post

Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #12: When Pigs Fly

“I am fond of pigs.  Dogs look up to us.  Cats look down on us.  Pigs treat us as equals.”–Winston Churchill

Warning: this post contains tacky pig cliches.

Huey, making himself at home

Huey, making himself at home

Meet Huey.  He’s an eighty pound mini-pig and he lives at the Beacon Falls Animal Hospital, my wife’s practice.  The employees love him, the clients love him. The client’s pets?  I’m not so sure, but maybe we’ll take a survey.

And me?  I love him as long as he stays right where he is.  Cheryl wanted to keep him at home–in the house–but I put my foot down on that one.  One weekend was enough.  We have two dogs in the house,  a barn cat, appropriately named Barney, and a backyard full of four horses and over 20 assorted birds (chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl).  Enough is enough.  So I love Huey as long as he is the office mascot.  If Cheryl brings him home again, he’s bacon.

As for pig stories, Cheryl has just this one really good one from her distant past days in mixed practice (meaning both large and small animals).  The patient’s name was William, and he lived in a pen on his owner’s property–a Yale cardiologist who lived in a big house on a very small lot in Hamden, CT. It was not exactly a farm community.  Oh, and William was not exactly a mini-pig;  he was a 600 pound Yorkshire porker.  Wow.

The cardiologist called Cheryl and reported that William, who had been adopted as a pet after having been used for research purposes, had an abscess.   OK, easy enough.  But the address somewhat spelled trouble as she knew it to be in a neighborhood near the New Haven line that has very large houses on very small lots.  Out of curiosity, she inquired if William–a boar–had been neutered.  The client answered in the negative.

“You really ought to castrate him…male pigs smell terrible and, in your residential area, the neighbors may not be too happy about it.”  The client answered in the affirmative.

Easy peasy, right?

On certain occasions, they do fly.

Wrong.  There would be no story if it was.

Cheryl set out with her intrepid junior associate,  Sue Farmer (nee Cole) to tackle William.  On arrival, they found William in a small backyard pen on spotless shavings, being attended to by the Cardiologist’s wife.   She had a martini in one hand and was feeding the pig cannolis with the other.  Beautiful cannolis.  Cheryl and Sue looked enviously at the cannolis, but weren’t offered any.

Cheryl immediately took charge.  Figuring she was the senior of the two docs, and had seen and heard and done plenty of pig medicine in vet school at Purdue, why not?  She calculated the dosage for a 600 lb pig…and administered Rompun™ and ketamine intramuscular.  Down went William.  No problem.

“OK, you get the abscess, I’ll get the balls,” she instructed Sue.

No problem with the abscess, but then, after prepping, came the balls.

YEOWEE!  Pigs fly–at least this one did.  William jumped up and scrambled around the pen, while blurting out the most godawful squeals imaginable.

Ok.  Going back to the drawing board she administered another 300 lbs dosage of the two anesthetics, again intramuscular.

Down went William again.  Scalpel wielded.

STRIKE TWO!

SHRIEK!! William jumped up and this time landed straight down on the knife and severed his saphenous vein. Too say he bled like a stuck pig is…well…there never was a truer cliche. He  doubled his pace of laps around the pen, the formerly white shavings now only needing some blue dye to be truly patriotic.  They tackled William, bandaged the wound, and Cheryl then mainlined who knows how much drug into a vein in his ear.

This finally worked, and William was successfully neutered;  by this time in front of a crowd of neighbors who had assembled to watch the commotion.

Cheryl and Sue departed, as the cardiologist’s wife sat hugging the poor pig and crying, “Oh William, I’m so sorry William.” And she still had that martini in her hand.

Upon follow up discussion with the Yale doc, he casually mentioned that, oh yeah, William is difficult to anesthetize.   Maybe the next time she’ll be told that before pigs fly.

 

Follow my other, more serious blog and podcast on Seeking Delphi.

 

 

 

post

Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #11: Kind of Blue

“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.”–Vincent Van Gogh

“All’s well that ends well.”–William Shakespeare 

MilesDavisKindofBlueThe bard was right.  Van Gogh was…um..uh–I have no idea.

But here is a story that ended well, though with an unexpected twist that makes it one of my all time favorite veterinary vignettes.

This happened some 30 years ago, when Cheryl was working her last job as an employee before starting her own  clinic.  Her partner in crime in this particular case was the junior associate in the group, one Susan Cole, a pretty and vivacious young blond just a few months out veterinary school.

It started one typical Monday morning, when in came a panicked old lady, Mrs. P, with a pearly white cat.

The cat was struggling to breath.

Mrs. P: “Save my kitty!!!”

Dr. C: “When did this start?”

Mrs. P: “Save my kitty!!”

Cat: “[cough] [choke] [wheeze]”

Dr. C: “How did this start?”

Mrs P: “Puhleeeaaase save my kitty!!”

Cat: “[gasp] [gasp]”

It was obvious that Mrs. P was not going to be any help.  Enter my intrepid Cheryl to consult.

“This seems to be some sort of respiratory distress, we’d better take an X-Ray.”  She advised.

Dr. Cole thought otherwise, and suggested drawing a blood sample first.  Cheryl was skeptical, but realized it couldn’t hurt, so that’s what they did.

The cat’s blood was brown. Freaking brown.

The two of them scratched their heads in puzzlement.  What could turn a cat’s blood brown? Cheryl observed that if they saw this in a cow they would diagnose it as methemoglobinemia, a condition that bovines get from eating cherry leaves.  You guessed it, cherry leaves are toxic to cows.  But cats?  How would this indoor feline even have access to cherry leaves, whether or not they are toxic to cats?

At any rate, regardless of the cause, the diagnosis was confirmed.  But, then, how to treat it?

“Well” Cheryl posited,”we use methylene blue to treat this in cows.  Let’s try it.”

Methylene blue is a dye that also has some medicinal purposes.  But  the cat’s wheezing and gasping for breath was rapidly worsening, so Sue and Cheryl  frantically calculated the appropriate dosing.  Let’s see.  Bovine dose, 60cc.  Feline dose…hmm…. 6cc.

They administered 6cc of methylene blue, and by golly, that cat rapidly improved and its blood and breathing were back to normal in no time.

End of story?  You know me better than that–there’s a little kicker.  Of course there is, there always is.  You see, there was a slight miscalculation in the dosage.  The feline dose should not have been 6 cc, it should have been 0.6cc.  But hey, what’s a silly little order of magnitude among friends.  After all, the cat got better.

blue catIt’s just that the pearly white cat turned….BLUE!!  Its skin, its gums, its sclera, its paws. Everything but its fur turned a bright shade of blue!

And that, of course, is still not the end of the story.  The denouement came the next morning, when Mrs. P. phoned to find out the condition of her kitty.

Dr. Cole took the call, and she answered with a straight face, within ear shot of just about every employee in the clinic.

“Oh, she’s doing much better, but she’s feeling a little blue right now!

Crash! Bang! Thud!  All over the hospital employees dropped whatever they were holding as peals of laughter erupted.  They say that in comedy, timing is everything.  I guess that goes for veterinary medicine, too.

Anyway, the cat’s normal color soon returned, and it turned out that Mrs. P had given it Tylenol.  Tylenol, you may surmise, is toxic to cats.   So don’t give your cat Tylenol.  This goes doubly if you have a yellow cat, as the antidote could turn the poor thing an ungodly shade of green.

Is there a moral to this story?  Yes.  The next time you are feeling blue, be thankful it is only a metaphorical, and not a literal, blue.

blue man gourp

 

 

 

 

 

If you are feeling blue, try my other blog, Seeking Delphi.™  That will really get you down.   😛

 

post

Tales of a Veterinary Spouse, #10: What the Cat (and Dogs) Dragged In.

“The trouble with a kitten is that it eventually becomes a cat.”–Ogden Nash

Pet doors are a wonderful thing.  They allow your pets the joy of repeatedly going in and out without having to constantly bug you to accommodate them.

Pet doors are an awful thing.  They allow all manner of unwanted vermin to come in (mostly) and out along with your pets.  Or in many cases, to be dragged in by your pets.  Here are some examples.

Awful thing example #1: While you expect cats and dogs to freely use the pet door, you don’t really think a pet chicken would use the pet door.   Think again.  We had one that did, and it not only came in the house quite unexpectedly, but it joined Cheryl in the shower.  That’s a horror story even Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t have imagined.  Eat your heart out, Norman Bates.

Awful thing example #2: While our cats have frequently brought dead mice or chipmunks into the house and disemboweled them in the dining room (ick!), that is not the worst of it.  They bring live ones in and let them go.  The most notable example?  We had a living room full of guests for a tea for a local political candidate.  Just as the proceedings were about to begin, our cat, Velcro, dropped a live mouse by the side of a rather full couch.  The critter ran across the feet of about three people and hid under the coffee table as everyone scattered.  Cheryl caught it as the cat looked on with amusement.  The dogs were worthless.

Awful thing example #3:  While we are on the subject of the cat sitting back and watching in amusement as we and the dogs chased a live rodent, I present you with the case of the chipmunk in the laundry room.  Did you ever watch one of those Donald Duck cartoons where he tries to catch Chip and Dale?  Where he winds up destroying his house, his R.V., his camp site, or whatever?  It felt like we were in a Donald Duck cartoon.  The chipmunk was behind the washing machine.  The dogs went nuts;  but the chip was gone by the time we pulled the washing machine out from the wall.  By then, the chip was behind a pile of laundry.  Then it was in the pile of laundry.  Then it was behind the drier. Then it was under the washing machine.  The dogs were always one hiding place behind it.  Cheryl finally caught the thing–I swear she must have been a cat in a previous lifetime.   And our laundry room?  It looked like Donald Duck’s living room after a few minutes of chasing Chip and Dale.

Awful thing example #4:  This one takes the cake.  Cheryl and I were sitting in our home office late one evening, clicking away at our computers.  Why, it was the very room I am sitting in as I write this tale.   I glanced in back of me.  Our three dogs were all lying there contented to be in the same room with us.  And sitting right in the middle of them was what I, for a split second, took to be a rather large stuffed animal doggy toy.  For a split second.  But it wasn’t a toy. Good grief, it was a live possum, apparently playing possum!  We have no idea how it could have gotten in there without the dogs going nuts.  We can only guess that the one dog large enough to drag it in, must have done so.  Cheryl picked it up by the tail, dropped it outside the front door, and it sprung to life and dashed off.

Which finally brings us to Awful thing example #5: There is a rodent in this office, right now, as I write this post.  I saw it dash off the top of my desk and hide behind the file cabinet just as I walked in.  The fleeting glance I got of it was too brief to tell if it was a mouse or a chipmunk. But it has eluded me.  Don’t worry though, Cheryl will be home from the clinic with the dogs (they go to work with her every day.)  The dogs will, of course be useless, and the cat will sit back and watch in amusement as  Cheryl, as always, catches the thing.

Oh, and this one didn’t happen to us,  but Awful thing example#6, below, illustrates the further dangers of pet doors in the wild.  Stay safe, my friends.

 

Be sure to check out my new (second) blog, Seeking Delphi.

 

 

post

Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #9: Lions and Tigers and….SNAKES!! Oh my

“Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag full of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel”–Leanardo da Vinci

“I am working on a new book about a boa constrictor and a litter of hyenas. The boa constrictor swallows the babies one by one, and the mother hyena dies laughing.”–E. B. White

more snakesOphidiophobia.  It’s a fear of snakes, from which many people suffer.  My wife is most certainly not one of them. OK, she’s a veterinarian so it ought not to be a big deal to her.  But let’s just say her non-fear, even love of snakes, is something I learned about very early in our relationship.  Like, within the first fifteen minutes.

It all began one night in June, 39 agonizing years ago.   It was a get-together I organized with a few friends on the occasion of a visit by my sister from the west coast. One of the invitees was the aforementioned Kate (Tales #8).  She brought along a mutual friend of hers and my sister’s.   Of course, that would be Cheryl.  Kate introduced Cheryl to me as a pre-veterinary student at the University of Connecticut, and she added, “come and see the pet snakes in the back of her pickup truck!”  I was not exactly thrilled.  A girl with a pickup truck carting around two pet snakes was not exactly the description of my ideal match.  So of course, I wound up marrying her three years later.

But as snake stories go, that’s not nearly the best one.  In fact, the following story is so #1, there really is no #2.

It started innocently enough one day in mid-August of 1989.  Cheryl went out for her usual late lunch, took her usual catnap in her car, and came back to the office.  But something was clearly up–when she returned to work, the parking lot was packed with a slew of unfamiliar vehicles.  They were news vans.  Channel 3, Channel 8, Channel 25, The Bridgeport Post, The Hartford Courant.  WTF?  What was all this media brouhaha?

Well of course, you’ve figured it out by now.  It was a snake.  But not just any snake, and not just for any normal reason.   It seems that a local Naugatuck woman felt something odd underneath her as she was sitting on the toilet.  It was a six foot boa constrictor.  Honest.  She called the police; they wouldn’t touch it.  The snake stayed in the toilet.  She called Roto Rooter and, no joke, they sent a snake fear-averse serviceman to literally and figuratively snake it out.  The critter was then dispatched to my wife’s practice.  The media loves animal stories, and this was no “dog bites man” run of the mill occurrence.  The story went the 1989 version of viral.  It was picked up by the national wire services and we heard a short mention of it on WCBS newsradio from New York.

So what was the back story?  It seems the previous resident of the apartment in question had owned two boa constrictors.  But the city of Naugatuck has an ordinance against dangerous pets, and this certainly qualified by their standards.   He was reported to the authorities and ordered to get rid of them.    He obliged; or so he said.  Apparently his definition of “rid” was to simply let them loose.

Anyway, the snake was unharmed and shortly transferred to a wild life rehabilitator who eventually found it a legal home.

But wait a minute.  There were two of them.  But there was no immediate sign of the second one.   The residents searched and found nothing–well almost nothing.  A few weeks later, they found a shed snakeskin.   This was not taken as a good sign.  Finally, some six weeks after the original event, my wife got a call from the Naugatuck police.

“We found the second one.  Please come get it.”

She obliged, and got to the residence within a few minutes.  There she found a Naugatuck cop sitting on the front porch, his service revolver drawn.

“Really!!?”  Her reaction was typical Cheryl.  “Are you afraid it’s going to make a break for it?’

Honestly, boa constrictors are not what you would call “speedy.’

She collected the animal and headed back to her office.   When she got there, guess what?

News vans.  Again.   Channel 8.  Channel 3. Etc.   The New Haven Register, having missed the first story, was quick to the scene that Friday, and the story landed on the top of their front page the next day, Saturday, September 23, 1989.   It appeared approximately as shown below, right above a story that Irving Berlin had died 101 that same day.

snakes

 

 

As you may have guessed by now, though, the story did not end here.  Although the second snake wound up with the same wild life rehabilitator,  it made another stop first.  Cheryl, vividly remembering our very first meeting, brought the snake home that evening in an attempt to freak me out.   It didn’t work;  after 14 years with her I’d grown accustom to pranks like this.  But it did freak out our daughter’s somewhat timid nanny, Lynn.   While we were out to dinner, the writhing monster escaped from the box it had been brought home in,  leaving poor Lynn with little option but to muster up her courage and stuff it back in.   To her credit, she did it, and she didn’t quit her job.

Is there a moral to this story?  Of course there is.   Be careful what you marry;  it might come slithering back to bite you.

Cheers  😀

Signature

post

New Feature: Tales of a Veterinary Spouse

Another oldie but goodie.  New stuff soon–I promise.

“The best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter-he’s got to just know.”–Will Rogers

Episode One: You called me for what??

You may laugh, but this is literally true.  I finally became inured, but she ruined my appetite many times.

You may laugh, but this is literally true.  She has ruined my appetite many times.  Image credit unknown.

I don’t know if a veterinarian is the best doctor in the world, but I do know this:  to survive thirty years of marriage to one, I may be the most patient spouse in the world.  The early years were the worst.  Why?  In two words: on call.  Thanks to a proliferation of 24-hour veterinary emergency clinics, she no longer gets those middle of the night wake-up calls.   But here are just two of the many gems she dealt with through the years.

Phone conversation Sunday afternoon late summer day

Panicked client: “Help! My dog can’t get up!”

Dr. Sackler:  “What’s happening.”

Panicked client: “My dog can’t get up.”

An effective restraint device?

An effective restraint device?

Dr. Sackler: “Well can you describe the situation?”

Panicked client: “I see my dog outside struggling to get up and he can’t get up.”

Dr. Sackler: “Well stay calm and go out there and take a closer look.”

The dog’s collar ID tag was caught in a slot between planks on the wood deck.

Phone conversation at 1 AM, Monday Morning

Ditzy client: “Dr. Sackler, I swallowed my dog’s heart worm pill, what should I do?”

Dr. Sackler: “Mrs. So-and-so, I can’t help you.  If your dog had swallowed your birth control pill, that I could help you with. But I can’t advise you on a human accidental dosing, you have to call your medical doctor.”

Ditzy client: “OH, It’s the middle of the night, I can’t bother my doctor!”

Dr. Sackler: “What am I, chopped liver?”  CLICK!!

The second story was so ridiculous, my daughter, who was in 9th grade at the time, wrote it up and submitted it to Readers Digest for their On The Job column.  They published it–sans the closing chopped liver line– and paid her $300.  Oh, and it also turned up a couple of years later on a page-a-day calendar created from that column.  Those were fifteen minutes of  fame my wife could have lived without.

That’s enough for now, but stay tuned.  These stories are just the tip of the iceberg–they get better.

post

Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #8: Doggone Pets

“Armadillos make affectionate pets.  If you need affection that much.”–Will Cuppy

“I…discovered you can get used to a man, much like you do a household pet.”–Terry McMillan

There is no greater futility in the Sackler household than to complain about the animals that share our home.   Not their numbers, their habits, their exotic variety nor their ruling of the roost.

“What did you expect?  You married me when I was a veterinary student ,” is invariably the response I get.

Heck, I married a vet; I did not marry the Bronx Zoo.  And , as I often point out,  I was a sportscaster when we met.  This has not kept her from complaining about all the games I watch on TV.  The least she could do is accept it and keep the chips and dip coming during the NFL playoffs.

Hermit crab.  You'd be a hermit, too, if you looked like this.

Hermit crab. You’d be a hermit, too, if you looked like this.

But I digress.  Our current pet count is nine, a rather typical number.  Six dogs in the house, two horses in the paddock, and one cat in the barn, appropriately named Barney.  In the past, our  critter count has numbered as high as 17 at one time, and not all of them with four legs.  Critter is an appropriate term, as it is a rather extreme stretch of the imagination to call some of them pets.   These have included rabbits, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, guinea fowl,  turkeys–both domestic and wild–chickens, hermit crabs a gecko and a donkey.  We’ve also had visits from–but thankfully not made homes for–an iguana, a boa constrictor, an African millipede and Madagascar hissing cockroaches.  The variety, and the stories that go with them are never ending.

One of the earliest tales  dates to our first apartment during Cheryl’s years in veterinary school.   We had a visit from a very special friend, Kate–the very woman who had introduced us in the first place.   She entered to find us in a frenzy.

“We can’t find Archibald.  Archibald got lose.  Help us find Archibald!”

Kate was all too happy to comply and began scouring the premises with us.  She looked under the couch, behind the dresser and basically mimicked whatever searching patterns she saw us following.

Ten minutes into this, she suddenly stopped, and stared at both of us with a quizzical look.

“Um, excuse me for asking, but what are we looking for?  What exactly is Archibald!?”

A good question, if a bit late for the asking.  Archibald was  a tiny hermit crab.  And it was Kate who ultimately found him–once she knew what she was looking for, the quest was not so daunting.

Guinea Fowl.  Proof that god has a sense of humor.

Guinea Fowl. Proof that god has a sense of humor.

From my perspective though, the most annoying of these fauna have been those that shatter the calm with odd and unusual calls.  Screeches, brays, cock-a-doodle doos.  The Guniea fowl screamed bloody murder during their spring mating season.  The first spring we had them, they did this while stampeding on the roof over our heads in the middle of the night.  Fun.   A donkey and a rooster on our premises made noises, while I worked from a home office, that must have sounded to my customers on the phone as if I was selling grain out of a silo in Iowa.   More on these lovely experiences in a future installment;  in the meantime, step a way from the barn.  You never know for sure what might be in there.

post

Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #6: Say what!?

“I got a big mouth.”–Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Note: This material is rated PG-13.  My wife should have realized that before she retold this story to a bunch of Catholic middle-schoolers at a career night.  Have you heard the phrase “he (or she) has a mouth that could make a sailor blush?”  Cheryl could make Larry Flint blush.

blah blah blahIt was the late night for office hours at the clinic–a Thursday to be specific.  It was a few minutes before 8 PM closing, and the doctor undoubtedly was tired and ready to go home.  But she had just come back from a seminar that focused on bonding new customers to the practice, and wouldn’t you know it, the last appointment of the day was a newbie.

The woman was in her mid 20’s or so, and the kitty she had just adopted was her first pet ever.  Despite the fatigue of a long day, Cheryl was determined to execute a perfect “bonding” experience.  She launched in her “new kitten” spiel,  and  all was going well for the first few minutes.  But then the office manager stuck her head in the exam room and interrupted.

“Pat D. is on the phone, Cheryl,” she reported matter-of-factly, “he wants to know if he can bring his dog in for a semen sample.”

“What?  You’re kidding me.  The lab has already picked up today and I am out of gas.  Tell him to bring the dog in tomorrow morning.”

So much for that, or so she thought, and immediately pushed the “kitten spiel” button and resumed the pitch.

But something had changed.  The customer seemed distracted, even a bit perturbed.

“How do you do that?” The young woman asked, two minutes into the resumed talk.

“Huh, do what?”

“How do you get a semen sample from a dog.”

Cheryl is never one to mince words or be diplomatically indirect under any circumstances.  At 8 PM after a 12 hour day of appointments, this was certainly not going to be an exception.   Making the appropriate gesture, she curtly replied, “hand job!”

Thinking that would be the last of it, she forgot about it and resumed the kitten spiel.  But the woman was still not paying attention, and two minutes later interrupted Cheryl again.

This really is how it's done.

This really is how it’s done.

“C’mon how do you really do it?’

“Huh, do what?”

“How do you really get a semen sample from a dog?’

“Well,” she replied impatiently, “really, you get a cup and you stimulate the dog manually and, well, I can show it to you in a text book if you want.”

The woman frowned and Cheryl resumed the kitten talk, but it was readily apparent that the client was still not satisfied with the answer.  In fact, she appeared downright angry. Within a couple of minutes, she abruptly changed the topic for a third and most emphatic time.

“You’re just goofing on me,” and by now she was almost yelling, “HOW DO YOU REALLY GET A SEMEN SAMPLE FROM A DOG?”

Cheryl had had enough.

“Look at it this way lady, I’m not gonna give him a blow job!”

That ended that.  Permanently.  She never saw that customer again, and to this day she reckons it was worth sacrificing one client just to have the story.

Oh, and she really did tell that story at a Catholic middle school career night.  The students loved it; the nuns were horrified. She never got asked back, and I’m guessing she thinks that was worth it as well.

If you enjoyed this story, just wait for the next Tales of a Veterinary Spouse, which will deal with extracting semen from a rather larger species.

Cheers.

Signature    On twitter @MarkSackler

post

Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #5: Count the Cats!

“Dogs are my favorite people.”–Richard Dean Anderson

9c) Mark Anderson www.andertoons.com

(c) Mark Anderson
http://www.andertoons.com

Bethany, CT is just a typical, quiet New England exurban town.  Now.  But some thirty years ago, when Cheryl started working there, it was still imbued with a certain quirky character hailing from its agrarian Yankee roots.  The vet she worked for was a lanky, laconic and formal kind of guy who actually wore a tie to work, even on the road for large animal barn calls.  If Dickens were alive in the 1980’s and living in New England,  he would have found all the persona inspiration he could ever need right there in Bethany.   This story hails from that era.

The client, Cathy X, was a groom at a local stable.  She was short, chubby, slovenly and smelled like her work.  It seems her dog, a massive Russian Wolfhound, was in distress, and she let Cheryl know about it the instant she walked in the clinic door.

Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound

Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound

“He’s got a twisted gut, I just know it.”

“What’s going on, Cathy?” My wife was a bit skeptical up front.

“Well…um…,” the exasperated woman could hardly get her words out, ” he’s  lethargic, not eating,  and his stomach is distended.”

Cheryl felt around and disagreed, it just didn’t feel like a torsion.  She thought it was just an upset stomach.  But the client persisted.

“Ok, Cathy, I’ll try a stomach tube and see what that yields.”

The idea here was simple, if the gut was twisted, the stomach tube would not pass.  In went the tube–all the way in.   Seek and ye shall find.   VARRROOOOM.   Almost immediately there arose a torrent of projectile vomiting.   But it was not just gunk.  It was black and white fur, followed by a completely intact trachea and set of lungs!

“OH MY GOD!  I BETTER GO HOME AND COUNT THE CATS!”

Momentary silence (while everyone in the office painfully held back laughter).

“Um, maybe not,” my wife protested, “these organs are way too big to be a cat.  And the smell…ugh.”

I assume by now you have figured it out.  If not, let’s just say it was a mistake worthy of Pepe Le Pew.

You now have permission to hold your nose pending my next smelly post.

Signature    @MarkSackler

wallpapers_pepe-le-pew_04_1024

post

Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #4: No Hablo Inglés

Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.”–Robert Benchley

We  have a house full of animals.  At the present we have a very manageable three dogs, two horses and one cat.  OK, the horses are in the back yard, not the house.  You get the picture.  In the past we have had chickens, guinea hens, turkeys (both wild and domestic), rabbits, hedgehogs a rooster and a donkey.   I  had to put my foot down regarding the latter two.  I work from a home office.   The noises coming from our backyard wrecked havoc while I was on the phone making business calls.  It sounded like I was selling farm supplies out of a silo in Iowa.

OK, I knew there would be animals in my household.  I signed on for that.  But Cheryl doesn’t just collect animals.  She collects other veterinarians.  They come here; they live with us.  They stay for a few days, weeks, months, or in a couple of notable cases, years.   They come from all over the world:  from Venezuela…Columbia…Chile…Afghanistan…Turkey…The Philippines…all over.  If there were Martian veterinarians we would have housed one by now.   Just for variety, we also had a law student from Beijing.   Never mind how or why they have landed in our hacienda;   I could write an entire book on the characters that have lived with us.   But today, let’s talk about just one.   Dr. Gibson Fernandez.

mariachi-helps-to-speak-SpanishAh, Gibson.  He hails from Maracaibo, Venezuela where he is a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Zulia.  He did an internship at my wife’s veterinary hospital back in the late 1990’s and has been spending the month of August with us every year since.  He just happens to be be one of the most personable and likeable people you have ever met.  I swear, he has more friends in Connecticut, just from his one month a year,  than we do living here our whole lives.  The phone starts ringing days before he arrives.  “When is Gibson coming?” “Is Gibson there yet?” “Can Gibson come out and play?”

Gibson is smart, funny, affable and a loyal friend.  Everybody loves Gibson.  It seems he has but one small failing.

His English sucks.   Even after fifteen years of visits and an ESL course,  he still never fails to leave us in hysterics with his lingual gaffs.  You think Desi Arnaz sounded funny?  You ain’t heard nothing yet.  On his most recent visit the three of us were in the car when we crossed over one of Connecticut’s major rivers,  the Housatonic.

“Isn’t that the Titanic?” Gibson queried.

Sen͂or Gibson.

El Doctor Gibson.

We almost drove off the road laughing.   Here are three of his best gems from years gone by.

Scene #1:  A warm summer’s day.  Gibson comes in from the yard and proudly states, “I killed all of the Wops under the deck.”

We are presently paying the Irish mafia to protect him from the Italian mafia

Scene #2:  A balmy summer’s eve.  We are eating dinner out on the now Wop-free deck.  Gibson licks his lips as he devours the barbecue chicken I have just finished grilling and proclaims, “Mark is a good cock!”

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Gibson!!  That’s not a complement.  Well at least, not coming from you.

Scene #3: A typical day at my wife’s office.  Or rather, a typical Gibson visit day.   But as he and Cheryl are working up a case, the groomer is having a hard time in the next room with a rather hissy cat.

“Bad pussy! Bad pussy.”  The groomer scolds the feline.   Cheryl and Gibson hear this and Cheryl ignores it.  But Gibson immediately goes next door, picks up the cat, and begins examining its genitals.

“What are you doing?” Cheryl asks.

“Well,” Gibson says quite seriously, “Donna said it has a bad pussy!”

It’s OK.  We still love Gibson.  We love him the way Lucy loved Desi, bad English and all.

Signature@MarkSackler

post

Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #3: Surgery, yes. Kitchen, no.

“Anybody who finds it easy to make money on the horses is probably in the dog food business.””–Franklin P. Jones

Mark's Spitz

Mark’s Spitz

My wife is a great surgeon.  You know how I can tell?  She is the one that is always asked to carve the Thanksgiving turkey.  We figure, if she can spay a dog or cat, she should be able to cut up a bird.

The one thing she is not generally asked to do is prepare the Thanksgiving dinner,  for reasons the following story will illustrate.

We had been married for three years, and were living in our first apartment after her graduation from veterinary school. It was just the two of us and our first dog, an affectionate and lively spitz named Doodlebug.

Cheryl was actually making some semblance of effort to be a wife as well as a vet.  One afternoon on her day off she decided to make brownies.  Dinner?  She made reservations; when  I got home from work, we went out.  The cooling brownies were left on the kitchen table sharing half of a large round serving plate with some store-bought chocolate chip cookies. (Keebler, Nabisco? Whatever.)    The table was, she thought, out of the dog’s reach, so the goodies were safe, and we left.

The table was out of the dog’s reach. BUT, the chair left slightly out from the table was within reach,  so that Doodlebug could jump up on that and then reach the plateful of fun.  She did.  And she ate every single one of those mass produced cookies and did not so much as sniff my wife’s brownies.  When we got home, there was the plate:  the cookies on one side were gone, crumbs and all.   The brownies were untouched.  My wife was devastated–and I laughed so hard it’s a miracle I did not crack three ribs.   Amazing.  Our dogs will eat just about anything, including cat poop, horse poop and their own poop.   What they won’t eat is Cheryl’s brownies.  Now you know why we eat out a lot.  Bon appetit!

%d bloggers like this: