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6 ways to make Thanksgiving memorable
Show respect for your clients, your profession, your family, and yourself over the holidays-leave work at work.
You're late, as usual, but you'll make it in time for the big family Thanksgiving dinner. And if you play your cards right, you'll give your loved ones the unforgettable night they deserve, sort of.
1 Relive the details of that case you left behind. On the drive, your boyfriend starts to tell you about his day as you speed dial the emergency clinic. Grateful that your transfer patient is doing well, you fill the e-clinic doctor in. "Oh gosh, that was the worst set of dead puppies ever! A week ago would have been fine, but they were puppy juice by tonight. And then the uterus just fell apart, so we stuck the suction hose in her belly and then the darn hose came loose and it sprayed all over. I think I'm gonna have to buy my tech some new clothes, I don't think she'll ever get the smell out of those. Then I ...
"Honey, why are we stopping? Are you OK? Oh dear, what did you eat for lunch, anyway?"
2 Cook up some trouble with the cook. Leaving the men in front of the TV, you find Aunt Bea in the kitchen stuffing the turkey. You munch on a celery stick as you make small talk. "Yeah, that stuffing reminds me of the poor dog we had in this week with really bad skin. The owner was something else. Old lady, had to be 50 at least and dressed like she was on her way to a Wiccan party. Figured she'd start spinning spells any time.
"All she did was whine about money and adjust her big red hat, and I wanted to send her for therapy. What a name she called herself—Sunbird—even signed her chart like that. Craaaazy lady," you laugh and make a twirling gesture around your head.
"Really, Auntie? Red Hat Society? Never heard of it. In your chapter? No, I didn't know that. How many years have you known her? Hmmm."
3 Share your expert opinion freely. In the dining room your sister waylays you, regaling you with the story of a friend of hers with a dog surgery gone wrong. After a few minutes you can't stand it any more. "That quack! Who did that surgery? She should get her money back and then some. You never use that kind of suture for that, and those were probably the wrong antibiotics. Malpractice if I ever heard of it. Tell her to get a lawyer."
Your dad comes out of the TV room to see what the noise is all about. You keep moving full steam ahead, exclaiming the faults of your colleague; soon your audience expands to everyone but Aunt Bea, who's still stuck in the kitchen.
4 Dish some dirt with the turkey. Eventually your dad asks how things are going at your practice. Grown up or not, he's concerned for his little girl's welfare.
"Oh, pretty good, dad. Working some long days because the boss is gone a lot. He's been working out at the gym, and spending time out of the office." You lean over to your dad's ear as everyone cranes his or her neck to hear.
"Personally, I think he's fooling around. There's this one client who always gets serious discounts, and I'm not allowed to see her pets, ever. He even does her dog's nail trims himself, and they talk for the longest time while I bust my butt on other cases. Boy will his wife be mad when she finds out. What's her name now ... Dad, why do you look so funny? Where are you going? Call who? Oh sheesh, does everyone know everybody around here or what?"
5 Make it clear that you know how the world works. You make a few jokes at dinner about gravy and exudates, but no one seems in the mood. Funny, they went over great at the last doctors' lunch you attended.
After dinner, you find yourself alone with your mom. She still considers you her baby, and you make great efforts to illustrate your independence. So you give her your emancipated woman talk. "Mom, it's not like things in the old days when you were young. We're different today—we can do it all.
"Sure, work and raise kids at the same time, why not? I can keep the kid in a run for the first few years while I'm at work. I have a few friends who do it all the time. Mom? Are you OK? Too much gravy?"
6 Pay no mind to who's around. Your boyfriend is quiet on the way home. That's OK, as you have a few calls to make. At your house he doesn't get out; he just sits silently with his forehead on the steering wheel as you finish your call. "Oh honey, you look ill. Better take some of this antibiotic, and get some rest." You fumble pills from your purse and blow him a kiss. "Don't want to catch anything, now do I?"
You jump as your phone rings. It's the emergency doctor, and before you can get inside, she starts a long story. You sit on the steps to the apartment and discuss the case, mindful of the stares you get from passersby. Must be that your professional tone is telegraphing your importance to everyone.
You disconnect and sigh. Work is so interesting. Life is good. Another wonderful Thanksgiving.
Dr. Craig Woloshyn
Dr. Craig Woloshyn, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member, shows respect for his clients, profession, and family at the Animal Medical Clinic in Spring Hill, Fla., which he owns. He also shares his advice through Sun Dog Veterinary Consulting. Please send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org