Friday, January 29, 2010

Can you swear like a veterinarian?

One of the things you learn in vet school is to logically consider all the possibilities given the symptoms, and then come up with the most likely cause. Most students are taught the DAMNIT-V scheme (Degenerative/developmental, Anomalous/allergic/autoimmune, Metabolic/mechanical, Neoplastic/neurologic/nutritional, Idiopathic/inflammatory/immune/infectious, Traumatic/toxic, Vascular), so it's not uncommon to find that written on half the white boards in the teaching hospital. (The other half have pager numbers and some version of a hormone feedback loop.)

One of the surgery residents during my internship used to occasionally get frustrated and say "Damnit!" in her Swedish accent when something didn't go as planned. (She was the one I was with during the heart-base tumor biopsy, and we all know how that went.) Anyhow, about halfway through the year I started adding "V" every time she said "Dammit". By the end of the year she couldn't swear without laughing.

I was thinking about this as I was driving home, because I think my elderly dog is on her second round through the DAMNIT-V scheme. The latest problem is old dog vestibular disease. True to form, twenty-four hours after onset, she has almost no symptoms aside from a mild head tilt. So that's good.

But about everything else that's happened this week: Damnit-V!


JJ said...

I never remember the V. Just the DAMNIT.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

Obviously you need me standing near you at all times, ready to supply the V as needed.

Then again, how many vascular causes of dental/oral problems are there?

Maybe you just don't need the V...