Dr. Nick Trout: Veterinary surgeon and now'¦ memoirist extraordinaire
I’ve been clicking away at this keyboard for over two years. I’ve written almost a thousand posts on the ups, downs and sideways of veterinary medicine and life as a vet (901 with this entry). And I’ve yet to be offered a book deal. So it goes, woe is me and all that…
Then here comes this vet surgeon from out of nowhere and writes a memoir about being a vet surgeon at Angell Memorial in Boston…and gets published on the first go (at least that’s how it looks).
Instead of swearing over the dearth of justice in this world (and overlooking the whole thing about vet surgeons being inherently more sexy in their take on the profession--damn them!), I’m going to actually come out and say it:
Dr. Nick Trout is good. His book, Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon, is great fun. If you’re entertained and educated by Dolittler at all I think it’s a perfect match for your interests.
In fact, I think you should eke in a few minutes sometime this afternoon to go out and buy it—hardcover and all. If you do you’ll probably spend the rest of your Sunday smothered in the pages of this rollicking read.
OK, so it’s true, Dr. Trout, I didn’t buy your book—not at first, anyway. I spent two hours sitting on the floor in Barnes and Noble instead because my bank account was having a bad day…month…whatever …
But I went back for it last Sunday, unable to resist coughing up $24.95 less my Barnes and Noble membership discount (which I recommend for you folks who live too far away from a locally owned bookseller). It was that seductive.
Veterinary surgeons like Dr. Trout are almost always either totally cool or insufferable a$$-----. This is the reality of their personality type according to…well…me. (Trust me I have reason to know, despite my lowly GP status. I’ve been dating a vet surgeon for four years and consequently meet lots of their ilk.)
I can tell from his dry, self-effacing humor that Nick Trout is anything but the latter, less common megalomaniacal variety. Given his willingness to write a thoroughly charming book on his experiences as a vet surgeon, I’m beyond convinced.
Here’s another truism of vet surgeon-ism: They’ve uniformly excelled in the academic arena and arrived, manual dexterity undetermined, into the world of cut-cut-cut on a 24/7 basis. They’ve got nothing but ego fumes to go on when they’re thrown into the OR during their residencies—and they all manage to become competent, even awe-inspiring clinicians under conditions that would crush the average ego like an empty eggshell in week one.
Practice makes perfect, they say. But that’s never the case when it comes to the vagaries of animal bodies. Vet surgeons have to labor hard against complications and imperfections and still manage to live another day to test their skills some more. I suppose you could say that about all veterinarians but vet surgeons seem harder on themselves than most in this regard.
All this comes through in Dr. Trout’s compressed 24-hour timetable, an amalgam of different days and events rendered in a glorious detail. The stories are whisked together in a masterfully wandering course that simulates the process of developing clinical and emotional competence in the real world of veterinary medicine.
The best thing I can say about this book is that even veterinarians will want to read it. They’ll recognize themselves, their clients, their staff and their colleagues among its pages. And if they have the hubris to identify with Dr. Trout’s skills and sensitivity, they’ll doubtless learn a thing or two about what it takes to become a great vet.
Even if we should skip this last step, it’s impossible for veterinarians to read this book without feeling some pride in our profession and refueling our drive to excel in whatever corner of their industry we toil in—no faint praise, methinks.
Kudos Dr. Trout. For my part, I hope you have more than one book in you. I need more Sunday afternoons like last week’s so’s I can keep my head above water and hit all my Mondays with the shiny-faced exuberance of a recent grad. Thanks for a great week at work.