Dr. Abbo is now seeing new patients

Having fun at work

Laughing has always been one of my favorite things to do. I have distinct memories of hanging out with my friend, Katie when we were in seventh grade. We would walk to her house after school and sit on the living room floor, eating cookies and just laughing our heads off at who knows what. It was the kind of whole-body laughing where you lose control of your standard functions and flop to the floor in desperation. Another friend I had, later in high school, would laugh with me in the same way. Sometimes we would try to remember what was so funny and couldn't come up with it. We called each other "Friend" instead of our names.

Those are great memories, and since then I have always looked for opportunities and people to laugh with in this way. Every list I have ever made with life goals has included laughing. Lately, life has been sober at times and often stressful. Working multiple jobs while raising two young children kind of sucks the fun out of life for me. It takes much more effort for me to lighten up these days. There hasn't been a whole lot of laughing going on—until recently.

Reluctantly, I agreed to help with the new family business by working alongside my husband in the veterinary clinic assisting with oncology cases. I was willing to help with the business side of things but hesitated when he suggested I go in to work with him and assist with checking in clients and helping treat patients with cancer. It wasn't my thing. I am a zoo vet, and I love the field of zoological medicine. I wasn't sure I would enjoy going back to private practice.

I was wrong. Four weeks have passed since we opened our doors, and not only do I feel gratification working in an oncology practice, I have laughed more these past weeks than I have in a long time. It feels great. I know, I know, treating animals for cancer is a sad and solemn endeavor but when all of us are in the back room with the dog or cat patient, it's anything but a downer. The animals have such personalities and watching our technician lie down on the floor spooning a dog just makes my heart smile. Then there is the between patient time. I can't tell you what we laugh so hard about partly because I don't know. It's a look or a series of words coming out of our mouths during a frustrating interaction with the computer system that just strikes someone else as hilarious. Soon we are all laughing at each other and ourselves.

I acknowledge that a big part of having fun at work are the people with which one works. If any one of them is not the laughing type, work-life can be less than fun. I am grateful that the people I work with have great senses of humor about what we do, who we are and life in general. Because if you can't laugh at yourself and your coworkers, what is the point? Cancer wins. I am on an unofficial quest to not let that happen.