Thursday, 26 June 2008

Conveyor belt....

.....sometimes my life feels like one.

I live from one weekend on call, to the next night on call to the blissful recovery period in between and then the dread of the impending cycle repeating again. A cycle of exhaustion followed by recovery with peaks and troughs in between.

Sometimes when I step into my car and make the journey between surgeries a feeling of immense sorrow falls over me. In these quiet times of reflection I remember the people who are no longer here through tragedy or timely end and those whose lives now hang in the balance.

It's been a difficult year.

When I reach my destination, I wipe away the tears, step back onto the conveyor belt and continue on.

Because at times like this, much as we might resent it, the conveyor belt will carry us through.

Saturday, 21 June 2008


Miss Marple sits quietly in the waiting room.

She really is a sweet old dear. Complete with sparkly blue eyes, a few missing teeth probably as a result of sucking too many toffees and her much doted upon companion, Susie the tortoiseshell cat.

She rests her wooden walking stick upon one chair, while Susie sits quietly under another in her wire basket.

I help Miss Marple up and we walk, very very slowly into my room. I carry Susie in one hand and prop Miss Marple up with the other.

Miss Marple sits down in a chair and the nurse helps me with Susie. We chat about things that old people worry about, like whether to get Susie insured or whether to just put some savings away in case she gets sick.

When we have finished I help Miss Marple to her feet and carry Susie out to reception.

'Is someone coming to pick you up?' I ask her.

'Oh no dear.' She says smiling. 'I came by car.'

As I am placing Susie on the front seat of the small blue corsa, mosty parked on the lawn and fractionally parked in the carpark, I say a little prayer.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

A different world.

'Mr Jones what is your appointment for?' Asks the receptionist.

'I can't remember.' Says the elderly Mr Jones, who looks like he is dressed in his best Sunday suit.

Next up Mr Humble.

'Your appointment was yesterday.' She explains to him. He scratches his balding head and says nothing. 'I'm sure we can fit you in though.' She smiles.

Meanwhile the old woman next to me is continuously scratching her hands. It's a horrible noise. Nails on rubbery skin, repeated over and over again.

Mr Johnstone has arrived for a health check, but forgotten his paperwork.

As I sit in the doctor's waiting room I thank God that old people rarely have pets.

'If your balance problem returns you'll have to see the 'Giddy Doctor' at the hospital.' My GP explains slowly. Obviously being around old people all day is starting to where off on him too.

'You mean I'll have to line up with all the old people twice my age who are falling over?' I ask him with some trepidation.

'Actually, probably three times your age.' Is the reply.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Euro pets.

As I sit in the restaurant at the arrivals lounge at Hamburg airport I am vaguely aware of a wet, licking sensation somewhere around my left ankle.

The Jack Russell terrier sniffs my shoe and carries on about it's business, dragging it's well sodden toy ball passed the sandwich counter and back to it's owners who are enjoying a meal at the neighbouring table.

A Giant Schnauzer saunters by with it's owner.

Euro pets go everywhere, restaurants, airports, shops.

We don't take our pets to the airport or the restaurant because we are afraid of germs but we do let them crap all over our streets and in our children's parks.

We don't go in for nudity or porn yet we have the highest rate of teenage pregnancy.

We don't let our kids drink wine yet we binge at the weekends.

Quite simply, the British are repressed and so are their pets.

Our island existence together and two world wars has made us different to our European counterparts. In fact the British don't even consider themselves to be European.

Lord knows how our little lambs will cope on the continent?

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Executioner's tea party.

'I thought we might have a cup of tea first.' Says Mrs Bridger.

Oh how I loathe euthanasia visits.

The pressure to ensure a good clean kill is felt nowhere more than when positioned between the sofa, the dog basket, two neighbours (assembled to offer support/stories of pets gone by) and the mantle piece upon which Grannie's ashes sit.

Invariably poor lighting will make the visualisation of the vein impossible. Hindered yet further by the pet's shrinking circulation as a result of at least four consecutive days of collapse after the owner's sad yet optimistic hope that their pet will be 'gone by morning'.

When 'gone by morning' becomes still not 'gone by Friday' the vet is called.

'Milk?' She asks me. 'I thought we might like Rosie to settle first.'

I've never had tea under these circumstances, I'm usually in and out like an efficient yet compassionate assassin, with just the right mix of 'It was the kindest thing for her' and 'please can you open the boot to my car'.

But I have formed an attachment to Mrs Bridger and Rosie. I know that Mrs Bridger's husband has recently died and that Rosie is the last in a long line of boxers that Mrs Bridger has bred herself. I know that Rosie likes tea and biscuits too.

I sip my tea and Rosie settles down in front of the fireplace after her initial excitement to see me.

Mrs Bridger's assembled friend is listing a long line of Corgis that she has kept over the last thirty years, Rosie is snoring and I am wondering just how much of my tea it is polite to drink before I get on with the task in hand.

Rosie passes peacefully whilst chomping on a chocolate digestive biscuit.

It is hard for me not to get upset. Contrary to popular belief vets cry too sometimes.

I am glad that I made time for Mrs Bridger and Rosie. I only wish I could do it more often.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

A boneo..... a vet's best friend.
Poor Ebony has terrible ear disease. They have been flushed under anaesthetic but they require daily cleaning. Ebony is a very reluctant patient. She wears her muzzle and gives me that glare, the one where the whites of her eyes are clearly visible.
Until we come to an understanding.
Ear cleaning = 1 x boneo
Ebony's ears are now perfect.
But she has gained 3 kgs.
No doubt I'll be seeing her for her arthritis shortly.