Posted by: yogavet | May 27, 2007

clean, clean, clean

My apartment is almost back to the level of spotlessness that it was when I left it for my externships… I’m getting there.  

This weekend has been absolutely beautiful, the perfect summer weekend.  Hot and sunny during the day, with a nice cool breeze so it wasn’t unbearable, then cooling off at night with spectacular thunderstorms (one is approaching right now… I love a good storm).  I do love summer, even though the temperature can sometime be a little much for me.  I love the fresh produce at local farmers markets, summer ales (Blue Moon’s new Honey Moon summer ale will change your life), growing flowers and herbs outside, kayaking on the lake, driving around with the sunroof open and the windows down, taking long bike rides…. I could go on and on  🙂  

On a completely different note, I got my car fixed the other day.  The check engine light had gone on and off 4 times, so I figured something was probably actually wrong.  :-p  So I brought it to my friendly neighborhood VW dealer, and they kindly told me that a valve had blown, that’ll be $380 please.  Two hours later I was reunited with my car, happy to pay the $380 and happy that it wasn’t more.  

In school, they tell us that a veterinarian has to be a delicate balance between car mechanic and pediatrician.  I love this analogy.  We’re like pediatricians because our patients are vulnerable, cannot speak for themselves, cannot tell us what is wrong, and have third parties making medical decisions for them.  However, we’re also like mechanics because according to the law, animals are property.  A owner can come in and ask for as little or as much service as they want, and as long as it isn’t cruelty or neglect, we’re obligated to give them what they want (within the realm of our own ethics, which does thankfully come in to play).  Day in and day out we walk this line between pediatrician and mechanic.  

My experience at the dealership made me think about the situation vets are in.  Now, I know that it’s human nature to complain.  We all complain about the price of gas, skyrocketting tuition costs, and various other insults to our pocket books.  And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the cost of veterinary medicine isn’t exempt.  But I swear, nearly every time I get into a conversation with someone about my education or their pets, the conversation always drifts towards the fact that they believe they are being over-charged by their vet.  I never know what to say to that.  Sometimes I tell them that overall, veterinarians have the lowest salary of any other medical professional (it’s not even comparable, most of the time… we’re so far behind it’s scary).  Or the fact that human medical insurance has so far removed them from what their health care actually costs, that they have nothing to compare to.  But what struck me was my own attitude at the car dealership.  I was more than happy to pay $380 for a valve replacement, thinking I had lucked out in not having to pay upwards of $1,000 for the repair.  For a VALVE.  People have their cat’s uterus taken out, and if it costs $380 (which is such an unbelievable deal… if woman has a hysterectomy… ie. a “spay”, you don’t even want to know what the cost before insurance is) they bitch and complain that the vet is taking them for a ride.  The fact of the matter is, it’s all medicine, it’s all surgery, and the fact that we are doing it on a teeny 4 lb kitten that you got for free at the pound doesn’t make it less challenging, or less techinical, than if it was a person.  

Alright, dismounting from soapbox now.  🙂 

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