Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another turning point in my life

It's been a bit since I've written for this blog and I'm sure it's feeling a bit neglected. Saying I've been a busy has been an understatement, but still that is no excuse. I started up both of my blogs as a way to express myself and to get my name out there. As a writer, name recognition is extremely important, but at the same time it feels a bit strange to toot my own horn all of the time. I'm going to have to get over that and fast. If I keep staying in the shadows and lurking, I just might miss out on a few opportunities of a lifetime.  

As many of you already know, I've always been writing in one form of another. My poetry has been my lifeline over the last two years and I think I've grown as a writer because of it. Many of my poems were the inspiration for the novels in two of my current series. The Vixen, the Witch and the Daemon has spawned a whole new world and an entire series that I will call Songs of Fate. Creating that world is taking a lot of time, not to mention a lot of notebooks! I have to remember that I can't whip out a book a month with this story line or any other. I work full time as a veterinarian still and have other responsibilities such as my shop on Etsy.com.  Reading about how many other authors seem to be about to crank out their work at the speed of light, sometimes makes me feel inadequate. Well, maybe that's not the right word. I feel like I'm not committing myself completely to my craft and that makes me very sad and sometimes makes me go through a sort of writer's block.  As you can see, being blocked, makes the sadness even worse. 

I've thought long and hard about this. I gave 19 years to a wonderful career as a veterinarian and in the process put everything else on hold. It's time I take control again and find the balance so that I can devote more time to my writing and build a fan base.  I'm in a place in my life now, that I am able to do this because of my Muse/boyfriend. He makes it all possible for me to be able to not stress the small stuff...and some of the big stuff...and just write. He's my biggest fan and without him in my corner, I know I would still be holding myself back with the phrase "some day I will be able to write full time."  Well, that some day is going to be a lot sooner than I ever thought possible.

Don't get me wrong, I am proud to be a veterinarian and on most days I can say I really love my job, but the passion I had for it is no longer there. Early in my career, the world was so new and the opportunities open to me so vast that each day was an adventure. It's still enjoyable, but now more routine and yes, predictable.  Now my allergies are getting worse. I have to take diphenhydramine (benedryl) daily in order to walk into our hospital. We have a lot of rabbit and rodent patients and unfortunately they are the cause of my discomfort. I don't see them, but their dander and hair is still present and it's what I am allergic to. All of that is airborne and I can't escape it when I am at work. The last two months has been rather miserable with rashes and itchy skin. I may have to switch antihistamines to get some relief, but in the end the best course of action is to remove myself from the source.

Within the next six months to a year, I will be cutting my days back at the veterinary hospital. It's both sad and exciting to me at the same time. Saying goodbye to what has been a huge part of my life for such a long time hurts like hell. But if I don't do this, I will continue to say "some day" and put off the other things I wish to pursue in my life with my Mo Anam Cara, my Muse. He's opened a whole new world for me that I always knew existed, but was afraid to give it a go.  Now I can.  With him by my side, I can finally be me again.

Today I ordered print copies of my book of poetry and For the Love of Quinn. Within the next week I will have actual print copies of my work in my hands. I guess at that moment I will finally allow myself to acknowledge that I am a published author and people are reading my work...even on iTunes!  LOL!  Now to get back to work on my next masterpiece!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Honor and Privilege of Caring for a Pet

Here we are once again in the world of my day job as a small animal veterinarian. After nearly 19 years of taking care of my furry four-legged patients, I can honestly say I have seen just about everything. Does that mean I am not still surprised or shocked by the behavior of some "pet guardians?" Far from it! I don't think there is a day that goes by that I'm not bewildered by someone's lack of knowledge when it comes to the medical care their pet needs, but what has to get under my skin more often than not, is the willingness for some to believe any advice given to them by anyone who is not a veterinarian. You should hear the reasons that come up to defend why these people haven't brought their pet in for a routine check up before the animal becomes deathly ill.


I've heard it all. 


"My breeder told me not to get any vaccinations until Spot was six months old." Vaccinations start around 8 weeks of age and are given every month until they are 4-41/2 months old. This schedule is done in order to get past the mother's antibodies that could still be circulating in their system. There is no set time that these antibodies can still be present, but usually by the time they are 4 months old, they are gone. At that point, that last booster will be able to protect the pet for a year.  Only one booster is not enough for most of them. These vaccines need at least a series of two in order to boost the immune system properly.  Waiting until six months old is just putting your pet at risk for coming in contact with a disease they cannot fight off.


"You took an oath. You have to take care of my pet at no charge." I did take an oath and here is what I pledged.


"Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine,
I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills
for the benefit of society
through the protection of animal health,
the relief of animal suffering,
the conservation of livestock resources,
the promotion of public health
and the advancement of medical knowledge.

I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity
and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement
of my professional knowledge and competence."



No where in there does it say I have to give away my services for free. Yes, there are circumstances where I do euthanize an animal who is in a lot of pain whether or not the owner has the money to pay for it.  The bottom line is that it's the pet owner's responsibility to do the best they can to take care of their pet's needs. Sometimes we are able to do some services at a greatly reduced rate due to the generosity of other clients and community programs. Unfortunately, these funds do run out quickly and have strict rules about how the money gets distributed.


"All you vets care about is money."
So not true! We got into this profession because we love animals and want to help keep them happy and healthy. All we have is our knowledge. That office call/exam charge covers the physical exam, discussion of our findings and our recommendations as well as answering any questions you may have. For new puppies and kittens, this first exam can be a long one especially for new pet owners. We want to make the experience of owning and caring for a pet enjoyable for the whole family.


We call owners back with results of their pet's blood work usually the following day. How many of you can say the same for your own physician? Not only do we put in 10-12 hour days at least 4 days a week seeing patients, we perform surgery, review blood work, review x-rays, perform in house testing such as cytology of ear swabs to diagnose infection, skin scrapings to look for mites. We council our clients through all stages of their pet's lives from females giving birth to their first litters, to helping the children understand the loss of their 'best friend" to cancer.  Physicians do some of that during their day, but not all of it. I would like to see them do all of it and with more than one species! Oh, for less than 1/4 the salary to boot!


"I can't afford to vaccinate this new puppy. I spent my rent money to get her in the first place. When she starts having pups then I'll get her the shots."
If you don't vaccinate her when she is a puppy, she will be at risk of catching life threatening diseases. If she is lucky enough to make it to breeding age without vaccines, then her pups will not be protected when they are born. So if they are exposed to parvo for example, not only could you lose the entire litter, you could lose the breeding dog you got in the first place. No dog. No pups. No money.


"Yeah, three days ago after I saw my dogs eating the D-con I called that poison control hotline. They told me to bring them in right away to a vet, but I didn't do it. They seemed fine then, but now they are really weak and don't look so good."
This actually happened not too long ago. This case broke our hearts. If the owner would have taken the advice right in the beginning, we could have saved both of his dogs. Instead, the poison worked it's way into their systems, interfered with their body's ability to clot and both young dogs were bleeding to death.  The owner brought them in too late.


"What do you mean, my dog has diabetes? That's a human disease!"
Animals can get diabetes, epilepsy, cancers of all kinds, autoimmune diseases, allergies, allergic reactions, poisoned by foods and medications that are technically safe for humans, severe arthritis, cognitive disorder (similar to Alzheimer's disease), liver failure, kidney failure and heart failure. That's just the short list!

"Can't you just call up Hawaii and put a rush on the paperwork? I am moving next week and want to take my dog with me and don't have the time to go through all the testing they require."
Sorry, no we can't. Other countries around the world make up their own rules for entry. Hawaii does the same. These areas are considered free of Rabies and they want to keep it that way. No amount of begging on anyone's part is going to change their rules. If you want to travel to Hawaii, or out of the United States in general, do your research! Call the embassy of the country in question and ask them their latest regulations. DO NOT go by what the airlines tell you!  They haven't got a clue what the countries require and could care less if your pet is rejected at the borders.




Yes folks, people actually say things like that to me and other veterinarians. It gets worse. There are breeders out there that put in their contracts to not trust veterinarians because we "just want to give them vaccines they don't need. Everyone knows that there hasn't been a case of distemper in years."  Oh really?  Don't know what rock these people live under, but diseases like distemper and parvo are still around, very contagious, and deadly.


"Dogs in the wild eat bones so it's just fine to give raw or cooked bones to your pets at anytime."  
No, it's not. Most dogs do not chew these up properly at all and pieces become stuck trying to pass. These are medical emergencies!


It's not cheap to treat these very ill animals. You can't "just give them a shot" and make it all better. They need fluids, antibiotics, anti-nausea medications, sometimes blood or plasma transfusions in the case of some poisons, dialysis as in the case of antifreeze ingestion, and even surgery to remove pieces of bones that have become lodged in the intestines. We don't think of these things when looking at that cute puppy or kitten up for adoption, but maybe we should. 


That free kitten you got outside of the grocery store is adorable, but now you have another 12-18 years to care for it. First there are vaccinations, dewormings, flea control, heartworm prevention and neutering all by the time the animal is six months old. There are annual exams and some vaccinations, food, bedding, litter and litter boxes, and grooming if the cat has long hair.  If you live in a small studio apartment, one kitten/cat is fine, but don't try to squeeze in 3 or more. You need to provide them with one litter box per cat plus one additional one in order to keep the peace even if you allow your cats to go outdoors. If you don't, you will create a situation where the cats are crowded, stressed and urinating all over the place to show their displeasure besides the inevitable fights between them, or  god forbid them attacking you.


Your veterinarian wants you and your pets to have long and healthy lives together. They want to work with you to accomplish this. It's not one size fits all. You need to find a veterinarian you feel comfortable with and who you feel will help you offer the best care for your furry friend. Get out and interview veterinarians to find the best fit for you. Tour the hospitals and clinics in your area. Find out where the emergency clinics are if the local veterinarians do not have emergency hours.  If you invest the time and effort, you will have a veterinarian and nursing staff that you can trust.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Special price for my book of poetry

Hello my friends!
I'm excited to announce that the Smashwords edition of my book of poetry will be offered at 37% discount through January 14th. All you have to do is enter the following coupon code and you get Follow Me: Poetry from the Heart and Soul for just $2.50.

Here is the link https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/118909

And here is your coupon code!  Feel free to share it with your friends and family, but remember it's only good until January 14th.

JB53Y


Another exciting announcement: Smashwords informed me today that my poetry book will be sent out to their premium catalog markets.  These include Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony and hopefully Amazon.  They are working some digital details out with Amazon so that one may take a bit to have this book,. but I may just decide to put out a true Kindle version through Amazon itself.  Until then, if you have a Kindle, you can get the kindle version straight from the Smashwords webpage at the link above.

I hope you all enjoy my poetry. Please let me know what you think!

Blessed be

Tammy

Here's the trailer too!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Looking back on 2011

Washington State coastline
Here it is once again. Another January 1st nearly over and it doesn't seem like a day that stands out. It feels just like any other all things considered. The last week has been a bit of a whirlwind. My love Liam and I traveled to Oak Harbor, Washington for his grandmother's funeral. I couldn't let him go alone and I am so grateful to my coworkers for juggling the schedule a bit so that I could drive up there with him. It's an 18 hour drive in good weather.  You know since I mentioned the weather there had to be some problem, but we only had a bit of rain and high winds slow us a little bit.

I was a bit nervous going up to basically meet a lot of his relatives for the very first time. All of that faded away when we entered the church for the viewing and sharing of stories about their family matriarch. I was immediately taken aback by how much Liam's family was like my own. Both are large clans full of life, love and laughter even in a time of sorrow.  Yes, they missed their loved one dearly, but they were not there to be sad, but to celebrate her life.  That is what my family has always done as well.  I felt like I had always been in that family and had known their grandmother my whole life because of the love that shined through from each and every one of them.  This amazing woman had six children, over 20 grandchildren and over 40 great grand children. Two are still on the way!  Their family continues to be blessed and I for one am so lucky to have been included in their celebration.

At the gatherings after the viewing and again after the funeral, the conversation, laughter and smiles continued full force...and loudly!  I loved every single moment of it!  The conversations all going on at the same time and people actually able to follow them all was again nostalgic for me. I am the oldest of six children. My mother is one of six as well. So picture all of us together, all the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in one house.  Food, drink and nonstop conversations, discussions, laughter and yes a few tears from a few of the small ones colliding into each other after a bit too much play.  THIS is family to me. THIS overwhelming wonderful group of people who you may not see very much of over the years, but when they are needed, will rally around and be your rock and support when you need it the most.

Being 2500 miles away from my clan has been very hard for me over the last 10 years. Sure, I made the trip home a few times and each time I was rejuvenated and could make it a bit more on my own.  Now having shared this with Liam and his family, I feel whole again.  I know that may sound a bit strange to some of you reading this, but being in the middle of all of the family "chaos" gave me peace.  It also helped me make up my mind that I will make sure I visit my family in Michigan at least once a year and maybe some day in the future Liam can make the trip with me and meet my nutty, fiercely loyal and loving family too.

May the New Year bring each and every one of you laughter, smiles, hope and peace. May you find your inner Beacon and let it shine for all the world to see.  May the next phase of your journey through life bring you closer to your heart's desire...and maybe even help you achieve it!

Blessed be...
Tammy