I ran into an old client the other week. She recounted how much she appreciated the extra effort and care I gave her and her little dog; the surgery to remove the tumor on her tail, and later when it was Lady’s time to say goodbye. Her gratitude brought tears to my eyes. It also made me realize that I didn’t leave veterinary medicine a moment too soon. I had lost that compassion, I didn’t believe in what I was doing anymore. What had been the reason for getting up in the morning had morphed into something i would rather hide under the covers to avoid. Continuing in that state would have been a disaster; both to myself and family, but also to my patients.
After removing myself from the compassion fatigue of practice for 2 years, I am now working a day or two per week as a relief veterinarian. It is bringing back some of the old flow. I think I may have recharged some of my personal reserves and am finding that I have the room to care again. Interesting, we will see what develops!