Friday, June 02, 2006

"Sucking it Up" With a Trembling Lip

I work as a vet-tech in a busy animal hospital. My days are frequently exhausting and stressful. I love what I do, don't get me wrong, but on the days where the stress level is so high that it's almost palpable, the littlest things that go wrong are enough to bring anyone to tears. Today was one such day.

We treat small animals in our hospital (dogs, cats, ferrets, mice, guinea pigs, etc.) and we have four rows of kennels that are each three kennels high. The end of the work day was drawing near, and I was trying to get a head start on the end-of-shift cleaning by scrubbing the used kennels that were not occupied by any of our furry patients. As I scrubbed the kennels closest to the floor, I remembered about 4 different things of greater priority that had to be done within the next few minutes. And the dog in the cage behind me started vomiting. And the phone was ringing off the hook. And the doctor needed me across the room. And another coworker was asking me a question about how to run a blood test. You get the idea. I was starting to feel overwhelmed.

I stood up quickly, not realizing that there was an open kennel door just above me until my head slammed into one of the sharp prongs on the handle.

"AYE CHIHUAHUA!" I yelled, clamping one hand on the rapidly growing bump on my skull while walking over to help my coworker, assist the doctor, answer the phone, and clean up the vomit. These things had to be done, so I couldn't stop and think about my pain. But my head hurt. Bad. It hurt so badly in fact that I felt like crying.

When you were a little kid, tears were a perfectly acceptable reaction to impaling your skull on a metal kennel. (Ok, "impaling your skull" is a bit overdramatic, but I was in a lot of pain.) Crying is almost expected from kids when they hurt themselves. As an adult, bumping your head and then crying about it makes you look like a moron.

How did this happen? Where, along the timeline of human development, did we lose our rights to cry in public when we hurt ourselves? The fact that I knew I couldn't stop everything I was doing and cry this evening just made me want to cry even more. So instead I made everyone feel the bump on my head, and, to further legitimize my pain, I made the doctor use his vernier caliper to measure the bump.

It was 6cm x 5.4cm x 2cm.

In sharing these stats with everyone around me in an efficient, though slightly irritating way, I felt that my pain was thoroughly validated, and I was able to move on and complete my tasks. However, I still feel like crying would have been even more efficient and evoked more sympathy, and I'm still thoroughly disappointed that this is no longer an option for me.
And my head still hurts.
Going to find Tylenol now.

Maturity n.

1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of full development, either mental or physical
2. Suitable or intended for adults; composed of adults: a mature audience.
3. Worked out fully by the mind; considered

Resentment n.

Indignation or ill will felt as a result of a real or imagined grievance. See Synonyms at anger.