Some lessons are learned the hard way – The Tribune

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At the top of our whiteboard in the treatment area I wrote “learn something, teach something and achieve something, every day” with permanent marker.
It started when I was with the Coast Guard, where we had various leadership classes designed to make us more productive for our military service.
I learn some of these lessons from others.
Dr. Fling used to say, “You can learn by listening, or you can learn by doing.” The point is, you don’t have to make all of the mistakes yourself.
With that in mind, I’m looking to other professionals and customer services to help make Guardian Animal better.
One of those cases is my recent visit to the doctor.
While my surgeon did a great job and I did what was expected of me, my body made a choice to object.
The first objection was the rejection of the suture.
My surgeon was a little surprised when I turned down lidocaine for the suture removal incision, but I was right that the lidocaine would have hurt more than the scalpel blade. This reinforced my feeling that the most important thing in pain control is experience and tissue handling.
I still have more post-op complications than I should. There’s no question I could lose some more weight, but the food reluctance isn’t fun. Nor is the feeling that I would sometimes call liver cramps after a meal, it is not. My surgeon explained that this could be a bile duct stone, or bile, that enters the stomach and causes pain.
He recommended that I get some blood tests. I immediately agreed, but found out that he expected me to go to another building to have the blood drawn. Still no problem, except that M’Kinzy from college was in town and we had a lot planned for today.
The paperwork went to the truck and then to my desk and well, I didn’t get a blood drawn.
(Lesson: Make People Comfortable to Get Done.)
Another lesson was closer to home.
As it turned out, given the staffing schedules, medical issues, and weather delays, Garrett and I were the only ones who could help with the dog park equipment installation. Garrett had picked up the rental equipment on the way to work.
While he was doing the morning kennels, I had an appointment for an early morning mammogram (all normal!). At 10 a.m. we were ready to dig the holes for the bench, tires, jumps and various items.
Garrett bent down with the gas-powered saw while the concrete blade cut holes in the black top.
I knew I couldn’t bend or kneel to use the saw, so I asked if I could use the auger. It pays homage to my leadership from the front lines that Garrett said, “I don’t see why not” when he showed me how to control the auger.
I was watching Garrett now, and although the holes didn’t seem too deep, it didn’t seem like anything I couldn’t do. I grabbed the throttle and started the snail. I later found out that I hadn’t put the snail in the dirt to start a straight hole.
I also didn’t put enough pressure on the snail or put my feet on a stable triangular base. I had a firm grip on the handles until the snail hit the edge of the asphalt and snagged.
As I held on and the snail continued its torque of rotation, I paced up and over the snail and got on my knee a few meters away. I rolled over on my back and lay there for a while, using the curb stop, fence, and garrett to get me up.
Another tribute from my staff is that no one laughed and Steph was delighted to get me an ice pack and naprosyn. As I sat with my ice pack, it occurred to me that Lindsay’s partner had recently been fired from a roofing job.
I asked if he was available. Fortunately, he had and had experience, because by noon Garrett and I had cut two holes in the asphalt and none was deep enough to mount anything.
As I watched Devon, I found that I was completely unprepared to use a snail. I may have understood the controls, but my feet, my center of gravity, and the pounding in the dirt were all wrong. I used this example during my shift in the emergency room yesterday when I told the staff not only to talk through people, but also to show them and teach them. The people who gave Garrett the big equipment should have done so too.
While I am through my military service, I strive not only to continue learning and achieving, but also to teach my co-workers to do so.
It’s not uncommon for me to ask staff about one of the “dailies” on the way out, but I also speak. I strive to learn something, teach something and achieve something every day.
Even if that sometimes means that I fly over the parking lot.

MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author practicing at the Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Kentucky. GuardianAnimal.com 606-928-6566


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