277,891. That’s how many miles I have driven my veterinary truck in eight years. If I assume an average speed of 40 miles per hour, those miles would have taken slightly less than 7,000 hours or 875 hours per year. That’s about 22 forty-hour weeks of time spent driving a truck within 50 miles of the clinic. My assistant, Kathi has been with me for 99.99% of that time. She’s my helper, my advisor, caregiver, and as needed, my critic. She is my wife, my soul mate.
One would logically think this time in the truck is a waste. But actually it is a big part of how we practice veterinary medicine and even live life. As we drive down the road we discuss cases, schedules, clients, and horses; Kathi completes the medical records and communicates with clients and the clinic while I drive. And of course, I think; due to my many years on earth my thoughts are usually reflection on veterinary practice and life. It’s hard to believe with today’s traffic, but the truck is our safe place. It’s warm in the cold; it’s cool in the heat. It can be quiet or boom with music. It is our think tank; it has been the boardroom; or the war room as we prepare to combat difficult horses or cases. Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry as we drive through one of God’s great creations, the front range of Colorado.
So what’s the point? Is this just the monotonous droning of an old, grey haired veterinarian from Oklahoma who loves his truck? Well, I am old, grey, and a veterinarian from Oklahoma. And even though the driver’s seat is worn to fit only my derrier, I do not “love” my truck; “like” is as strong as I am willing to go.
What are we trying to do? Share with you what it’s like to spend time with us going down the road on ambulatory veterinary calls by sharing the personal side; the good, not so good, and great parts of this type of practice as seen through the eyes of one veterinarian and his assistant who is also his wife. We would like to share the other side of the syringes and needles, the hoof testers, stethoscopes and stomach tubes, the time when the science is secondary and all that is left are the emotions of our clients and the two of us.
We will continue until all our stories are told or until our day is done. Please come with me on my “TRAVELS WITH KATHI.”
p.s. Maybe “Bubba T” would be a good name for my truck.