Friday, 26 December 2008

Chrismas Eve on Duty

On Christmas Eve l had been down to do the 14:00-22:00 but was asked to swop at the last minute to 17:30-03:30. I slunk into the house at gone 4am slurped a mug of coffee, tripped over books because the stairs light blew and l happened to be looking up at it when it flashed and seared my eyeballs and all l saw was flashes for 10minutes.

Work was as expected busy. I went straight into the kennel area on arrival to be told “Hurry up you are in theatre in 10minutes”. We had a splenectomy op (removal of the spleen). The patient was stable for the first part of the op. The last part was a bit of a nightmare as the patient did heart stops and other fun games with me. I was the anaesthetist for the op. Anyhow we all survived, the vet and l with more grey hairs, the patient minus a spleen. His recovery was good though considering the op and a bag of blood was dripped into him, along with other fluids.

Spleen operations are always a guarded diagnosis. In older dogs the spleen is often the target for tumours. They reach a certain point then rupture. The abdomen fills with blood, the body goes into shock and the spleen needs removing to stop the bleeding or the patient dies. Bleeding has often gone on over a week or so with the owner thinking the dog is a bit off colour then the dog's collapse.
The liver and other organs are checked for mets (spreading tumours). If there is mets then generally the patient won't come off the table, 98% of the time if you find mets then they are well advanced. The owners are rung and recommended that the patient is inoperable. Even if they came round the shock of the operation will mean they die within a very short time post operatively often within a couple of hours and it is not fair on the patient.

There were several minor ops during the night. Including a border collie that was very nervous. A nervous dog is the worst if it bites you. They are scared so make the first bite the one that counts. Luckily he didn’t bite, well l got called over by the vet who decided to get him out and the vet seemed intact. He had decided to do a “just” op. These will “just” take 5minutes in this case a quick leg stitch. It ended up as tendon repair and not as straightforward.

A diaphragmatic hernia repair was ending when l left. I kindly gave the night nurse that one, figured the other 2 ops l was involved with was my quota for the night, l did the inpatients instead.
A diaphragmatic hernia (rupture) is caused by extreme trauma, in the cat’s case due to a car hitting it. The diaphragm amongst its other jobs is the “muscle barrier” between the abdomen and the chest. Puss had a lot of trouble breathing because his liver, spleen and stomach were sharing space in his chest with his lungs, if he had not been castrated his testicles would have been in there as well.

We had a Doberman in who weighed about 50kg. At one point his drip line blocked so l so l sat on his bed in the walk in kennel to undo it, clear it and reattach it. This was not too easy. I ended up trying to fend him off my lap. He had a mental image of himself as being a tiny little puppy not a blimming big but sweet lump. We came to an agreement; he sat on my lower legs/feet and crushed those while l sorted his leg out. When left alone he howled until you went in gave him a cuddle then he shut up for about 30minutes. Seemed 30seconds gave 30minutes of silence in his currency.

Day shift had managed to get a lot of inpatients home, thankfully. Still we added a quite few into the empty kennels. Including a wild goose with one leg, the practice manager will take the goose. He has a huge pond and all water birds go to him. The vet and l upset the night nurse. She is a veggie and we discussed how the best way to cook the bird. Would the loss of one leg mean that it was lacking for those who liked leg meat etc? It cheered the evening up she took the bait and hell, we reeled it in.

The little stray pup is still in. His leg is still borderline to be kept or removed. He can not use it and it sticks out straight. He is zooming around happy with life. I did manage to sort of snap a photo of him but it was hard as he does not like to keep still. If there is quiet spells he is taken out and allowed to run riot around the place, if busy he runs round dog ward while we clean his bed. The other night he dived into Wibble’s bed then peed all over it when he got overexcited.

Christmas day was spent having a quiet Christmas day at my parent’s house. None of us like the noisy type day that is generally beloved so for us it was ideal. I would like to thank my folks for a relaxing day.
Hub was given some stilton. Oh joy now whenever l open the fridge l get attacked by this tub of stinky stuff that smells like 2months worth unwashed socks. I regretted making the suggestion to my Mum about getting it as a gift when hub undid the tub and smelled deeply muttering about ambrosia. We defiantly differ on the meaning of the word ambrosia.
I got some money and am saving up for a Sony Reader. It means l won’t have my books falling apart because l read them so often.
I was also given a lovely laser fairy cut into a block, it sits on a small flashing reflector and I’ve placed my special crystals on top of the block. They look perfect as the light shots through the fairy into the crystals in different colours.
We gave my parents a digital photo frame, the Kodak P720. I would recommend it as a gift. I used a 1 gb card for it preloaded 120 photos from the past times and loads of space for new photos.

I am off until Monday and intend to catch up on about 200emails that have collected. And may even consider giving the house a good clean, assuming l am not sidetracked by falling asleep on the settee. My years of nights have played merry hell with my metabolism and now l feel tired at all different times. It seems this is normal amongst night workers. New Year resolution, learn to say “no” when asked to do last minute shifts and changes. And take more days off and cut down on double shifts.

Junior in his buster collar. We have tried him without but he wont leave the external fixator and wound alone.


joker the lurcher said...

sounds like you had a very busy old time at work! love the image of the big doberman sitting on your lap! i used to have a sheltie cross GSD who was big and fluffy and thought she was a lapdog. i have various pictures of her lying on her back on my lap with me just showing round the edge!

thanks for doing what you do - our creatures are so important to us all and getting them well is such a special thing to do.

Auntie Jane said...

I too smiled at the Dob cross thinking he was a lap dog.

We used to have an English Mastiff. She would climb up on you if you lay on the settee... Me, being little, I couldn't get out from under her without help! It was expecially hard to call for help as she'd be licking you to death when you went to speak! Big, slobbery kisses... Goodness, we still miss her!

Hope you have a relaxing few days.

JuliaM said...

I have fond memories of visiting my American inlaws, and their huge Alaskan Malamute starting innocently off sitting at the other end of the couch to me, and gradually, slowly, shuffling along it bit by bit in the vain hope of being able to sit in my lap... ;)

Lesley said...

hehehe, had a good chuckle over the doberman Caro, our next door neighbour in Durban had a doberman (police trained), she decided that my boys and I were her family too and whenever we were in the garden she would leap the concrete wall and come and sit on my lap and rest her head on my shoulder. Lovely lump she was.