Being a vet student isn’t easy.
Pretty much my home life revolves around this corner of my flat, except, of course, when I decide to play it “fast and loose” and bring my studies to the sofa or….even the bedroom! Ooo la la!
School is going well, but let’s just say there is a reason you haven’t heard much from me lately….there is a lot to learn, but I won’t bore you with a recap of our lectures this year (especially since I’m likely to stand corrected by one of my colleagues who probably has a better head for remembering all these nitty gritty details anyway).
No, this blog post is brought to you by a different type of vet student tribulation, the kind of tribulation that really makes you question if you are in the right place, doing the right thing. The type of tribulation that makes you pause and reconsider your future career plans.
*Tribulation – you keep using that word and I don’t think it means what you think it means…
Dear internet, I’m about to get completely, soul-baring, emotionally gross and unfiltered. I’m going to be honest with you.
I recently called into question my life choices. I recently began to wonder if I am made of the stuff of prolapsed vaginas and abscessed teeth and bloody projectile diarrhoea. I recently had a moment where I doubted. I wondered if I should have pursued that Masters degree in Public Relations after all. I wondered if I was Jimmy Choos and a corner office rather than wellies and mud and blood and amniotic fluids.
All of these doubts and questions rushed into my mind with a vengeance the day the engineer British Gas sent out to repair my boiler looked me in the eyes and said,
“It appears you have a dead mouse behind your fridge.”
My jaw dropped to the floor. Of course, I quickly picked my jaw up off the floor knowing that my kitchen floor was contaminated with decaying rotting dead mouse miasmas.
I thanked the engineer and apologised for having a decaying rodent in my place of food preparation! So humiliating! As if he would call the appropriate authorities and have me shut down for baking all those cookies in a dead-rodent infested venue! Le ugh.
I had just scrubbed out the cat litter box and washed the sheets on the sofa. I hadn’t noticed the smell of death permeating my kitchen per se, but I had blamed Huck for worse than normal flatulence and bleached every inch of my bathroom to make sure that there wasn’t any stinky mould growing in it, so maybe I had smelled it and not realised it?
The engineer gave me a non-judgy nod, packed up his things and said he would be back in 3 days with some replacement hoses for the boiler.
Great. I had 3 days to get rid of the decaying vermin. That gave me a deadline. If the mouse was still there in 3 days the engineer would know that I am truly, incurably gross.
I immediately told my friends about my situation, secretly hoping someone would just come over and take care of it for me. No one really jumped at the opportunity.
The rest of the day passed with me fully denying I had a problem. I ordered take out Indian food and poured myself a glass of wine.
Day 1 brought more anxiety and some judgement from the friends who now knew I was avoiding cleaning up a dead rodent. You seriously haven’t cleaned that up yet?
Day 2, my last day before the engineer returned. I debated slipping him a tenner and asking him just to go a little above and beyond the call of duty in the name of chivalry.
No. I had to do it. I had to put on my big girl panties, rubber gloves, some Chanel perfume, a silk French scarf and clean up this mess. I called my old uni roommate for emotional support and to be a witness if my worst fears came true and the dead mouse reanimated into a zombie mouse that bit me and made me into a brain-eating-zombie too.
Coming up with a game plan wasn’t easy. I had a plastic bag, paper towels and latex gloves at the ready. I considered trying to scoop the mouse out with a wooden spoon, but I didn’t want to have to throw my wooden spoon away. I pulled out a set of disposable chopsticks and considered grabbing him like a little sushi roll, but Rachel wisely reminded me that upon even the most gentle touch with a chop stick, the dead mouse might just dissolve into a puddle of decay. Then, looking again at the chopsticks, she asked me if I’d considered skewering it.
No. Absolutely not.
By the time we had discussed all of the options for rodent clean up and removal, the problem had grown 10 fold in size and Rach nearly gagged at the site of the “rat” behind my fridge.
I made several attempts to touch it; losing my nerve each time. Rachel cheered for me and egged me on….errr encouraged me.
Finally, I took a deep breath and told myself it was now or never. I took some paper towel and covered the mouse. Then, with my gloved hand inside the plastic bag, I reached over, scooped around the tiny fury body and pulled. I didn’t get him. He was lodged very securely in place. But, he didn’t dissolve into mouse mush at my touch! The mouse was actually a bit stiff and cold. I reached again, this time tugging harder, with the zen confidence of a yogi, and in one swift motion had him in the garbage can!
He didn’t turn to mouse mush! He wasn’t that decayed! I figured, especially with my boiler not firing on all cylinders this winter, it just wasn’t warm enough in my flat for the mouse to decompose. He was probably frozen-mummifying like the 9,300 year old bison mummy they found in Siberia.
I was euphoric spraying disinfectant all over my kitchen. Honestly, I probably got a little high off the stuff since I flooded that whole corner with it.
Truly, when I write my memoirs, this will be a turning point in my career. It wasn’t the fact that the mouse was dead – just that it had been dead – that grossed me out. Still, if I couldn’t handle 15 grams of dead mouse in my kitchen, how could I expect myself to do some of the duties vets are called upon to do (words like dairy cow with a retained placenta suddenly leap into my head…)
School is going great. Sorry I’m so bad at sharing these scenes from my hum drum life. I’ll do better. I have big plans on the horizon. I’m going to pursue greatness and grossness. And I’ll bring you with me. I promise.