A Piece of My Mind
May 14, 2008

Crying for My Grandmother

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2008;299(18):2129-2130. doi:10.1001/jama.299.18.2129

The year my grandmother died, I was working as a family physician in a small arctic city that didn't have a veterinarian. There were ten physicians in town, and we all did what we could when animals became sick or injured. I was absurdly proud the day I started my first intravenous line in a terrier, who made it through a bout of parvovirus thanks to IV rehydration. I was doing fairly well with people too. It was my first job after residency, and I was alternately terrified and exhilarated by the emergencies I was handling and the pathology I was seeing—intra-abdominal pregnancy, gunshot wounds, dislocated shoulders, delirium tremens, botulism, frostbite. By midwinter, I had hit my stride and thought I could handle anything that came my way.

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