Posts Tagged ‘Confessions of a Surgeon’

Confessions of a Surgeon

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Confessions of a Surgeon

The Good, the Bad and the Complicated…Life Behind the O.R. Doors

by Paul A. Ruggieri, M.D.

5 Stars!


Dr. Ruggieri is a human doctor – a general surgeon.  I found everything he said about his training and career fascinating.

As veterinarians, our training roughly parallels the training of M.D.’s until after veterinary/medical school.  Then we are let loose on the world and M.D.’s continue their training with internships, residencies and often further training.  A “finished” M.D. more resembles a veterinary specialist than a veterinary general practitioner.

Even so, as a general veterinary practitioner who does surgery, I related to some of the scary/exciting/rewarding tales of O.R. events, to the struggles of client communication, to how every surgery shapes you as a doctor, to the bonding with families and the grief over loss.

We deal with pets, also family members, but Dr. Ruggieri deals with people, human family members – spouses of several decades, children, grandparents…  I cannot imagine the gravity of having a human life in my hands, and often wonder how much more stressful it would be and if I would have had the fortitude to train and practice on that level.  I do not think that I would.

If by some chance I DID have the fortitude, and I got through the YEARS of training and YEARS of experience, and ended up in the surgery Dr. Ruggieri described in one of his first tellings (I will not describe it here – Some of you put your sandwich down and glare at me if I say “cat abscess.”  Geez.)  ANYWAYS, I think even if I could have and did reach that point, I would not say, “I just bought these shoes!”  I would say, “I think I am going to  be a writer!” and walk out of the O.R. and never look back.

This book is not gross.  (That story was, but it was also fascinating).

Subjects I barely have to consider – lawsuits, health insurance (MUCH different and more straight forward in the veterinary world!), following cases for years – loom around every case for Dr. Ruggieri.  The stress has to be wearing, but it seems as though the author balances the salary, the unique brand of excitement and career satisfaction inherent in being a surgeon and the chance to save lives with those very real, very prominent challenges.

Dr. Ruggieri is a highly trained, exceptional surgeon, but he is also filled with compassion.  I have trouble not calling a puppy by name as I spay her.  He has trouble not seeing a patient in pre-term crisis as a Mom of a grown family years down the road.  But he goes into surgical mode, gloves up and saves lives.  Daily.  Just reading it exhausted me.  And the stories are SO good.

Omaha has two veterinary surgical specialists, both excellent.  I scrub in on every surgery of Dr. Merkley’s that I can.  I read every surgical report Dr. Thoesen sends over.  I LOVE being around surgery.  I LOVE having completed a cool surgery.  I do not love being in surgery.  So for me, this book was perfect.  I could be in the O.R., imagine I was handing over gauze sponges, and be right in the middle of every case.

I think as a medical professional, or even more as a lay person – you will love this book.

Oh, Hai! :)

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

I have not been posting at Riley and James for quite some time.  And I have missed it.  The only things I love more than Riley and James are Riley…and James!

So here is a post to get started again.  I will try to post once or twice a week.  I do have cute pet pictures and good stories.  Life has just been busy (good busy!)

Here are my excuses exciting life events:

  • I am working much more than I had been and at a job I love.  Just for the straight-forward time management aspect, I have had less time to write rough drafts, which is the majority of the time it takes me to write stuff.  Also, having a job I love, I have found I do not need the stress-relief of writing as much as I did.  I do need YOU though.  And I do love writing, and all things pet and veterinary.  So I will try to start up again!
  • I have new projects going on!  OK, Life with Dogs is not new, but much of my writing energy is going into my weekly articles on that site.  It has been super fun, and made me focus on actual medical education, something I drift from here on occasion rarely talk about here!
  • I have been drawing and coloring.  Which sounds silly.  But it is helping.  And it is fun.
  • I just joined the Editorial Advisory Board of Veterinary Economics too!  Woo!  That has been fun.  So much of the time I DO have for rough draft writing has been spent elsewhere.
  • To be honest, for the first four months of the job transition, when I was not at work or somewhere I had to be, I was sleeping.  I struggle with depression.  I had to process.  I internalize things to process them.  Then I wake up and life is awesome again.  I mean, it has been the whole time.  But now, I am, you know, awake more :)

So I think things are back to a healthy balance.  I will return to at least weekly posts.  I will let you know if things are rough instead of withdrawing into myself.  If I don’t show up for a bit, assume I am busy reading YOUR blogs, or out walking the dogs or playing in the garden!

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Coming Soon on Riley and James if I Get My Act Together:

  • Book reviews – The Happiness Project, The Thank You Economy and Confessions of a Surgeon (Five stars!  They are all excellent!!)
  • A product review of Pet Naturals Dog and Cat treats (Five stars!) and some other stuff (Five stars!)
  • The story of Joy the Puppy’s most recent preschool visit
  • As many pictures as I can take of the visit of our Goldendoodle puppy cousin, Bailey, who is on her way to our house right now!  (We love you Joe and Nikki ♥♥♥)
  • More short stories
  • Good stuff from Nebraska Equine Association’s Horse Fair this coming weekend.  I will be speaking on pet and horse therapy.  And mostly just absorbing awesomeness from the Real Horse People there!  I will let you know what I learn.  And show you pictures of all of the beautiful horses!