to become.

I was born on an Indian reservation in Montana. Being an only child, the youngest of three grandchildren, and the only granddaughter on my father’s side of the family, meant my grandmother and I had a special bond. My parents and I lived in a modest doublewide modular home, surrounded by trees. My father stayed home with me while my mom taught elementary students. One day, my dad met my mom at the door and said, “I can’t do it anymore!” He had read me a hundred books that day, and could recite “Pigs Say Oink” by memory. My grandma also watched me often and was never too busy to read me a story or listen to one of my made-up songs. Some of my favorite memories (and pictures) and the two of us lounging in bed, reading and giggling for hours. Aside from reading, I also enjoyed playing on my swing set in the yard and my grandmother would watch me while chatting with my parents at the top of the four stairs leading to the house.
On my third birthday, I was coming in from the yard, and fell on the stairs. They were those kind of stairs that you can see the ground through–not solid. Anyway, I slipped and hit my face on the porch. It bent my first two (baby) teeth clear to the roof of my mouth. I do not recall the pain from falling, but I do remember how the dentist recommended my mom pry my teeth back into place with popsicle sticks for weeks afterward. That was the worst part about the injury, but having my grandma there to comfort me made it a tiny bit better. I do not think the five years of orthodontics I suffered through as a teenager had anything to do with this accident, but I still don’t like stairs or bleachers that are not solid!
When I was a toddler, my dad would hunt and fish all the time. I would beg to go fishing with “Dat,” (my first word) and liking my company, he would oblige. Inevitably, I would get bored almost immediately and begin to throw rocks in the water. . . One time, my mother and grandmother also accompanied my father and me on one of our fishing trips. They were picking berries a distance away, and I was right with my dad who was sitting on the bank of the creek. Somehow, I managed to plunk in the water headfirst. My mom and grandma were frantic! My dad, fish pole still in hand, calmly reached in the water with his other hand and grabbed my right foot before it disappeared from view. He said, “Stay out of the water,” and unfazed, I replied, “OK Dat.” I have never been afraid of much.
My parents moved to Nevada, when I was four years old, to take advantage of better job opportunities. Being separated from my grandmother was devastating for both of us, and to make up for the distance we would call each other on the phone once or twice a week for hours at a time. We talked about the weather, how I was doing in school (straight A’s with a couple B’s in math), what my grandma had watched on television, just anything and everything. When my design was chosen to represent the elementary school’s walk-a-thon fundraiser, it was my grandma that I wanted to tell first! When my clogging team got first place at Broadway Bound, I immediately called my grandmother. I also cried to my grandma when my cat, Max, died, and when my other cat, Jellybean, ran away.
Even into my teen years, my grandmother and I kept up the tradition of our long, weekly phone call. She also wrote newsy letters often, and mailed cards and gifts–never missing even the smallest holiday. To this day, I try to emulate her thoughtfulness. Every other summer, my parents would make the drive to Montana to visit extended family. It was great seeing my grandma again! Back then, I aspired to publishing a beverage cookbook. Even when my experimental shakes weren’t so good, my grandma would drink the whole thing ooo-ing and awing appropriately!
One summer, my dad’s brother and his wife visited us in Nevada. It was special because extended family hardly ever made it down to see us. That and they would be there for my father’s birthday. While my aunt and uncle were in town, I took a break from the fun, and tried to call my grandma. The phone rang and rang, but sometimes she went to a social event or an appointment. I would try calling her later. Meanwhile, my parents and I showed my uncle and aunt the sights of Nevada: Reno, Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, and the capital building and mint in Carson City. It was very fun having them around! I tried calling my grandmother a second time that week, and again, the phone just rang and rang. I was starting to get a little worried. My mom assured me that grandma was a very busy lady, and was probably just running errands or out visiting one of her numerous friends. That made sense to me, but that night I dreamt of my grandma. In the dream, she had died and told me that she wanted me to take her house. I whined that I didn’t want the house–I wanted her. When I woke up the next morning, I was upset, but figured I had only had the dream because I had been so worried about missing our phone call. I would try to call again when I could.
Knowing that my dad missed the recreation of Montana, my uncle took my father camping and fishing for an early birthday present. Us girls planned a fun night in, complete with personal pan pizzas (mine BBQ flavored). We had just opened our boxes, wonderful pizza smells wafting in the kitchen, and the phone rang. It was my father’s sister, who only called at Christmas. Right then, I knew. I started crying uncontrollably, realizing my grandma had died, just like in my dream.
I do not like to think about the rest of that horrible night. I try to forget the strange way my aunt tried to distract me from breaking down by showing me yoga. I wish I did not remember I was wearing my jean shorts with green and white stripes down the sides and a “peace frogs” tank. I would rather forget the nice police officer who came to our door at 4 AM to tell us the bad news. Mostly, I would prefer not to still feel the loss of that night, which will always be with me.
Dad’s birthday forgotten, all of us headed to Montana. It was the first time my parents and I had driven to Montana two years in a row. It was also the first time I was old enough to help drive a portion of the seventeen and a half hours. While I was driving through a sparse stretch of highway in eastern Nevada, my mom asked my dad how he was doing. He said, “I’m back here praying,” which he meant to be a quip about my unseasoned driving. The wounds were so new, that I took him seriously and thought he was praying about my grandmother–instead of snickering like normal, I became unusually quiet.
I also vividly recall my grandma’s funeral. There were beautiful flowers, and photo collages (a lot of them featuring me) which my grandma would have loved. My grandma kept quite a few photo albums and spent a lot of time thumbing through them or showing the floral, bound photo albums to company. It is probably the reason I am so sentimental and currently keep my own scrapbooks up to date. There were also numerous people at the service. This made perfect sense, as my grandma had made friends everywhere she went. During the service, I was to speak about my close relationship with my grandma. I agonized for days prior to the service, trying to do my grandmother justice. I stood in front of everyone to share what I had written, but became very upset and cried in the middle of the eulogy. Never recovering my composure, I accidentally skipped a portion of what I planned to say. I was disappointed in myself for the rest of the afternoon, even though many people told me how beautifully I had done. I wished I would have done a better job for my grandma.
After the actual funeral, everything felt surreal. The way people kept showing up to my grandma’s green, two-bedroom house, digging items out of every closet, shelf, and cranny, and sorting them into piles on the green shag rug. How well meaning people kept telling me to take what I wanted. How could I possibly take any of my grandma’s few belongings? Just like in my dream, I did not want her stuff—I wanted her! I though it an odd ritual to sort possessions amongst family. I do not regret not taking much of my grandma’s things-I will always have my memories of her.
Strangely, my seventeenth birthday rolled around while my parents and I were in Montana settling the estate. In no mood to celebrate, I wanted to ignore it. My family, having the best intentions, gave me a cake. Whoever planned the surprise neglected getting candles, so my family made-do and placed plastic cutlery in the cake instead. I find it a peculiar memory, sitting heartbroken, in front of plastic forks and spoons, with relatives I hardly knew singing “happy birthday” to me. It was the first time I had ever been in Montana on an odd numbered birthday, and the last time I have ever been back. I can’t bear to think of someone else inhabiting my grandma’s house. And visiting family in my grandma’s absence seems heartrending.
The rest of the summer, I tried to distract myself. My parents even let me paint my bedroom the summer my grandma died. I picked the colors, ordered them at the store, and rolled two coats onto the walls all by myself. I left one wall the original mint green, painted one wall my favorite color, lavender, and did a light blue sky with clouds on the third wall. On the final wall, my parents allowed me to paint a mural over the new pastel yellow color. I painstakingly penciled an inch-by-inch grid on to the wall, found a picture of a large cat, and meticulously painted the cat over the next month. It turned out really well, considering I have no innate artistic talent or experience! My room looked colorful and gorgeous by the time school started, and all the work had distanced me from such extreme sorrow.
I was still heartbroken and looking for something to fill my time when I remembered how devoted my grandmother was to charity work. She religiously volunteered at her local Humane Society, and would take me with her when I was visiting. I loved petting the kittens and playing with the puppies while my grandma helped! Thinking about that prompted me to take initiative and resume my own volunteer work at the local veterinary hospital. A new veterinarian had just replaced the one I had volunteered with from fifth grade to eighth grade. Though I had previously accrued three hundred volunteer hours, and was really compelled to get a jump start on my career, when I got to high school, I became involved in numerous activities, and just stopped going. When the new veterinarian agreed to let me volunteer, I went avidly and still enjoyed it.
My grandma has influenced my entire life. Getting re-involved in the veterinary hospital the summer my grandmother passed away helped me get my foot in the door to my future career. Overall, I volunteered 660 hours at that veterinary hospital. The veterinarian there eventually hired me as an employee, and recommended I move to Missouri to take advantage of their wonderful animal science program. In moving to Missouri for college, I got more jobs, established more contacts in my field, and gained substantial experience with many different types of animals. I hope that the resume I have built up so much since that summer will enable me to be accepted to veterinary school in the near future. Without the events of that terrible summer, I may have never have regained my motivation to ardently pursue my future career.
I cannot name all the ways my grandma has shaped me, she is one of the most powerful influences on my life. Because of her, I always write thank you cards. She was very big on manners, and especially correspondence. I also try to get over my shyness and be friendly the way my grandma was. She would chat with her neighbors, show people my photo in the grocery store, and be congenial to delivery people. I also use my grandma as a moral compass, thinking, “Would I be proud to tell grandma about that?” before making important decisions. Her memory will always be with me and I think I am a better person for it.

Ideas of Fun

24 Oct


paint (animal anatomy-LL) 


play cards

cook a new meal (bananas foster, banana boats, spicy mangos)

go for a walk

 Go to the Y (take a class; climb the wall; new YMCA location

run around community college track

go to a bookstore

go somewhere and take photos

walk through Manito Park 

edit pics

do scrapbooks

read Indian/Elements/humor/etc books aloud to each other

do the microwave timed topic game of listing things

pack an actual pic-nic and take it to a park to eat

take a frisbee to the park

make a song together

write & illustrate our children’s book about frisk, frolic, rolic, and romp?

go to the painted caves


 feed the birds at Riverfront Park

go to a thrift store

make Christmas presents

design and purchase a cat tree

go camping

go see the big cats w/Aunt Linda

go to the food fests

go kiyaking


go to The German 

go to The Gorge

check out Pullman

drive to MT

see a concert

go to a Gonzaga game

drive to Seattle (and go to butterfly lounge)

go to Nevada (for NV Day or balloon races)

Motivation for Audiology

23 Oct

Every weekend of my childhood, my dad and I would go do the grocery shopping while my mom stayed home correcting papers, filling out report cards, or writing lesson plans.  It was our special time together.  We would drive the 30 minutes into “town” and my dad would grab a shopping cart only to “forget” it after the first stop.  I ALWAYS ended up being conned into pushing the shopping cart!  We would place the least costly brands into the cart according to what our list dictated.  This took awhile, as my dad is thrifty.

We went to a few stores, but the check-out process at each was always the same.  The friendly cashier would be pleased to see a father-daughter duo obviously enjoying each other’s company.  Maybe she would recognize us from weekends past and smile.  My dad would proudly say “This is my good helper-girl.”  It was a real heart-felt moment for the gals working the weekend shift probably encountering more tantrums and screaming than helpfulness and genuine affection.  Then, the part I hated would arrive.  She would read out the total.  I didn’t hate this part because we couldn’t afford the items she had scanned, or even because my dad fussed at the price.  Neither of those things ever occurred.  What did happen was my Dad’s inevitable, “What?”  The checker would repeat the number, and I would be so embarrassed, knowing what was to come.  My dad still didn’t hear what amount he should write on his check.  My face would flush, and the poor cashier, desperate to get her lines moving, would eventually just turn the written numbers toward my dad so he could see his total for himself.  It is from that mortification that I felt, that I want to help people with hearing loss.  My compassion for my beloved dad motivates me to help others like him.

Does It Even Matter At This Point?

22 Oct

Kim wrote me last night.  It sounds tired and trite even as I write it.  No, I am not stuck in some Groundhog Day moment–it just feels like this keeps happening again and again.  As always, I was excited (less so than in the past).  As always, I responded (but with more honesty).  As always, Kim’s words brought back bad memories, old issues, and sleepless nights.  No change there.

So again, no apology or explanation about why she cut off communication.  Just a friendly intro per the usual as if nothing had happened.  As if she didn’t suddenly drop me from her Facebook friend’s list (yeah, I accepted her new request) or write one sentence a year but never returned any comments or wrote again. . .

Some progress on the Mary front.  “She made Mary kick her out” by confronting her (FINALLY) about sleeping with the hairdressr.  I have to say, after all the hype, it wasn’t even worth hearing that Mary finally admitted that she did.  It was old news.  Everyone already knew–had known since 2007.  Before I ever got back there.  Everyone knew.  This should not have been Earth-shattering stuff in 2010. . .  

But the inevitable move out, break up, start from scratch occurred.  Mary didn’t want to be friends, and all the better for Kim, I say.  Ugh, WHY do lesbians always want to be friends with their exes?  It’s kinda morbid and it doesn’t work.  Once you have fucked someone the dynamic is forever different than superficial pals.  When will girl-loving-girls learn?  At any rate, Kim is back with family where she belongs.  But still worrying about how Mary has skewed the story (to her own advantage) in Dayton.  Well, enough of those rifts and stories and Dayton will get wise–or not.  Who.  Cares.  

The poor adopted–and then unceremoniously UNadopted little boy–was just a side-note to the main story.  Kim didn’t seem all that sorry that together she and Mary had ruined that little guy.  She talked about it very briefly in the context that Mary couldn’t handle him after Kim moved out for even 12 weeks.  That story still makes me ill and heart-sick.  With those two it’s like anybody else is just extraneous.  No care for the feelings of that innocent kid, and me to a much lessor degree.

Kim went on to say her beloved cat had died, but strangely didn’t mention the passing of her grandma that meant so much to her.  Maybe she knew I already knew about that.  She tells about a new cat (Gingi) and sums up with an acknowledgement that she hasn’t been the best at keeping in touch (you think?) and she will do better (heard it before).

I excitedly wrote back.  Why do I DO it?  I guess I didn’t say anything unexpected:  I’m glad she’s out of that situation and away from Mary, who cares what Dayton thinks, sorry about Buster-Brown, and I’m glad she’s close to her family again.  What I did mention was how the ordeal at the Cabin-Mansion messed me up to the point I still dream of it.  I told Kim I had been conflicted about Mary (she already knew my feelings on this matter) but I also told her I was angry at her.  Maybe I should not have used the past tense, since this blog is hinting at more anger and frustration towards Kim’s tenuous contact/relationship with me.  I went as far as saying I thought she had given up on herself and written me off.  I am proud of me for that I guess.  Maybe it wasn’t enough.

Last night, when I was awake and analyzing the past as I usually do when I hear from Kim, I thought about writing and telling her not to talk to me at all if she can’t keep the lines of communication wide open.  I thought maybe it would be better if I just told her it hurts me too much to hear snippets from her.  That it brings up all this toxic garbage that I think is over.  I guess we’ll see if she’s sincere about being friends now that she’s entirely away from Mary.