Tag Archives: Vet

Fest!

There’s only a week left until Christmas, but there is still lots going on in Tu. Tuesday started with a bitch spay. The patient was a lovely little dog, and naturally her owner was worried. Happily, with Dagny and Magne’s nimble fingers, the operation was very swift and her owner was hugely relieved to see her friend back safely. Even with surgery that seems routine to us,  for every owner it’s a unique and frightening experience.

For some reason, every time I walked into the laboratory, Marita was there using the hairdryer. We have quite a lot of technical equipment in Tu, but there are also some much more down-to-earth items that we use, and the hairdryer is one of them. It’s used on microscope slides to dry the material before staining and to me this is usually a very prosaic action, but as Marita stood there with her left foot at a rakish angle, right hand merrily oscillating, she looked very glamorous. Maybe in a previous life she was a stylist to a famous film star.

Although the day was busy, somehow in the afternoon, Magne and I managed to sit down for a cup of coffee. I think it must be a first for us to have time to do that. As well as coffee, Magne took a chocolate from his advent calendar and immediately afterwards he began to cough. I wondered whether he was so over-excited that he was choking, but when I asked he assured me it was only kennel cough and he acquired it because he hadn’t been vaccinated with sufficient aquavit.

Thursday was the day of our Christmas lunch in the klinikk, but before that, I had to help Magne clean out a dog’s ears. Pio, who weighed in at about seventy kilos was probably the biggest dog I have ever seen. Happily, he was also very good-natured. He and I had a lovely cuddle.

Pio
Pio

As for the fest (party) of the title, everyone in the clinic was invited, including the large animal vets whose office is in the same building. In the UK, an office Christmas party might consist of crisps and mince pies, or on a good day, sausage rolls and turkey sandwiches. Here they serve risgrøt, or rice porridge,  which is liberally sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, and garnished with butter. I still always find it slightly disconcerting to be presented with a plate of rice-pudding for lunch, but it’s definitely not objectionable. Somewhere in the risgrøt, there is usually an almond or two, and whoever finds one wins a prize. In this case, the winnings were three large bars of chocolate, and they were won by Gerd, Jaqueline and Jan-Arne.

Of course, no Christmas party would be complete without the Christmas Banter. This year it was provided by Scary Boss Lady and her Whipping Boy. It began with Dagny laughing at Jan-Arne for the fact that he had been caught for a second time leaving his trousers on the  floor of the changing room. Then she asked,

‘Is it true as well that you came to work in your pyjamas?’ Jan-Arne flushed slightly, but valiantly defended himself.

‘Well at least I don’t scuff my feet along the ground when I come in in the morning.’

Dagny frowned and shook her head. ‘I don’t scuff my feet.’

‘You do. Everyone can hear when you arrive.’

Dagny opened her eyes wide. ‘It isn’t true,’ she said and looked challengingly around the room. ‘A show of hands please, who can tell when I come in?’

I fear that the vote would have been unanimous, if only I had been keeping up properly with the conversation, but as usual, I was five steps behind.

I suspect that Dagny is one of those people who believe that attack is the best form of defence, and so she returned to a subject that had been going on since before the meal had started.

‘Well at least I didn’t open the chocolates that were meant to be eaten with this lunch. I think you should give your bar of chocolate back so we can all share it. Without another word, Jan-Arne carefully lifted up his prize and slid it into his pocket.

But all in all, it just goes to show, that however much effort you make, and however far you travel at Christmas, there will still always be someone who has to argue over who it was that ate all the chocolates.

Belated Bacon Powder

As some of you might have noticed, I didn’t blog last week. Sadly, last Friday I was on my way to Scotland for the funeral of my much-loved father-in-law. Among the sadness however there were some bright moments. On Sunday morning with the official ceremonies behind us, we paid a visit to the Barras Market which was fascinating. I loved it, but felt utterly out of place: a real tourist in a land I couldn’t fit into, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would feel like to be a part of that culture. Still Monday brought us back to Norway and to normality, and although for a moment I felt a little homesick, the return to work steadied me, as it always does.

Now and then at work, someone will bring in home-baking, and last week I decided to take in some scones (recipe here). I took in strawberry jam, and squirty cream to eat with them, and they went down very well. Jan-Arne, of course, who is as fascinated with food as I am, said that he had heard about scones, and that he had expected them to be much drier. I suspect that whoever told him about them probably had eaten one when it was a bit stale, because of course, they don’t last long.

‘So how do you make them?’ was his next question.

I explained that you used flour and baking powder, and then rubbed in some butter and brought it all together with milk, but I could see his face cloud over, and his next question really confused me.

‘But what makes it rise?’ he said. Before I go on, I should explain that in Norway, the self-raising flour that I took completely for granted when I was in the UK just doesn’t exist here. For almost all baked goods thicker than biscuits*, you use baking power, so it seemed almost impossible that he hadn’t understood.

‘Well, the baking powder makes it rise,’ I said, and his face suddenly cleared.

‘Oh!’ A long drawn out sound. ‘That explains, it. I thought you said bacon powder,’ and he went off into his trademark giggle.

At this point Wivek arrived and asked what we were laughing about, and so we explained. ‘We’d probably all get a rise if she had used bacon powder.’ was her rather dry comment.

I don’t remember so many outstanding cases from the past two weeks. I know that last Thursday, Perle, the dog in the picture at the top of the page was booked in for a possible operation to relieve a build up of fluid following cruciate surgery, but that when she came, the situation was beginning to resolve and so the op was cancelled. That meant that my normal morning anaesthetic duties were out of the window, and as there were a few rooms that needed cleaning, I decided to get on with them. After sorting out the kennel room, the lab, and the x-ray room, I was walking towards consulting room A with my bucket, when Jacqueline, who had been clipping the claws of a dog for Marita came out of the dental room and yawned widely. It really was that kind of morning.

Of course, nothing is reliable in vet practice, and despite having hours of time in the morning to clean, I shouldn’t have been surprised when mid-afternoon, at the time when if I was working in an office I might be winding down for the last half-hour of the day, an emergency operation arrived and as everyone else was busy, I rolled up my sleeves (well metaphorically. In reality, I donned a surgical gown and gloves) and got on with it.

Thursday this week was quite quiet as well. Lucky for me, as I am trying to get up to speed on everything before I start officially consulting next week. Years ago, I was so used to my job that almost everything could be done on automatic pilot. I would say the same things over and over when I admitted an animal for an operation, and I knew exactly which drugs I would choose for a typical skin infection or diarrhoea case. Although I have re-learned a lot of things since starting work, I also (because I have done it all before) am aware of how many things I don’t remember. In the UK, it is common to have all the tablets and medicines in the practice, so if you are a bit stumped about dosages or applications, you can just pop through to the pharmacy and read the box. Here, almost all the drugs are provided via a prescription, so you have to know where to look everything up, and even when you do, it’s all in Norwegian, so it doesn’t only take a second to read, as it would have done before. No doubt once I start, it will all begin to come together, but just looking at it from the outside, it is a tiny bit daunting. I don’t really have any real uncertainty that it is the right thing to do though. It’s time I was properly back in harness.

As part of the learning process, I did get to spend some time in consulting rooms with my colleagues, and late on Thursday I found myself practising writing up the computer in Jan-Arne’s room. He had just micro-chipped a cat, and idly he started to run the scanner over his own neck.

‘Wouldn’t it be weird and alarming, if I were actually to find something,’ he said idly. Picking up one of the unused chips, still in its covering, he held it up to my back and scanned it so that the machine beeped. Of course, having seen him picking up the packet, I knew he was just messing around, but even as I watched him, I saw a mischievous look come over his face.

‘Where’s Marita?’ he said. ‘I want to see how she reacts.’ Of course, Jan-Arne in this mood is irresistible, and barely able to supress a giggle, I followed him. We couldn’t immediately find her, but sticking our heads into the prep-room, we saw Jaqueline sitting at the computer.

‘Why don’t you try it on her,’ I whispered to him, but he shook his head.

‘She’ll never fall for it,’ he said. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would really, but still always ready for some fun, I continued to follow him until he tracked Marita down, sitting in the office beside reception, looking at the computer. Sidling up behind her, he waved the microchip reader at her and ostentatiously started to scan himself.

‘Wouldn’t it be weird if I found something,’ he said, his face completely deadpan. Then without asking, he started to run the scanner over Marita’s  neck and back, and I watched as he slid the chip up into place and ran the machine over it. Marita’s face was a picture as she heard the beep, and for a moment it was obvious she really thought he had found something, but as she turned, she caught site of the package in his hand.

‘Uh!’ she rolled her eyes at him and laughed ruefully and I must confess that what impressed me most about this whole scenario, was Jan-Arnes unerring instinct for playing pranks to maximum effect. He really is a fun guy to be around.

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*I have been told by a friend from Texas, that what I call a scone is called a biscuit where she lives, and that the thing I call a biscuit, she calls a cookie, so if the whole of the recipe discussion is incomprehensible in your part of the world, I can only apologise.