Friday, 26 November 2010

Working Relationship

When I was a young slip of a lad (which is rapidly becoming far longer ago than I care to comfortably admit), love seemed a very long way away. This was no bad thing, because at the time I was dreaming of dragons, and swords, and all manner of things generally deemed unhealthy for a young chap to think about, but which never did me any harm. (Quiet! Who's blog is this, anyway?)

The years have passed, and I have achieved many things of which I am proud, some of which I am not proud at all, and some ambitions which have never come to pass (like never managing to get a 20th level magic-user. Bah. I suppose our dreams must surpass our reach, though). But, of all the things that bring me happiness and pleasure in my absurdly forrtunate life, the greatest is the happy series of accidents which allow me to hold a cat's small intestines out of the way so that the woman I love can stitch up its diaphragm.

My wife and I work together, which to some people would sound like a cruel and unusual punishment, or at least fodder for a crappy 'gentle' sitcom, but for me it is a source of pleasure and fun, and more than anything else makes my job an awful lot easier.

If I go on in this manner of how blessed and happy I am to have such a beautiful, loving and lovely wife I suspect you are likely to vomit all over your computer, so I'll try and explain why before too many electrical goods are wrecked. (Also, as I'm tapping away here it occurs to me that this particular entry seems to have more than a touch of 'luvviness' about it, rather than my usual alcohol-fueled misery. It can't be a coincidence that I've just finished reading Stephen Fry's autobiography, and if this torrent of sugary cheerfulness is too much for you to take, then please send Mr Fry an angry letter of complaint. It's definitely all this fault.)

My wife and I are fortunate to have a similar attitude to work. Fortunate because it prevents blazing rows in the practice, which would be awkward and embarrasing for our nurse and vet colleagues, and distressing for clients and their animals (although I can't help feeling that a blazing row would be closer to the 'family' atmosphere we like to promote at our practice than the more usual good-natured abuse). We like to get on with things - if there's an op on the board, or somone in the waiting room, we'd like to operate on them, or take them into our consulting room (hopefully not getting the two the wrong way round), and get the job done. If there's something outstanding, we find it difficult to sit down, relax, have a coffee, read a textbook, ponder our next move.

This isn't the only way or working, nor is it the best, but it's the way we like to work and so it means we don't get frustrated with each other. It also means that when a cat with its stomach herniated up into its thoracic cavity comes in as an emergency, as happened this week, we know each other well enough to get on with the job at hand with a minimum of panic and stress.

It leads to a more-or-less harmonius working relationship. There are some drawbacks to working closely to a loved one. The principle one that springs to mind is that if another vet does something which we would do differently ourselves, we generally keep quiet about it and don't say anything. There's no right or wrong way to do things, after all, and a lot of approaches to cases work as well as each other (unless you're doing it differently to me. In which case, you're just wrong. Okay?). If I or my wife do something that the other considers to be wrong, however, we'll generally point it out to each other. Forcefully. Often prefaced with the phrase 'You bloody moron! Don't you know that...'

It also makes for very tedious talking-shop evenings at home. If we were more diligent, perhaps we would have a 'no-vet-talk at home' rule, but neither of us can quite muster up the energy to enforce such a thing. Plus, there is then the dreadful danger that either my wife will start talking about horses, or I will start talking about zombies or the imminent rise of the machines, and I think that the veterinary world is a slightly less tedious solution for us in these cases (though I would like to once again pledge my allegience to our metallic masters. Just in case.)

So, a happy working relationship, and blog that is, on the whole, cheerful! The only problem I have with my wife's veterinary abilities is that she seems to believe that surgery is, is some way, clever. Well, I'm sorry to tell you it's not. It's not big, and it's not clever. You could literally train a monkey to do it. It is not brain surgery (unless, y'know, it is). I'm proud to be a medic, and my feelings on this matter in no way reflect my own ability with a scalpel. At all.