Archive | 12:53 AM

Audiology Essay Outline–Maybe

9 Jun

This has been sitting in my drafts for so long, that I can’t remember how much it is or isn’t updated.  So I’m going to publish it.  Again.


Intro about non-direct path

vet story of non-verbal communication [short, short, short]

Cat Cues:

Squishing to the back of the carrier or kennel

big, dilated eyes

pinned ears

swatting with paws

turning head or body quickly

becoming stiff

scrunching head close to the body (neck disappears)

hunching to counter

grabbing with paws (looking to climb)

eyes darting around

trying to hide head

edging off exam table

hair standing up


rolling over

kicking with back feet

snapping jaws

shopping with my dad

finish vet vitals [short, short, shorter!]

talk about what audiology avenue I want to pursue [spend most time here]

I never did anything the easy way. Following my own path and taking my own, meandering route is just what I do. My journey to audiology was not a direct one. I veered through pre-veterinary studies before coming back around to my initial interest of helping people like my father.

This path was not time wasted though.

Every weekend of my childhood, my dad and I would go do the grocery shopping.  It was our special time together.  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.  Seeing genuine affection and helpfulness was probably a welcome break from the normlacy of screaming and tantrums the employee encountered during the majority of the weekend.  My dad would proudly say “This is my good helper-girl.”

Then, the part I hated would arrive.  The checker would read out the total.  I didn’t hate this part because we couldn’t afford the items 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.

Growing up, I had no idea audiology existed.  Like most little girls, I was determined to be a veterinarian and work with animals.  Unknowingly, I was honing my communication skills especially non-verbal ones as my career trajectory led me toward veterinary medicine.  In my current job as an animal assistant at a feline exclusive veterinary hospital, I have to quickly asses cat temperaments so I can collect vitals and help with medical procedures.

The owners set the green cat carrier on the exam table and I announced I would be taking some vitals, in a cheery voice.  With my right hand I unlatched the door, and peered inside the cave.  Behind the worn towel was a crunched ball of orange and white fur.  Despite his large frame, Scrappy was trying to become as small as possible in order to evade the uncomfortable veterinary visit he was about to endure.  Unpreturbed, I reached in and scruffed Scrappy with confidence, tugging him toward the door and asking the owners to provide resistance by holding the kennel in place.  I joked that Scrappy was doing the “kitty splits” as he splayed his legs in all directions in a final attempt to remain in the safety of the box, which I’m sure he fought tooth and nail to not enter at home.

Finally extricated from the box, I suggested the owners take away temptation by putting the carrier on the exam room floor.  Scrappy, hunched to the counter, was still trying to be invisible to my probing hands.  His ears were pinned and his eyes were darting wildly searching for any escape route.  He tried to creep toward the edge of the counter and settled for burrowing his head under the crook of his mom’s arm as I fitted the stethoscope to my ears and took Scrappy’s heart rate–as expected it was accelerated.

Next, I needed to get Scrappy’s weight.  While asking the owners about the brand of food he ate, and his eating habits, I picked him up to get the number of pounds we were dealing with.  I could feel Scrappy’s body stiffen.  He was shaking with fear, and I knew if I did not leave him alone, which I couldn’t just yet, that given the chance, he would scratch or bite to get away from me.  While maintaining the conversation about Scrappy’s water consumption, I tried to scruff the chubby cat, but he defensively scrunched his head, making his neck disappear entirely.  I held him close to my body and well away from my face then kept my hand on him when I put him on the scale.

“15 pounds!” I announced as I carefully placed Scrappy back on the exam table.  He whipped around and I yanked my hands out of potential harm’s way.  Scrappy had a mind to bite me to get away, but after I gave him a moment held himself together.  I gave his ears a pet and he relaxed somewhat.  His owners cooed at him and gave him lovins and he settled down further.  I was pretty certain I could obtain a rectal temperature without him flying off the table in a fury.  As his owners were distracting him I eased up his tail and planted the thermometer.  Nine seconds can be so long!  At first, oblivious to what was going on behind him Scrappy soaked up the attention.  Then, he gave me a sideways glance, stiffened his posture, and I could see his hair begin to stand up.  He turned and swatted at me with his claws just as I removed the instrument.  “100.5, right in the normal range!”  I sang out.  “I’ll have the doctor in as soon as she is available.”

Using both verbal communication with the owners and non-verbal cues from the kitty I was able to obtain a history on the patient, collect quantitative data for the veterinarian, and soothe both people and pet.