A bit of background…Christmas Day, two years ago. I was pulling a 19.5 hour shift as a live-in emergency veterinary student in a state away from home. Running off adrenaline, saving lives and reallocating strays. The day was intense, I barely had anything to eat. Thrown into the deepest end working every day bar one, plus on call overnight. I hadn’t had the time to go food shopping and relied on the sustenance of one fried egg with soy sauce for the day. There was no space in my mind for this to faze me. I had cats and dogs to medicate, lives to save, consultations to perform, and worried animal lovers to console. One of the cats I medicated in the morning managed to slice his canine tooth right through my thumb. Contemplating whether I should go to the doctor to get antibiotics for this, I scrubbed it clean as I didn’t have time to worry about myself. The case I remember most from that day was a dog who had been bitten by a paralysis tick. On my own with very little experience, I had to pre-medicate said dog, place him under oxygen therapy, and prepare the concoction of medication that was to save this dog from the greedy tick’s venom that had poisoned the poor pooch. Next, I was to insert an intravenous catheter into the dog’s cephalic vein in one of his forelegs in order to start the therapy and let the 100mL infuse into his bloodstream over the period of an hour. All whilst still on call with more patients waiting, and a hospital full of furry patients, strays and wildlife. Every time that shrilling phone would ring, I would have more to add to my waiting list. This is a short example of what my life was like. Then add this on top of balancing work with full time university. To boot, the veterinary degree had the added pressure of requiring a distinction average. Follow your dreams, they said. It will be fun, they said.
Last Christmas, in contrast to the one I described above, was spent in bed with a respiratory tract infection. Unable to do anything because I was recovering from spending Christmas Eve at a lunch/dinner party with family and friends. Diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, after a year of wondering what the hell was going on with my body. Quite literally the opposite to my hectic Christmas at the vet clinic a couple of years ago, I sat and wrote in my “Happiness” journal. No longer working. No longer studying. Unsure of where to go from this point in my life. Reminding myself to put one foot in front of the other got me through.