Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Battle Rages On and the Pain Cuts Deep: #SufferInSilence with Compassion Fatigue

Hello my friends. I hope you're all doing well. I come to you today with a heavy heart and soul. As many of you know, I'm a veterinarian in my "real" life. I've been at this job for over 23 years, through many highs and lows. Right now I'm about as low as I can get. 

Working in an emergency veterinary hospital has taken it's toll on me. I thought I'd be able to cope with just two days a week there and the rest with another general practice hospital. It's not working out as I'd envisioned. Over the last two weeks alone, I've had to end the pain and suffering of twenty patients. One shift...yes that's one 12 hour shift SEVEN of them came in at once. All from different families. All for different reasons. It was bad enough that one of the other families in the lobby burst into tears with having to witness the heartache of those who had to say goodbye to their pets.

Take a moment and think about that scene. This family who had no contact with those pets were crushed with the sadness. My techs helped me with those patients. They were able to rotate so not one had to do them all. I was the lone person who had the task to euthanize each and every one. 

I use my poetry as a form of therapy to help me express the emotions swirling around in my mind when I can no longer speak through the tears.

Suffer in Silence

The Noblest of Professions
Calls to those with caring hearts.
No one tells you about the secret
That will tear your soul apart.

Bit by bit it eats away at your humanity.
To survive you must shut off your emotions
Or your mind gives up
And crosses over into insanity.

Happy, joyous occasions
Become fewer and farther between.
As our patients grow older,
Their bodies become frail and lean.

Still we’re expected to soldier on,
With a smile on our face. N
Never mind the price we must pay
With each and every case.

By our hands one more life is ended.
Their pain they suffer no more.
But who grieves for us
When yet another is carried through the door?

The Noblest of Professions…
That much is true.
Would anyone want to still be a part of it
If they knew what they’d be asked to do?

Ending another’s suffering comes at a price
That in the end is far too steep.
Could you stand by as the end draws near
And not allow yourself to weep?

Someone must take up the mantle.
Someone must know what to say
To those whose pets suffer so,
Whose broken lives must end today.

The members of the Noblest of Professions
Die a little every day.
We remember each life we’ve held in our hands
The loss of our hearts is the price we must pay.

The Noblest of Professions must carry on
And Suffer in Silence.
To do anything else would make them appear
Self-absorbed, uncaring, and defiant.

Truth of the matter is
We suffer every day.
We carry the burden.
Our compassion is the other price we must pay.

Will you take up the mantle?
Could you die a little every day?
Will you heed the call of the Noblest of Professions
Even knowing the price you must pay?

©Tammy Dennings Maggy June 13, 2016

The hardest part of this job is holding these lives in my hands and letting them go. Yes I know I'm ending their pain and suffering. I know their quality of life is poor and they're no longer enjoying life as a happy, carefree pet. I know this and that's how I'm able to perform the task...

Asking me to do it over and over and over again during the same shift or even within a couple days is more than I can bear. It's more than anyone should have to bear. 

Before you stand up and shout, "It's your job" put yourself in my shoes for one moment. Put yourself in the shoes of the family in the lobby the night so many pets came in for their last goodbyes. The ages of these animals range from very young to ancient. Some have lived long lives filled with love and others have known only sickness and pain in their short lives.

Being their advocate takes compassion, courage, strength and love. Unfortunately there isn't an unlimited well from which we can draw from to keep filled with all we need to help those who cannot speak for themselves. THIS is what wears us down. THIS is why we burn out. THIS is why veterinarians have now surpassed all other medical professions as having the highest suicide rate.

I've battled depression since my pre-teens. This is so much more.

The nightmares are the worst. Tired all the time? That's part of my traveling for work and trying to be all things to all people—or is it?

Looking at that list I'm sure all of us can relate to at least half of the symptoms but how many of you have a job where you have to continue to buck up and soldier on?

I'm not asking for your pity. 
I'm asking you to look after your loved ones who are members of medical professions where they have to deal with life and death on a daily basis. Get them to take time off even for just a weekend away. Find support groups for them and for you so you will know how to help get them through.

Until next time, 

The Fat Chick 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Closing in On the Big Five Oh: #FatChick Zips Through the Last Year of Her Forties

I've had more than a few people ask me if I'm freaked out about turning fifty later this year. They're always shocked to hear my answer...

I. Can't. WAIT!!!!

For me, turning fifty is a huge milestone to be celebrated and not feared. While there are some things I would have done differently in my life, I wouldn't change the overall outcome. My experiences shaped who I am today. Literally and figuratively.

The heartache and pain I've lived through has made me a stronger woman, one who doesn't take anyone's shit. On the other hand, those same experiences have created walls around me. I don't trust people easily. Not anymore. I've found myself in situations where I've placed my love and trust in people who used me for their own gain. They took what I was more than willing to give to them and left me in the cold.

As a result, I no longer take someone at face value. I don't open up  or let anyone into my inner circle right off the bat. They have to earn it. Sorry if that offends anyone, but when you get stomped on, lied to and lied about it's a necessary evil.

At fifty years old, I can finally get around those questions about having kids. I wasn't able to get pregnant after YEARS of trying with my first husband. He refused to go to the doctor to see if he was the problem. It was just one of many things that ended the marriage but another lesson learned on my part.

My current husband is my soul mate. Together we learned having children isn't in the cards for us and we've accepted it. We've talked about adoption but when we looked long and hard at our lives, TOGETHER we decided we don't wish to have children. Now that I'm approaching fifty, I won't have to deal with those who feel I'm being selfish for not having kids. I don't have to deal with the women who pity me for not being able to experience the joy of carrying my own child. At this age, if I were to get pregnant I could put my life and that of my unborn child in danger. Sorry, but going through a high risk pregnancy just so I can join the parenthood club would be the ultimate selfish act. 

I'm in the stage of my life where I can be selfish in other areas. I've worked hard in my career as a veterinarian and now as an author, poet and publisher. This is the time of my life where all the hard work is beginning to pay off.

This is the time where I'm once again taking charge of my health—a never-ending quest to lose weight, keep my diabetes under control, and enjoy all life has to offer. At forty-nine going on fifty, I've actually paid my dues and EARNED the right to slow down and enjoy my life. 

Turning fifty will be the celebration to kick off the next phase of my professional and personal lives. Veterinary medicine will take the back seat to my writing. Both will stand in line behind my plans to see more of this country. There is so much I want to experience and it's all out there. All I have to do is take the leap of faith and have a ball!

Follow your dreams!
~The Fat Chick

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Crock or Pot: #FoodVixen Is All About the Chili #foodporn

Fellow Foodies!

Welcome to my Culinary Escapades. This week I had a hankering for chili, more specifically MY chili. I developed this recipe when I bought my first crock pot. The little book of recipes included in the package had one for chili. I tried it out and it turned out okay.

But something wasn't quite right.

I found another recipe in one of my other cookbooks and compared the two. I liked the flavor of both dishes but wanted something more...with a little bit of a kick. So I combined the two into a basic recipe of my own that I can change up depending on my mood. 

The end result is what you see in the photo. Besides browning the meat in a skillet, everything else can be thrown into a crock pot or large soup pot on the stove to cook together and marinate the flavors together into the perfect bowl of chili.

Don't like meat? Don't put it in there. Want ground turkey instead of ground beet? Go for it. More or less beans? Your choice. Don't like chunky veggies? Cut them up as small as you want them to be. Sometimes I want chunks of tomatoes in there so I use diced canned tomatoes. Other times like for the pot above, I used a can of crushed tomatoes.

The amounts of seasonings listed in the recipe below are approximates based on taste. You can add more or less to suit your own preferences.

The choices of combinations are endless. This is a basic recipe. Take it and make it your own!

The Vixen's Chili

Brown 1 to 2 pounds of ground beef or turkey. Drain and set aside
1 large can (30 ounces) tomato sauce
1 large can (30 ounces) canned tomatoes (your preferred variety)
2 cans (15 ounce each) dark red kidney beans
1 medium to large yellow onion chopped
1 to 2 bell peppers chopped: I use one green and one red
1 to 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons cumin
3 to 6 tablespoons chili powder

Mix all ingredients together in a large pot on the stove. Cook on medium high heat until starts to simmer. Then turn the heat down to low to continue to simmer until ready to serve. During this time, the veggies will soften and add their flavor to the sauce.

Crock pot: combine all ingredients in the crock and cover. Set for your desired time. This dish can be done in 4 to 6 hours or slow cook for 8 to 10 depending on your schedule. 

Go on and have fun with this recipe and let me know how it turns out!


~Food Vixen