Sunday, September 6, 2009

Top Ten

If it is not number one then this day has to be close. Number one worst day ever, that is. It started out with food poisoning trips to the bathroom from 2 am to 7 am, but I won't go into details. After laying on the couch for a couple of hours without further problem I decided to go into work. Since no one else at work wanted to be locked in the same room with me I was sent out to "look" at some lame cows. After being told that they were all in the corral I wondered aloud why they were not bringing them in. "Because it isn't convenient for them and they won't do anything that is inconvenient for them." Great. Just to understand my displeasure a little I will describe the options.

Option One:
Bring the cows in and look at them at the clinic. We have a hydraulic chute that we can tip each cow up on her side with straps that go around each foot so that they are unable to kick and we have easy, clear access to all four feet to perform whatever type of foot work the cow is in need of. I think it is a wonderful invention that is safe, easy, and allows for the optimal result from a medical standpoint.

Option Two:
We regularly look at lame cows on the farm when they are out on pasture (often many miles from the home place) and the owner is unable to get them in to bring them down to the clinic to work in the wonderful hydraulic chute. In the case of the pasture cows we tranquilize them with the dart gun and work on their feet while they are heavily sedated and laying down. Although not as good as the clinic, this is still a generally effective diagnostic and treatment system.

Option Three:
Look at the cow on the farm in their working facilities. In other words, standing in whatever kind of chute they have, tying up the leg in question and trying to get a decent look with the cow kicking and fighting the whole time.

Yes, I was going into option three with a group of five lame cows. The first cow was brought into the chute and the hired man put a rope around her hind leg and tied it up to the side of the chute lifted about 18 inches off the ground. After repeated kicking convinced her that her foot was there to stay she stood quietly and I began my exam. Reaching down I began to move the toes to have a better look and suddenly a sharp blow sent me reeling. I rolled backwards out of the chute area, laying on the ground with my hands over my face trying not to black out.
"Do you need an ambulance? Do you need an ambulance? Go call the ambulance. Are you knocked out? Are you okay? Wow, you are really bleeding. Do you need an ambulance?"

"No, don't call an ambulance yet. Let me just lay here for a minute."

With my brain in slow motion I figured out what had happened. The cow had kicked me in the head (I still don't know how she was able to get enough slack in the rope and reach high enough) my head had bounced off the back end of the chute palp cage and then I rolled back out of the way. I had a small gash in the bottom of my eyebrow about a quarter inch from the side of my eye that had half of my face covered in blood and a large goose egg on the opposite side of my head where I had bounced off the chute. My brain did not take long to ask itself, "Why did I ever come into work today?"

Some warm water, surgical soap, bandages, and several Ibuprofen later I was ready to take charge of the situation. Each cow came into the chute for her IV injection of Xylazine and then she was released into the pen to let the tranquilizer take effect. I wasn't about to get kicked in the head again and I wasn't concerned about the added expense to the farmer for sedation of all the animals. Not surprisingly I didn't hear one word of complaint out of the farmer either. Two hours later, after lots of sweating and unpleasant words being thrown in the general direction of the two more stubborn cows, our project was complete.

The best words I heard as I was getting ready to leave the farm were, "Next time we will bring them down to the clinic."