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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Incognito....


...no more.

Alas my poor broken Ford Focus lies ailing at the garage.

Leaving me with the only alternative means of transport available- the practice van.

A postman pat van with big green crosses and advertising sloguns.

Worse still because my garage is jam packed full of giant rabbit and giant rabbit accessories I am having to park it on the driveway, leaving my neighbours in no doubt as to my profession, place of work, daytime contact numbers and emergency night time contact numbers.

I am waiting for the doorstep consultations to begin.

Maybe I just won't answer the door....

Monday, 26 May 2008

When you lose something you can't replace....

As I enter the back door a desperate scene unfolds.

Three small children under the age of ten huddled in a dog basket in the corner of the room, tears streaming and cries of 'No! You can't take Bessie, you can't!' The oldest girl has her arms wrapped around Bessie's neck and the youngest boy is lying across her back.

Underneath them poor Bessie the Labrador looks tired, very tired in deed.

The children are torn away one by one. Bessie passes peacefully and I warn the parents not to allow the children back into the room for a few moments in case there should be any reflex movement after death. They ignore my advice. The children return and Bessie's body gasps several times.

'She's not dead.' Says the five year old boy. He has the biggest saddest brown eyes I have ever seen.

I say nothing, I am the executioner. The one that took Bessie away. The parents can lay the responsibilty and the torment at my feet.

The children are grief stricken because Bessie was part of their family, she was there every day to be fed, played with or ignored. Bessie was just there. Now Bessie will never be there again and she can never ever be replaced.

But how do we feel when we lose something we never really had in the first place?

I remember being cradled in her lap and comforted whilst watching the small black and white TV, it was a cowboy film. I was two years old and my mother was in hospital giving birth to my brother. My german Grandmother was visiting from Hamburg to look after me. I can feel her pearl necklace against my forehead and the way her bracelets caught the hair on my arms as I slipped them over my tiny wrist.

Whenever I smell clementines in the supermarket I think of her. She used to store them in crates in the cool cellar, I can still hear the knocking sound of her stilletto heels on the hard red wooden staircase. She refused to take them off as she walked down the pricarious steps. She would rather break her neck than be found at the bottom of the staircase without them.

The mirror in the hallway where she put on her make-up and carefully combed her bright red hair. Always red. We never knew what colour really lay beneath the hair dye, now we will never know.

The reality is that our paths rarely crossed. Although I know she loved me, she is gone and I mourn the person I barely got to know.

But slowly I realise there are many things that will remain. The german nursery rhymes that she taught my mother, I somehow know off by heart and instinctively sing to my godchildren. The decorations we hang on the trees at Easter and Christmas. The crooked nose and high cheek bones I see when I look in the mirror. An obsessive admiration for auburn hair. The prohibition of jam sandwiches because jam is for breakfast only.  The way my mother soothes me when I am down, the way my grandmother would soothe me when I was sick or tired. The cold flannels placed around my calves as a child to bring down a fever. The fennel tea. 
The impulse to do what is right, to speak our mind regardless of what others think. Courage.

When we lose a member of our human family it is never the same as losing a pet. To some the sadness may be comparable, to others incomparable.  

But there will always be something however small or insignificant that remains, an imprint that will be passed on to the next generation.  You just need to know where to look and when you find it you must never let it go.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Broke Back Cats...

It's that time of year again.

The time of year when an inexperienced nurse will phone you and tell you that someone is bringing their cat in as an emergency because she can't walk and is howling but rather mysteriously is still eating and rather bright.

This is the behaviour of a cat in season not a cat with a broken back.

Every spring/summer owners who fail to get their cats neutered will be bewildered by their pet's behaviour. Crying, rolling, crawling on their tummy with their tail to one side is all part of their 'come and get me' behaviour.

This behaviour continues for seven days and is repeated every three weeks until she is pregnant.

Thank God humans are different.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Standing at the cross roads.

It is hard for female clinicians my age.

No husband, children or prospects of partnership at work.

I am left wondering, where next?

I can't afford to go back to school and become a specialist because I have no-one to support me financially. If I could go back, would I be able to have a family should the opportunity finally arise?

I am afraid of failure too.

I realise after my week with the supervets that their expertise may be greater but underneath it all we are not so different.

The women are not icey they are harassed and stressed because they are running the show.

The vets may have many letters after their names but they often show a touching level of affection towards their patients suggesting they care deeply about what happens to them.

At the end of the day we are all doing the best we can whether we be standing at the crossroads or at our final destination.