Archive for November, 2013

Traction – 5 Stars!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013


Get a Grip on Your Business 


Gino Wickman

Five Stars!


This is a wonderful book on taking your business – any business – and making it wildly successful.  The suggestions are sound, the methods are solid business recommendations and the results used as examples are those of excellent leaders manifesting that excellence and leadership in eventual business success that the author has taught and now explains in his book.  The recommendations seem reasonable and repeatable – as if any excellent leadership team could take them and run.  I loved it, and will return to the book and to its recommendations in Real Life.

The book was not, of course, about the author as some books are, but by the author as…well…all books are, and this type of book does not have a lot of personal information about the one writing, but I love a book with an underlying buzz of a great person writing it.  This book has the feel of being from the perspective of a well-grounded, kind, driven, principled person, and it makes it all the more enjoyable to read.

Thank you to Dr. Beth Davidow, DACVECC for the recommendation of this book!

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This is the last of my reviews of the books from the article  “24 Books to Change Your Life” by Tom McFerson in the June 2013 edition of Veterinary Economics.  A huge “THANK YOU” to the author for such a great reading list and to the contributors for the steady supply of books to read, many of which I would have otherwise accidentally missed!

Joy the Puppy Hurt Her Knee

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

On and off this year, Joy the Puppy, our four year old Lab X Something, has favored her left hind leg.  She will hold it up  and smile and wag her tail like a Lab with a damaged cruciate ligament, rest on Mom-prescribed Rimadyl and be back to her non-hind leg favoring, smiling, tail wagging self in a matter of days.

Joy Smiling

By the fourth or so episode of intermittent hind limb lameness (Kudos to YOU – You ALWAYS bring me your dogs on the FIRST or SECOND episode of lameness), I did a full physical and orthopedic exam and found to no one in the family’s surprise, because I had been saying it for months…Joy had torn her left cruciate ligament.

Nothing Phases Joy

The cruciate (“cross”) ligament is a double band of connective tissue behind the kneecap that stabilizes the long bones of the leg while allowing for all the movements the leg needs to make.  Except for sharp turns of down-hill skiers.  And sharp turns of football players who have already planted their cleats of the shoe holding the foot attached to the leg that is turning.

And dogs with degenerative ligament disease.  And sometimes cats.  Sometimes the cruciate ligament does NOT stabilize the long bones of cats who have degenerative ligament disease.  I have only seen cruciate ligament damage in ONE cat, and he had Cushing’s disease, a condition in which ligaments can be weakened and sometimes…tear.

ANYWAYS, Joy has the dog sort of cruciate damage secondary to degenerative ligament disease of unknown origin.  Yes, she most likely turned like a skier or a football player with two crucial (haha get it?) differences…

1.  In dogs, it is likely that cruciate disease is most often secondary to a degenerative process – It would most likely happen with or without injury.

2.  If the tear was hastened by an injury, Joy PROBABLY did not have an underlying noble cause like dodging a pine tree or catching a ball.  IF she indeed did make one or more tough-on-her-knee moves and IF she had a reason for turning on a dime and IF she could remember and IF she could talk….she would probably say, “it just seemed like it would be fun…and it was!”

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Surgery was scheduled with Dr. Merkley, one of two excellent veterinary surgeons in Omaha.  Dr. Merkley is also my surgery teacher from vet school last century, and I have always enjoyed learning from him and working with him.

Word to the wise – even if you love your surgeon and he is about to do a super cool surgery, ONLY go into the surgical suite with him if the surgery is NOT on your own pet.  Anyways, now I know.

Sleepy Joy

Surgery was about two hours long.  I sat next to Joy on the stretcher after surgery, both of us exhausted, she from her long morning of anesthesia and surgery and I from my long morning of observation and empathy.

Joy's Cool X-Ray

The procedure Joy had done is called a tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy, or TPLO.

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THANK YOU Doc, for fixing our dog.

THANK YOU Allison, for keeping Joy alive.

THANK YOU Boss, for discounting the portions of Joy’s adventure that were not the actual surgery so severely that I fear you may be as financially beaned by this case as are we.

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Joy is five weeks into recovery, and is doing great.  Client compliance has been an issue.  In fact, she just ran past me…on three legs.  Back to the leash *sigh*

I will never boss you to strictly rest your own pet again without a (even more) kind and (even more) sympathetic I-know-this-sucks comradery, that frankly, I have not felt this strongly since the strict rest I mandated for my own Wuzzy Rat during her recovery from spay surgery.


It is good for vets to occasionally get a taste of their own medicine, so to speak.


Joy hated the e collar she had to wear to prevent her from removing her skin staples. Abby continued to add stickers, decorative tape and jewels to cheer her.

Finally Abby painted the whole e collar with pink hearts and a green background.  That seemed to do the trick.

Finally Abby painted the whole e collar with pink hearts and a green background. That seemed to do the trick.

Three more weeks of STRICT rest, then post-recovery radiographs, then back to full activity.  We should be back to neighborhood walks just in time for the huge Christmas snow drifts!  It is a short chapter in a very long life.  I am so grateful that it has gone so well.

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Tidus the Puppy Contracts and Recovers from Parvo

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Tidus is my nephew Travis’s Pit Bull puppy.  He is the cutest and sweetest thing I have ever known.

He stopped eating for a day.

Tidus and Travis

He looked MISERABLE.  So did Travis.  My heart broke twice.

Tidus had received one vaccination against parvo disease at 7 weeks of age.  He was now four months old, and projectile vomiting liquid on abdominal palpation and projectile vomiting liquid with the movement it took to gently place him on the scale.

In house testing confirmed that Tidus did indeed have parvo, and it was hitting him hard.  His saving graces were a Dad who got him in quickly and a vet team crazy about puppy survival.

Tidus was hospitalized on aggressive fluid therapy, anti-vomiting medication, pain medication and antibiotics to guard against secondary infections.

Tidus, the lover of all things human and canine, was sentenced to solitary confinement, with minimal handling – and that by a gloved and gowned tech whose heart was breaking because she could not hold him on her lap and tell him all would (probably) be ok, but could only change his line and administer medication and replace his bedding (again) as aseptically as possible, and scrub and bleach after each encounter, to the detriment of her scrubs, socks and shoes, but to the salvation of our other canine patients and her pups at home.

Solitary Confinement Despite Stellar Behavior

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The team made a decision to give Tidus the warmest, fluffiest bedding we had, knowing full well that the decision was also one to do DAYS of Tidus-only laundry (now with extra bleach!) so that he could have the comfort and love of home, if not the snuggling and attention he was so used to and so craved.

Warms Now, Hugs (and Laundry) Later

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Everyone on the team made concessions so Brooke could handle Tidus for his whole stay, and they all saw all the dogs and all the puppies, and the parvo virus stopped here.  Everyone asked if Tidus was ok and how he was feeling, and everyone gave me the hugs they were wanting to give Tidus, because they knew my stomach hurt too, if only a thousandth of how much Tidus’s stomach hurt, as we all walked the puppy through this together.

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THANK YOU Docs.  THANK YOU Allison and Becky.  THANK YOU team.

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Everyone took care of Travis knowing Tidus is his world, and Grandma swooped so Travis could focus on Tidus’s recovery NOW and deal with the financial side of his illness LATER.

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THANK YOU Travis’s friends.  THANK YOU Travis’s Mom and Grandma and all our family.  You are the best of the best, and I am as proud to be a Finch as I am to be a Nelson.

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Tidus was started on a mild diet on day 2 – oops!  Wow, that was a mistake for sure.  Tidus was started on a mild diet on day THREE.

AND THEN…Tidus ate a bite of i/d canned dog food and did not barf.  He made it outside before he pottied.  His stomach came out of its full-on clench and stayed comfortable and relaxed even with my daily jerk move of deep abdominal palpation.  He lifted his ears and his tail when he saw sweet fourteen year old Ginger, the retired bird dog, playing out in the yard behind the hospital.  “Not today, Tidus,” I whispered.  “Soon.”

My Friend I've Never Met!

And soon did indeed come.  The spark in his eyes is back full force.  No longer can you see his skeleton.  No longer does his head hang down and his stomach tuck.


Once again, Tidus perpetually looks as if he just told a hilarious joke and wants to jump into your lap to tell it again.  And he does.  I missed you puppy.  I am so very glad you are back kiddo.

NOW is it time? Yes, Tidus, now it is time sweet puppy.

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Team of Rivals – 5 Stars!

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Team of Rivals – The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln


Doris Kearns Goodwin

Five Stars!


I loved this book.  It is the thickest of the books on the Veterinary Economics “24 Books to Change Your Life” list, which almost kept me from reading it.  So glad I did not miss it!

The author exhaustively researched President Lincoln, his childhood, his family life, his rise to presidency and his leadership, but tells his story in such a way that you will be looking forward to getting back in the middle of the 1800’s at every chance you get, and dreading the inevitable end – the end of the book and the end of the amazing life of President Lincoln in which you are bound to feel intwined.

The author goes deeper into President Lincoln’s life by richly describing the lives of those closest to him, personally and politically with all of the overlap and complexities of those relationships.

Great book.  You will accidentally learn so much about our country’s history, but just as valuable, be lost in a completely intriguing, challenging, enjoyable story of one of the greatest men who ever lived.

Thank you to Dr. Scott Anderson, DACVS, DACVECC, DABVP for the great recommendation!

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Back on Track

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

The last time I posted here was October 1!  Do you want to…

read my list of excuses


read about my (mostly) awesome past month


see a list of what I will be writing about next?

…waiting for telepathic answers from all my friends and readers…

OK!  Here it is!

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My brother Bill and his wife Cara had their second baby boy, Henry Cormac, in September.  All of my down time has been spent waiting to meet  him and trying to set up family time with Bill.  (No to Thanksgiving – I work the day before and the day after – boo, but yes to Christmas because they are coming here – yay!)  Henry is SO cute!!  They live in Ohio, and I am counting the days till I get to hold him.  I mean counting THOSE days instead of days till Christmas, which is kind of a big deal for me.

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What threw me off track in my weekly Tuesday book reviews is a ginormous book about Abraham Lincoln – A Team of Rivals.  In fact, at one dramatic and almost horrific juncture in my reading project, I put the book on the “back to the library” pile because I could not read it quickly enough to have a review to post one week after The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and I wanted to post one review every week of every book I loved from the Veterinary Economics list in order they were listed in the article.  Not being able to honor that weird, self-imposed, nonsensical structure honestly threw me off by an entire month in my writing.  On the up side, I settled in for the month and read the book slowly, loving every minute of it.  I am so glad I did not miss it!  *phew*  That was close!

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I did write THIS.

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Our dog Joy the Puppy had knee surgery.  This has taken MOST of our energy this past month!  Future blog post spoiler – she did great and is recovering well!  Pictures to come because she is so freaking cute…

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Without a minute to spare between dogs-I-love-having-major-life-events, our Pittie nephew Tidus developed a life-threatening illness.  Another spoiler – he too is recovering well.  I won’t tell you what he had because it will be a Gentle Doctor Facebook page case study (every week!  Well, every week like my book reviews are every week…most weeks…), but some of you know Tidus’s story, and if you don’t yet, you will for sure figure it out when you see his history and exam findings.  He is AS cute as Joy, so I promise to post all the pictures here!

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I entered a partially philosophical, partially-crucial-to-the heart-of-my-entire-career discussion that has not yet been completed.  I did not sleep well for ten days in a row and developed a perfect zombie appearance and personality just in time for Halloween.  I have since slept well three nights in a row thanks to all of your suggestions (THANK YOU) and coming to the realization that we can disagree on this and this doctor is still a good guy at heart, so all will be ok.  I KNEW that, but I didn’t know it well enough to, you know, sleep at night.  How important are average transactions in your field?  In mine, they are oft discussed and debated.  I think this is the most misinterpreted, misleading and worthless of numbers.  So yeah, we’ll talk more about it here if you would like.  I will be interested to hear what the veterinary professionals and non-veterinary professionals have to say.

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BOTH doctors I work with are having babies this month!  OK that has not kept me from writing, but it is major news.  I am so excited for the Kanne and the Thomassen families!  I will miss working with Adrienne and Miranda this next few months though!  I’ve gotten very used to and very spoiled by having a doctor friend to work with most of the time.

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This is a very sad update, but I will literally breathe easier having made the decision – I am no longer seeing pets other than dogs or cats.  I had to break up with my first bunny this past week.  I will be sure to tell you that story too.  I already miss the guinea pigs.  OK, so this post is full of spoilers, might as well add one more…allergies.  *sigh*

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What got me back on track?  Finishing the book on Lincoln mostly.  But also, two very sweet comments from fellow veterinarians on Twitter – Dr. Eden Myers and Dr. Mark Hedberg, and one very sweet comment from a veterinarian here.  Compliments from colleagues are second in creating week-long buzzy happy feelings only to compliments from family members.  They (family AND colleagues) are in the middle of what you are in the middle of, and they KNOW.  Thank you guys.  I’ve been in a bit of a slump, and it is good to be back.

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Next up, Tuesday, November 5, 2013 – A Team of Rivals – 5 stars!

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