Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Worry

Today my friend, Karen Maezen Miller, wrote a poignant post; 5 zen secrets to productivity. Number 4 is my current mantra: what we worry about most never comes to pass.

You see tonight I had to perform surgery on a dog. A very sweet gal who swallowed something that got stuck. So we went in to retrieve the object and identify it (if possible). We found that object, only it wasn't where I thought it would be. Rather than in the small intestine it was in the large intestine.

Now you would think if this foreign body could eek its way through the small bowel then it ought to pass through the large bowel. That was not the case tonight. Despite the best of coaxing it would not budge. And therefore I chose to surgically removed it. Which is fine. Only the colon is a fussy organ and doesn't heal nearly so well as it's smaller cousin. So here I sit hoping, praying, I made the right decision and this dog heals without serious complication. On this only time will tell and all the worrying in the world will not change the outcome.

So I am doing my best to push worry out into the cold as she is not a welcome guest. This is easier said than done. It seems she knows all the cracks and crevices. If the door is locked she creeps in through the window. With the windows sealed she crawls down the chimney.

In this profession, despite our extended educations and best intentions, shit happens; literally and figuratively. This is not news. It's statistics. Only, as Karen so eloquently pointed out, the shit typically hits the fan when least expected. So I need to chill out, stop worrying and simply deal with the mess when it happens.

For now I'll focus on being acutely present and enjoy the beauty that surrounds me each and every day. For instance I am currently enamored with the sweet purple flower pictured above. It bloomed in my garden this fall and for the life of me I don't remember planting it.

Tell me -- how do you kick worry to the curb? And, just for fun, bonus points if you guess what was removed from tonight's patient.


Karen Maezen Miller said...

I love you and I love the dog. That's the best and most I can bring to it - no matter what. Praying with you.

Shalet said...

Thank you Karen! I love you too!

Kelly said...

It is what it is, and what it will be, will be what it is.... that's what worry seems to be in my life, no beginning and no end. If you find the answer please
As for the secret object in the bowel...maybe a rock? Have a worry free day!

Shalet said...

As far as I know so far so good on surgical recovery. The dog went home and hasn't yet returned this weekend.

A rock is a very good guess but alas it is wrong. Any other guesses out there?

Sharon said...

hello there! i am loving your blog.....sick doggie and all. i came to you through maya...oh and visit me at and check out life on our farm....well done you!

Amy said...

Hi Shalet! I'm here from Maya's blog as well. My husband is also a vet, and does a lot of emergency work, and a good, solid amount of digging objects out of doggies. I'll be thinking good, healing thoughts for your sweet patient.

One of our own dogs is notorious for eating rocks when she can get them. Most of them have passed, but Dog-Dad has famously had to remove two from his own pup over the years--happily, he's a darn good surgeon, even when he's both doctor and client. (We try to clear every rock we can from her path, but every once in awhile, she outsmarts us.)

As for what your patient might have swallowed, I think I've heard too many stories of foreign bodies over the years to even begin to guess--though rocks, socks, and underwear are always popular! (When Brian worked in Penn's emergency room as a tech years ago, one dog was notorious for having eaten the television remote control...three times. Unbelievable.)

Off to investigate your lovely looking shop!

Tanya said...

My guess is a ball. Dear old Indy-dog was always swallowing balls. We were always banning them but they seemed to wander over neighbour fences. One day I noticed he was not at all well and was even bringing up water but was becoming more and more dehydrated. The scan found a ball, like a squash ball lodged tight as in his duodenum. The surgery went well but his kidneys had suffered terrible damage. With wonderful vet care he lived another 12 months and was the bravest dog I've ever had. So remember readers, dogs are like toddlers and keep medications and small objects out of reach.

Shalet said...

All good guesses. This particular evil object was a peach pit. Not the first I've removed from a dog but the first to have to be removed from the colon.

Still so far so good on my patient. She did not return to the e-clinic this weekend.

*fingers crossed*

I now have a new patient to worry about (or try not to worry about) -- a sweet stray kitty with a pelvic fracture. As I type he sits smack in the middle of my living room (in a carrier of course). My mission today is to create some sort of convalescent kitty condo for him to heal in.

I would be the one to wear the scarlet letter "S" for Sucker.

Thank you ladies for all your kind words. It really does help to abate the worry.

Deanna and Joe said...

First time to your blog today, but it will be added to my favorites.

The easiest way to step away from worry is to give it to God. He wants it anyway and He is the one who told us we are not to worry. To be honest, of course, it is not always easy, but it works.

I am a huge animal lover. Poor kitty. Kitties are my favorite.

Shalet said...

Nothing worth doing is easy 'eh? Thanks for stopping by -- I hope to see you back soon!

Gayle said...

I know worry too well. I really needed to read this today, Shalet. Thanks!