lessons learned, over and over again
I grew up in Iowa, on a farm, surrounded by animals. Pigs, namely. Much of my desire to be a veterinarian was fueled by my environment, and I used to spend long hours in the barn, kneeling on a bed of straw, helping piglets be born and nurse and thrive.
One of the defining moments of my childhood was a night I spent trying to revive a piglet that had recently been born, one that seemed to have a pulse but failed to breathe. I only had the faintest idea of what I was doing, and, honestly - knowing what I know now - I couldn't have done anything differently. But my failure to save that one life was particularly heartbreaking, and as I walked out of the barn that night and stared up at the cold December night sky, the stars so chillingly bright, I remember vowing that someday I'd be able to save those lives.
Fast forward about twenty years, include a Bachelor's in Animal Science and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine... and I still sometimes I can't save them. Today I watched a lovely, sweet, young patient crash shockingly and unexpectedly, and despite all the treatments and medicine and therapy that "should" have made a difference... it didn't. A few hours of trying, a few hours of watching that animal struggle and suffer... a few hours of pacing, of hand-wringing, of heart-pounding worry... and in the end, when I had permission to end it all, I cried while doing so, and that feeling of helplessness returned. The sense of futility that my younger self had once experienced reared its ugly head again.
I blame it on the wild ideals of my younger self, who thought that with proper knowledge and medicine any animal could be saved. This is far from the truth, of course... but deep down, a part of me is still so very heartbroken when those beliefs are sometimes gently, sometimes cruelly, proven wrong.
No comments necessary, really (or any words... I'm fine, just introspective), so I'm going to turn them off. In the meantime, these sheep make me happy, as they always do. Maybe they can make you happy too.
(It appears that if you belong to a Flickr Group that this photo is in, you can comment... didn't realize that.)