Tornado Tawse

It was Jacqueline’s turn to earn herself a new nickname this week. Irene and I were standing discussing something (something very important you understand, we would never stand around gossiping) when something whizzed past us so quickly that it was almost invisible. My eyes tried to follow, but the thing moved so rapidly that I wasn’t able to focus. Fortunately Irene’s younger eyes were more efficient.

‘It was Jacqueline,’ she said with a smile. ‘She’s just so fast all the time.’

I couldn’t help but grin. ‘That’s true,’ I said. ‘The only way you can tell if she’s been there, is because everything  is suddenly tidy.’

‘Yes,’ Irene agreed. ‘Everything sparkles after she’s whisked through.’ And so Tornado Tawse was born.

But by now there was a sad look on Irene’s face. ‘When do I get a nickname?’ she asked. ‘Nearly everyone else has one.’

‘What about Scary Boss Lady Junior?’ I said, but she shook her head.

‘It has to be something like Magne’s, you know, starting with the same letter.’

‘You mean something like Impetuous Irene?’ I said. She looked at me suspiciously.

‘What does Impetuous mean?’

I thought about that for a moment. I didn’t know the Norwegian. ‘Well, jumping into things without thinking about them. Kind of crazy and wild.’

At this point there was a disturbance of the air, and we realised that Jacqueline was hurtling past. ‘Hey Jacqueline,’ I called out. ‘What’s impetuous in Norwegian?’ (Jacqueline is Norwegian, born of British parents, so she is bilingual).

Jacqueline stopped, but after a moment’s thought, she admitted that she didn’t know either.

‘Why?’ she asked.

‘We’re trying to think of a nickname for Irene. Something starting with ‘i’,’ I said.

An evil grin spread over Jacqueline’s face. ‘Irritating?’ she offered. ‘Irrational?’

Irene’s eyes widened as she glared at Tornado Tawse. ‘How about Irresistible?’ she said. ‘Incredible? Inspiring?’ I was glad to see she was smiling again.

‘Actually,’ I said. ‘I think that Impestuous Irene, is my favourite.’

‘What does that mean?’ she asked.

‘Absolutely nothing,’ I replied. Personally I like it. It may be a made up word, but it definitely suits her.

Thursday was a whirlwind day. It started quietly, and I had time to clean both the dental room, and the lab before the first operation, which was a cat spay of Marita’s. It turned out to be rather a difficult one, as the chest was quite deep and the ovarian pedicles were tight and so I scrubbed up to hold everything out of the way so that she could tie them off safely. It all went very well.

After we had finished, I saw a beautiful English Setter going into Magne’s room, and something made me follow. There then followed an interesting history taking session between Magne and the owner, which I managed to follow almost in its entirety, despite the fact that both were speaking quite quickly. I also, to my pleasure, came up with the correct diagnosis. The pleasure was only related to my diagnostic prowess, however. From the owner and animal point of view, it wasn’t great news because the lovely dog was suffering from pyometra. For those who don’t know, pyometra is an infection within the uterus. In some cases this is obvious because pus is discharged, but in some cases the cervix is closed and there is an internal build-up, and that is particularly risky as there is a chance of rupture. Magne and I took the bitch through to the ultrasound machine, and Wivek came and confirmed the diagnosis and measured the size of the uterus, which was quite distended.

I was unsure whether Magne would have time to go ahead with the operation immediately. Dagny wasn’t there, and she normally assists, but as the dog was already sedated, it was better to go ahead. I considered offering to operate alone (with Jacqueline to monitor the anaesthetic) but as it is normal here for two vets to work together on such operations, I didn’t want to risk anything going wrong. I’ve done many such operations alone in Scotland, but they were quite a long time ago now.

Anyway, after only a short consultation with the owner, and with Gerd, Mellifluous Magne announced that he would go ahead with the operation. He asked me to get the patient prepared while he saw his last patient of the morning, so with Jacqueline’s help I put in a catheter, set up a drip and intubated her. Jaqueline had set up the anaesthetic machine, and very smoothly everything was set in place.

The operation went amazingly well. I repeated my actions of the cat spay, holding everything out of the way for Magne to tie off the ovarian pedicles, and the enormous uterus was removed safely. All that remained was for me to stitch up, and Magne seemed delighted with that too.

After lunch, I helped Marita with another cat spay. It’s an odd thing. Normally a bitch pyo would be a complicated operation, and a cat spay straightforward, but not on this day. Cat spay number two was very unusual. Again I scrubbed in as Marita was having difficulty locating the uterus, and between us, we eventually managed to find what seemed to be the left ovary, which looked cystic. Odder still though, there was no uterus attached. We called Dagny through, just to make sure, and for a moment, my heart was in my mouth. If she immediately pulled out a normal uterus, I was going to look rather stupid, however she only found the same thing as we had, so after a brief discussion, she told us to go ahead and remove the one ovary that we had found. It was very unusual. There had been no sign of a scar on the midline when we went in, and after the operation, we carefully felt the cat’s flank, but there didn’t seem to be a scar there either. Anyway, after I had sutured the second cat-spay, it was time to go home, and I collapsed into my car tired but happy after a very busy day.

It only remains to say that the Julebord (Christmas party) is tomorrow. Irene, Jacqueline and I are all getting together for a beauty session. Irene always looks stunning, so I’m relying on her to do me proud. Hopefully there will be some photos to share.

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