The Apologue

It was the end of another twelve hour day and Dr Rob and super nurse Anin were very tired and looking forward to going home. A client called saying their large breed dog had a very enlarged belly. Dr Rob knew what this was going to be. He prepared nurse Anin for what was coming.

Anin is a super nurse who is absolutely committed to the highest of veterinary nurse standards, high level patient care and animal welfare. Dr Rob knew she was exhausted but she put on a brave face and prepared for the inescapable reality of the veterinary industry.

A patient was coming that had a life threatening emergency and it was up to us to save the pet. “Ours is not to wonder why, ours is but to do or die”.

The Remorse

Kratos arrived and his abdomen was greatly enlarged. Dr Rob percussed his abdomen and his fears were realised. This was a tympanitic (drum-like) abdomen because Kratos had a greatly enlarged stomach called a bloat.

We had to x-ray the abdomen to determine whether this was a life threatening GDV (twisted stomach), taking hours and hours of emergency surgery to fix or whether it was a simple bloat that could be relieved rapidly by passing a stomach tube to release the gas.

We prayed for Kratos as we took the x-ray. Unfortunately, Kratos had a twisted stomach. His mum desperately wanted to save him so we took him to surgery. After a painstakingly long and challenging surgery, and now at the end of a sixteen hour day, Dr Rob and super nurse Anin dared to dream of going home to bed.

Such thoughts are dangerous in the world of veterinary medicine. The after hours phone rang just as we were finishing and a very worried pet owner was on the line. His beloved mastiff had a very enlarged abdomen and was drooling. Dr Rob looked at the exhausted super nurse Anin. As always she was diligently doing her duty. Kratos was getting executive care as Anin monitored his vitals using our advanced anaesthetic monitoring systems. He broke the news gently telling her there was another patient on the way down and it sounded like another twisted stomach.

Dr Rob was sure Anin felt like crying, but she put on a very brave face. X-rays showed our second emergency of the night did indeed have a twisted stomach and back to theatre we went.

The Reconciliation

At 5 am we were finally finished the second GDV for the night but after two emergency surgeries, there is a lot of cleaning. Dr Rob and super nurse Anin were exhausted beyond the limits of normal human endurance. It was almost time to start work again on Tuesday as the sun was peaking over the horizon for another glorious day.

Despite the exhaustion, despite the fatigue, despite the personal hardship, we felt fulfilled knowing we had done everything we could do save two souls and bring joy to very worried people. It is often a thankless job but we do our best always.

It is hard to find this commitment in a civilisation that has largely lost resilience but super nurse Anin was solid in an hour of need for these patients. What a super nurse! What a super vet! We had a brief nap before starting work again for the day.

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