Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dallas Part 1: the Hospital

Name: Abbey McDermott
Class Year: Junior
Hometown: Burton, OH
Internship: Undergrad Hospital Intern
Location: Dallas Zoo

Now that I’m about halfway through my time here at Dallas, I feel like it’s about time to write this little life update.  I’ve officially gotten into the groove of things here, and although it took me a little while longer to see the trend in my schedule than my lovely roommate/zookeeper intern, Taryn Chudo, I think I can try to explain.
Every morning, I wake up at six o’clock, pick out my outfit (which is usually the most taxing part of my day.  I mean, orange shirt, or orange shirt?  Green shorts or green shorts?  What if I don’t match?) and chat with Taryn while we make breakfast.  Then, the two of us climb into one of our cars with our fantastic host/hippo keeper, Christina, and head to the Zoo.
It’s about a thirty minute drive when it’s Taryn or I in the driver’s seat, and about twenty four when Christina is.  I get dropped off at the hospital, and from there the best part of my day begins.  I usually wait until the vet staff arrives, then go out to the prescription box outside the hospital to pick up any empty medications the keepers need refills on.  The hospital manager/vet tech extraordinaire, Dianna, fills them while I make new labels or check for the day’s treatments, which are listed on the wall.  After that, we head to the morning meeting, where we discuss the day’s procedures, treatments, projects, hospitalized animals’ health, and general agenda.  We always end with a trivia question or joke of some sort, except on the days Dianna forgets.  Then our newest keeper, Lindsay, gets to make up a math problem for us. 
We don’t like the days that Lindsay gets to make up a math problem for us.
From there, every day is different.  Sometimes there are procedures or surgeries, sometimes there are simple runs around the Zoo to check an animal the keepers have noticed is acting differently, and sometimes there are just treatments to go do with the techs.

I don’t go out into the Zoo much, but when I do, I always look for baby Ajabu 
playing in the water!

At noon, we take lunch.  The vet student, Virginia, and I have made a habit of eating outside at an old picnic table where we can see the elephants.  I’m not entirely sure how much longer we’ll be able to do that for with her being from Canada and me being from Ohio, but as of right now we’re still going.  We’re just fighting a losing battle with the Texas heat.
Afternoons at the hospital are all over the place.  Sometimes Dianna and Dr. Raines give me projects.  They’re usually just what I’d call “productive busywork”—jobs the hospital needs done that no one else really has the time or motivation to do.  What I don’t think anyone here understands is that I really don’t mind them at all.  Some days I’m entering bloodwork from one of Dr. Raines’s studies, other days I’m organizing X-rays in the storage room or finding files for Dianna on ZIMS.  No matter what I’m doing, I write down the words I don’t understand, sit down at a computer later, and I learn.  The staff wouldn’t learn from these busywork projects, but what I really don’t think they understand is that I do.
Other days one of the techs will take me under their wing and they’ll teach me how to wrap a surgical pack or set up fecals.  I’ve learned how to do a blood smear, read a reptile CBC, and look for parasite oocytes in a direct smear and a float.  Incredible, right?  If there isn’t lab work to be done, I might spend the end of my day cleaning or helping draw up the endless supply of monthly meds.  Then, at four o’clock, Virginia and I, sign out, say goodbye to the vet staff, and go home until the next day.

So I guess just to summarize this all: I don’t think I’ve ever worked at a place where I wasn’t excited for the weekend.  And then I came here.

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