I was sitting down to write this blog when an e-mail appeared in my inbox from my friend informing me that my kids were exposed to lice over the weekend. (It’s only fair, as we exposed her kids to lice this winter, twice, during what we like to call "The Great Carroll Lice Outbreak of 2010").

Thus, I had to postpone writing to run out and buy a bottle of rosemary lice-repellent shampoo and spray on conditioner. It might not be as effective against lice as brewer’s yeast is against fleas, but at least it makes me feel better, and it won’t hurt the kids.

I might mention, the kids like being checked for lice. They think it feels good. Who would have thought that nit-picking would provide a valuable family bonding tool? (Well, then again, the monkeys figured it out long ago).

Anyhow, last weekend I was in Denver, Colorado at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine annual forum. I was in vet-with-strong-interest-in-internal-med heaven. I sure wish I had brought my laptop with me, though, because (a) the proceedings were only on CD, so I had to take copious old-school notes on paper; and (b) I really wanted to blog about it when I was in the thick of all this nerdy vet bliss.

I tried to blog in the hotel "business center," but it cost $25/hour to rent a computer and I just couldn’t stomach it.

However, here I am, back in my normal life with this general feeling of anxiety looming over my head. Tina Fey described it in her brilliant book Bossy Pants, as "a very specific form of physical anxiety that feels kind of like my heart is shrinking up like a raisin."

(Mental note: must figure out where to send her some fan mail, I love her and am thrilled that people tell me I look like her … far better than the old comparisons to "Winnie" from the '80s TV show The Wonder Years, and Blossom, from the '90s show.)

I’m not sure if the anxiety stems from the fact that I’m pretty sure two of my patients died while I was gone. I don’t know for sure. I’ll find out tomorrow when I arrive at my desk and see the charts with the sympathy notes attached1.

It seems that something awful always happens when I leave the office for awhile. I had one client ask me to give her a heads up before I went out of town so she could prepare for whatever disaster was to befall her dog. (It was actually pretty eerie; her dog would only seizure while I was away.)

I know I could call the office to find out for sure if the patients passed away, but then I’d have to deal with it. And I think I’d rather just deal with a vague sense of dread instead.

Maybe it’s just that I got to spend four full days with nothing else to worry about than picking which lecture to go to, getting there on time, and what I would be eating in between.

And now I’m back in my regular little world with all of its entanglements and issues.

My ennui could stem from the fact that I just sat through 22 hours of lectures and my brain is exploding from sheer volume overload. Or it could just be the fact that I’m back at sea level and my brain doesn’t know what to do with all that extra oxygen.

Regardless, I’ll find my stride again soon.

In the meantime, I realize that there hasn’t been much point to this particular blog.

Well, eventually I’ll get my wits about me, but let me just tell you that I learned a whole bunch of cool stuff at the meeting that I’ve meticulously (I hope) hand written (with an actual pen) in my official ACVIM notebook. Granted, I wasn’t as cool as the people with the laptops (although their incessant typing was slightly annoying), and the tablet people (who silently hunted and pecked at their finger-smudged screen "keyboards").

In the next few blogs, I will share this knowledge from the cutting edge of vet medicine. Hope you will find it as interesting as I do.

Addendum: Just got word that one of the patients that I thought died is alive and well! She’s Misty, the head trauma dog from the blog a couple of weeks ago. Last I heard she’d gone home to die. If my kids weren’t complaining of hunger, I’d totally hit the thesaurus to find a better word to describe how happy I am, but I’ve got to feed them so you’ll just have to take my word for it … ecstatic.

Dr. Vivian Cardoso-Carroll

Pic of the day: dog relaxing by shaggyshoo

dog on beach, end of vacation blues, away from home, far from home, veterinary conference, grenada beach