The Little Things

Vet school, especially during exams, is often an all-encompassing process that takes over one’s life, and it’s common to get lost in the bubble and carry on multitasking with an overloaded plate. Often, it easy to forget about the little things in life, no matter how significant they may be.

I’ve often been told I have a lead foot while driving, but my type-A personality justifies it as efficiency. When pulled over recently for speeding, I accepted my fate; I was in the wrong, as I had indeed been speeding. I did not however, have any justification (or knowledge until it was pointed out) for why I was driving with an expired license, other than the fact that the recent exam period left me unable to function mentally, let alone remember minute life details such as license renewals.

So that is my lesson of the day. Remember the little things in life, otherwise you will have a whole bunch of time to contemplate them while waiting on the side of the road for a tow truck since you have no license to drive home.

For reasons such as this one, it is a very good thing that our Global Vets trip to Egypt is not left up to my stellar organization skills alone. We have had a lot of great help from mentors and professors at the OVC, those with extensive travel experience who can attempt to steer us in the right direction and hopefully out of trouble. There are a million minute details; vaccinations, VISAs, flights, land transfers, accommodations, travel in the cities, and of course the actual clinic and ambulatory projects we will be undertaking. We also begin the daunting task of trying to figure out what supplies the charities need most and what we think we can realistically carry and safely bring with us. We are so lucky over here, to have access to not only great veterinarians, but also an overwhelming number of approved and reasonably priced drugs. Although I may curse the plethora of options when trying to study for pharmacology finals, in the real world, access to a wide variety of antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories and even topical ointments can make the difference between a positive outcome and a dire one. By bringing what little we can, we can not only improve the health and welfare of those animals being treated with the medications, but also improve the quality of medicine being practiced.

When people hear of my upcoming trip, the first question I always get asked is “Are you excited?”. Despite the simple context, it’s a pretty loaded question. I’m incredibly excited to be working in a country with so much history, art and lasting structures of human triumph, but I also know what huge challenges we face during our time there. Our team will not only be the first Global Vets team to travel to Northern Africa, but will also be the first to work in a Muslim country. Although Egypt is a highly tourist-populated country, and fairly progressive, it is critical for us to act a certain way while there, respecting the culture in which we will be living. Being young, Caucasian females, this in itself will prove challenging, as beyond the inherent mistrust of foreigners, a young woman trying to tell a man what to do with his ‘property’ (pets to us) can be seen as outright disrespect. In order to make any sort of difference while there, even getting people to trust us enough to treat their animals for free, will require a tremendous amount of prudence and respect for the culture, the religion and the traditions.

Which means remembering the little things, no matter how caught up in day-to-day life I may be.

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