Tuesday morning began well with Dagny and Magne operating to remove the most enormous piece of detached cartilage I have ever seen from a dogs shoulder joint. It went so smoothly that I had a good feeling about the remainder of the day. Reality reasserted itself when I went through and carefully laid the dog in the kennel… and stood up, bashing my head off the door of the left upper kennel. Instinctively recoiling, I ricocheted and thumped the other side of my head on the door of the other kennel. It was that kind of day.
Next came a mammary tumour, which I had seen on the computer. I confess I had expected a dog (I saw the operation, and didn’t check the species because mammary tumours in dogs are incredibly common, and in cats incredibly rare). Again the same pattern, the operation itself went very well. I was doing this one on Magne’s behalf because he was running slightly behind schedule. As I inserted the last stitch, stripped my gloves off and walked out of theatre to wash my hands, Mobility Magne rushed into the room, brandishing a cat cage at arms length.
‘Can you do something with this,’ he gasped, before disappearing. I confess, I was somewhat surprised, but as the most disgusting stink assailed me, I realised that the cat in question had deposited something utterly rank in the cage. Luckily I have a strong stomach, so without further ado, I cleaned up the mess. Being a vet really is a very glamorous job. I am reminded at such moments, of James Herriot, comparing his vocation with that of a small animal surgeon and humorously self-deprecating as usual. He mentions that after his operations, “the final scene would have been of Herriot the great surgeon swilling the floor with mop and bucket”. Well even though I now work in small-animal practice, it’s not so very different. ReMorseful Magne (see what I did there) did proffer a partial explanation later when he told me that the awful smell was literally making him gag.
In the afternoon, I had a cat spay booked in, but somewhat to my surprise, two turned up. The owners, after being told by Magne that I sutured very beautifully, had asked that I be allowed to spay their cat, but they seemed confused when they arrived and saw only me. They had been expecting Magne to supervise. Fortunately at this moment, the man himself turned up and smoothed everything over. The highlight of my afternoon however, was when Irene was attempting to shave up the second spay for me. Because most cats here are spayed midline, she needed to be reminded of the landmarks I use when deciding where to incise. She had the cat laid out on a chair and seemed to be paying close attention as she felt around for the bony protuberances of the hip and thighbone. Finally, she found what she thought felt right.
‘Am I in the right place?’ she asked. Rounding the corner of the table to take a look, I was somewhat surprised to see her eyes were close to shut as she concentrated fiercely on what she was feeling, and that one of her fingers was on the shoulder and the other somewhere on the neck.
‘Um… well it would be if the cat was the right way round.’ I commented with a giggle. Fully expecting her to join in with my hilarity at this very funny joke, I was amazed when she opened her eyes wide and looked mortified. She really hadn’t noticed.
‘This stays strictly between us.’ Red-faced, she tried to silence me, but unfortunately nothing so amusing ever stays private here and she did continue giggling at herself for at least half-an-hour, so I guess she must have seen the funny side. I fear she may try to get her revenge by commenting to mention the very loud fart I let out when I was bending over to clean the floor in room B last week, but of course everyone will know that couldn’t possibly be true. I could never be so crudie.
Thursday morning began with a Caesarean. Dagny and Magne again, working as a team. Magne did the first part of the operation while Dagny revived the puppies, and then Dagny took over to stitch up. There were four healthy puppies, which is always a lovely event. Dagny had only had two hours sleep, but was still working as efficiently as ever. I have a feeling that her amazing cheekbones can get her through almost anything because she looked as good as ever too. Fortunately after the operation, she was able to go home and get a couple of hours sleep before the lunchtime meeting.
This weeks picture shows Wivek operating. It doesn’t get much more glamorous than this.