Saturday, 29 August 2009

"Operation Revenge" on the Para

It was back in the 80s and l was manifester at Capital City parachuting based at Biggin Hill airfield, the famous WW2 airfield in Kent, our DZ was 9 miles next to Brands Hatch racing.
The Saturday weather at the DZ was not good enough for jumping as cloud was at floor level. The committee of “Operation Revenge” leapt into action.

Pete C was steered into the canteen with the offer of free coffee and snacks by a regular who wanted to ask him some questions about formations. Others stood as watchers so if Pete decided to leave the canteen they could pass word.
When he was out the way students who arrived for the day’s parachute course were grabbed by their necks in friendly embraces, taken to one side and given muttered instructions- "Something strange is going to happen during canopy handling, do not tell anyone keep it quiet, your instructor knows nothing" They looked bemused but followed instructions by keeping silent and walking off like nothing had happened.

The best 2 packers were locked in the packing shed. Certain people walked to their cars to collect plastic bags, they slid to the packing shed trying to look innocent. The 2 guards at the packing shed were leaning across and blocking the door talked innocently about canopies and formations. They glared at the bag holders, checking the contents and making sure the passwords were muttered. The bags were pushed into the packing shed and the suppliers whistled away innocently. No entry of anyone was permitted.

The course instructor went to the loo with severe stomach cramps and all other instructors were unavailable. Pete C an instructor, aka Red Devil aka Member of the Parachute Regiment worked for us part time was asked to run the course. His ego carefully polished when told how excellent he was as an instructor and we were so relieved he would step in and do the course, Pete was turned loose.

Excitement started to build; the packers needed more ammunition so members of the club were hauled by their throats into quiet corners and gave what they could when the nature of their giving was explained. Pete had pulled to many stunts on to many people and it was payback. Finally and just in time the ok was given from the packing shed, the rig looked perfect no one, not even an expert, and Pete C was an expert, could see or feel anything wrong, the bomb started to tick.

The students walked out behind Pete who was in his element. Talking and preening to a group that contained pretty single women. His luck had to be in the way they stared at him like he was a god, if only he realised it was staring at him with eagerness at what was coming which was not what Pete had in mind.

The group went out to begin canopy handling. They learn what a parachute looks like, how it comes out when you leave the plane, how to control it. He glanced at the bigger than usual crowd that had collected on the veranda. He decided that as they were not jumping they obviously had nothing better to do.

Brian the CCI (chief club instructor) ambled over to a group of regulars who seemed to be behaving strangely. Strangely = how a group of regulars and instructors, came to be standing outside in not nice weather, watching a class of students doing canopy handling. As he opened his mouth to ask what was up he was shushed by an instructor and got a kick in the shins (the kick was from me) He tried to glare but another regular told him to shut the *&&^ up. Brian, as is usual for those in charge, was the last to know what was happening. He had been busy so missed the briefings held in the bar some time before. The drama unfolded:

Pete grabbed the rig that a minion handed him. He talked to the class about the rig, showed them all external parts and explained their uses. Next he attached the leg straps to the pegs to keep the rig still.
The observers stopped pretending they were talking and waited, holding their breath……

“As you fall away from the plane the static line will start to pull away from the pack.” He looked at his charges making sure they were following him. They seemed to be.
“Next the top of the para… WTF out came bras, panties, thongs, jockey shorts, petticoats stockings. He stopped dead and stared, his jaw hit the ground, he pulled more in disbelief and underwear and bits of clothing flowed out of the bag. The class and the entire DZ collapsed in a heap, tears rolling down the faces of many.
He just looked up and mouthed … “You Bastards” at his audience in front of the clubhouse but even he had a good chuckle, when he recovered.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Next Generation.

The other day a young female came into work with her 8week old puppy. The puppy was due it’s first vaccination, great, she was being responsible. No not exactly she was walking the puppy. Her record stated she had been warned not to walk the puppy until 7-10 days after his second vaccination as he was at risk.

The svn explains she should not be walking the un-vaccinated puppy on the pavements but especially not in a veterinary surgery.
The client looks blankly at her and says “wot you mean?”
The svn tries to slowly explain “wot she means” but the blank look shows she isn’t really getting through.
Client sits down slowly pondering the information, puppy sits on the floor, because it is on the floor already and it can have a nice sniff and lick at all those smells and whatever.

The vet calls the client in and client’s first words as she is walking through the door… “Wot do they mean l shouldn’t walk him” vet can be heard repeating almost word for word what the svn and receptionist had warned the client about.

Client goes home with puppy they are due back in 2 weeks. I stuck my head around the door to make a sarcastic comment to the vet.
She cuts me off shaking her head in despair “The puppy is 8 weeks old, and she is to scared to pick up it’s bloody food bowl, the puppy growls at her. And the best part is, she is pregnant”.

The betting is closed on what age it will get put down for attacking the child or dumped for attacking the child. The betting is also closed on what future child she is bringing into the world. We are reckoning by 10 it will be known to the police as an out of control delinquent.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Tiger the tabby cat was mine. All soft and stripy and an excellent hunter, parts of various beasts would be found scattered about the garden from his efforts, he was a bit of a messy eater.

Rhodesia TV had a small TV studio in Bulawayo and l would go on the kid’s programmes in the audience quite a bit.
Several times they had a “bring your pet” night and for some strange reason l would take Tiger instead of any of the dogs.
His behaviour was impeccable but l was very lucky, he would have found escape easy had he wanted to. I wouldn’t have had a chance of stopping him. In fact he would have ripped me to bits. When l see people holding cats in strange places l shudder and think how crazy they are and l was.

Tiger had a terrible end. I couldn’t find him one Saturday till late afternoon when l found him lying on Mum’s bed.
I took him down stairs sat with him on my lap and started to stroke him, his whole side and abdomen parted
“MUM, DAD” l screamed panic stricken.
My parents rushed in. I was in tears and too scared to move.
“What” said my parents in unison not knowing what l was going to say, l didn’t appear to be dying but was obviously distraught.
I gently moved Tigers hair, my hands shaking badly, again his entire side and some of his abdomen seemed to open up.
My parents paled and my dad rang Mr Roberts the vet, we took Tiger in as an emergency and Mr Roberts thought it was a skinning wound.
Certain “cults” used to skin animals alive and they had probably had Tiger but he escaped.
Tiger was stitched up on the outside but he had died inside. He gave up on life. We tried everything to get him to eat. Prawns, cheese, tuna, beef, pork baby food any thing we could think of but he wouldn’t eat and faded.

This happened about two months before we were due to leave Rhodesia, we had a lovely home lined up but in the end he was put down and buried under a tree in our garden. I used to call it a fairy tree. I never knew what it was but it had little yellow bell shaped flowers l called them “fairy caps” and it always felt to me to be a special tree.
I carved Tigers name into the trunk with a kitchen knife with his date of his passing.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

DLA threat and AA threat

I have a disabled friend that today told me about a very scary government green paper set for November.
If you sit and have a think you will probably be shocked how many people you know that will be affected, possibly even you, if you have or get an illness or injury and you end up disabled. I know 6 people without thinking to hard. Robb Ellis who sent me the info, a blind friend, a friend with sever depression, a friend with severe osteo arthritis, Robbs brother in law and wife, my Parents, and possibly several others.

You will see in the article l have posted about what exactly the green paper is about, if you need a carer from outside the home, you are in an even worse situation than Robb and his wife.
I should add Robb's wife is his carer and disabled herself, she used to be a nurse before life became unstuck. Robb would not be able to afford the internet a link to friends and worldwide, he uses it to also look for jobs and apply for them as they do not go out much. As he and his wife can not afford to go out much it is a point of sanity for him.
They couldn’t afford the phone so forget contacting anyone except by the wonderful postal service.
They couldn’t afford the tv licence and then those other little luxuries food, clothing, electricity, rent, rates and water.
No l am not joking ask your disabled friends or family what they would loose if this bill came in. It is scary and you could well be a victim of it in the future.
If Robb could get a job he would but as soon as they see the word disabled that is it and in a recession he goes further down the pile than the bottom although he has applied for many jobs.

I have posted the info here in the hope that others with blogs will take this up and post it on their blogs and start a big warning message campaign and get the information out to as many as possible.

What exactly is the Green Paper about?
The green paper is about the problem of paying for care as the UK’s population ages. It proposes setting up a National Care Service, like the National Health Service, to provide a universal system of care throughout the UK. Much of the document is devoted to discussing how to pay for this service, including making everyone pay a flat rate of £25,000 before or after they die, whether they ever need care or not; or making everyone over retirement age pay into an insurance scheme; or making people pay for part of their care depending on their means.

This is in addition to the proposal to take disability benefits off claimants and hand them over to the care service.

The National Care Service would only deal with your care needs. If you had to go into residential care you would still have to pay for accommodation, heating, lighting, food, clothes, toiletries, etc.

But at least under this system everyone would have the right to the care they need, even though it might mean getting rid of disability benefits, right?
No, not at all. Everyone would have the right to have their care needs assessed but only the most severely disabled would actually receive any care.

The way it would work is that under the National Care Service everyone in the UK would have their care needs assessed using the same criteria wherever they live. This might be done by a national body – it’s easy to imagine a company like Atos who currently do benefits medicals being employed to do the assessments – or it might be done by local social services departments all working to the same system.

As a result of the assessment, some people would be awarded a ‘personal budget’ – a cash amount that could be used to meet their needs. Many people, however, would receive no care whatsoever, because their care needs would be below the threshold set nationally or by individual local authorities.

For example you might be assessed as needing help with washing, dressing and undressing because of arthritis. But you’d be very unlikely to actually get this help from the National Care Service. Resources would be reserved for those with higher needs than yours.

One of the concerns of disability agencies, including RNIB, is that many people who are currently entitled to DLA or AA would not be entitled to a personal budget from the National Care Service. At the moment, most local authorities do not currently provide help for people who ‘only’ need help with washing and dressing.

Still, those with the highest care needs would be able to purchase whatever they wanted with their personal budget, wouldn’t they?
No, not at all. How the budget would be spent would depend on what agreement individuals were able to reach with a social worker.

If you have ME/CFS, for example, you may rely on your DLA or AA to pay for alternative therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, herbalism or chiropractice or you may use it to pay for dietary supplements that you know help you. However, professionals may dismiss these as quack remedies and you may not be able to use your personal budget for those sort of things. It wouldn’t be your cash to spend as you choose, in the way that DLA and AA are.

Won’t there be some sort of transitional relief for current claimants?
Yes, there may be. But you might not like it.

One proposal is to ensure that all current claimants get a care package of at least the value of their current disability benefits payments. But the amounts paid for DLA and AA wouldn’t get you very much care.

Middle rate care DLA and lower rate AA are worth £47.10 a week, for example. This might get you help with washing and dressing in the morning and getting into bed at night for two, or at the most three days a week. The other four or five days you’d have to manage alone.

If your care needs are at night, your benefits would pay for one night a week for someone to sleep in your house and not even a single night for someone to stay awake.

Lower rate DLA wouldn’t pay for even two hours of care a week. In fact it might not get you any hours at all, but instead be used to pay for aids or adaptations.

Sign up to our campaign to fight the threat to DLA & AA COPYAND PASTE THIS LINK

OK, this doesn’t sound great, but this is only a discussion document, isn’t it?
Yes it is, but green papers are the first step on the road to new laws. If politicians sense from the responses – or the lack of them - that disabled people and disability organisations won’t put up too much of a fight then they’ll see that as a green light for abolishing DLA as well as AA.

You keep going on about ‘disability benefits’ but what exactly are they?
Good question. We only keep going on about them because the green paper does. In all, the term ‘disability benefits’ appears 35 times


Comment 1:
This government has wasted so much it is without doubt the elderly and sick will suffer at the hands of local authorities who will no doubt use the money for other debts they already have, people who receive these benefits are already vulnerable and have little independence , this will now be totally removed and l would imagine the stress of trying to get help that will be removed will kill off many elderly and sick people perhaps this is what they are trying to achieve. What’s next the building of ghettos for the sick and elderly to live in, why is the government treating these people like a inconvenience and taking away their humanity? The present government should hang its head in shame they really should, speaking personally this will probably kill my grandmother and father from worry and stress but hey they don’t care do they. BASTARDS with there indecent salaries and comfy living. Thank you for bringing this to my attention I have visited the link provided and would advise anyone else to do the same

Comment 2
Shame nobody else cares about our elderly you would have expected more response, its not surprising our elderly are the worst off in the EU if this is the response nor is it surprising that the government do what they like is it if people care so little.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Foreign Bodies

We were having a discussion yesterday on items that pets have swallowed apart from the usual balls that get stuck some place and require an operation or we manage to get them to vomit with a timely dose of apamorphine.
This conversation came about as we were trying to decide what the soft chunk of blue rubber was from the dog’s intestines. It turned out the owners recognised it as a piece of plastic from the dog’s tugger toy.

Swallowed commonly are: Chunks of corn on the cob or bones, bits of plastic, needles and thread, panties, pantyhose, stones, golf balls, chocolates and medication.

Sometimes if you have a good enough x-ray you can play the guess what it is game. A friend of mine said that they never worked out the thing they saw was a small concrete frog the GSD had swallowed.

Pantyhose and long items can be a major problem as they can end up telescoping the intestines and have seen a few animals die through complications or take a longer recovery as multiple holes have to be made in the intestines and remove the item piecemeal.

For those in UK that use bounty to clean up spills apparently that goes into a hard ball in the stomach and if you big you have problems, it doesn’t dissolve like normal spill and wipe paper. That is from a VN who had to do an op on her dog to remove said item.

The last couple of needle swallows l have been involved in with dogs the vets made the decision to wait. Every time the dog’s passed faeces we had to x-ray it. Oh such a glamorous job. On cats though, l have never known a wait they always go in to retrieve it.

The SVN l was speaking to was telling me about a kitten that was about 4 months old and was fine, eating, drinking, and playing perfectly apart from horrendous breath. The vet opened it’s mouth and caught a very fast glimpse of something? They gave it a GA and x-ray and there was a huge bodkin needle (big and thick) at the very back of the throat jammed upwards. She had to do an op slicing through the roof of the mouth upwards to dislodge it and pull it downwards flat, not easy in a tiny kitten with a tiny mouth and retrieved the needle. The breath cleared up.

Many years ago when l locumed the first time round l went into work at one of my regular places and was told of an incident the week before. The vet and nurse had popped a dog that appeared to have something stuck onto the table and took an x-ray. On development there was an entire breadknife stuck inside the stomach. The vet said they went from casual handling to treating it like it was gelignite that was going to blow up it was very scary. The case made the national papers.

Some cases stick in my mind, like the dog that ate a tampax and we gave it apamorphine…only there was at least 12 used ones came up. The dog was not the only one that wanted to throw up l think we all did.

There was the dog that ate the used condom and caused a divorce. It was the wife’s boyfriends and the husband found out as not everyone had been warned what was going on. The vet informed him at the check up when he asked what had happened, as he had been away when the dog was treated.

One owner l knew many years ago had a stock of french mustard in. His dog as is typical of Labradors ate everything and if he was in time and knew what the dog had eaten he gave him a good dollop. Apparently french mustard made the dog throw up english mustard didn’t! Unfortunately the dog died after eating panty hose, it telescoped the intestines and complications set in.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

rcvs Practice Standards Review

The rcvs and government are looking to update the practice standards that vets operate under. They have a consultation that closes on August 31. I thought l would post this here if anyone felt they would like to send in comments on how they feel things may be improved for clients from their perspective may be worth sending in.


The Practice Standards Group, which comprises representatives from all of the key veterinary and veterinary nursing organisations, has updated the standards of the Practice Standards Scheme and a draft of the new Manual is now available for comment.

The Scheme is a voluntary accreditation programme that aims to promote and maintain high standards of facilities and care within UK veterinary practices. When it was launched in 2005, a commitment was made that the standards would not change for five years, unless new legislation (such as the Veterinary Medicines Regulations) required it. Following a detailed review of the standards, to ensure they continue to be relevant to current veterinary practice, proposals have been made by the Group for new standards to be implemented during 2010.

Jill Nute, Chairman of the Practice Standards Group said: "It is unlikely that any already-accredited practices will be required to invest in additional facilities or equipment to meet the new standards.

"Instead, greater emphasis has been placed on clinical outcomes and training. For example, performance review has been introduced for all clinical staff, including the Professional Development Phase for new graduates. We are keen to hear feedback on the proposed new standards."

One recommendation is that the 'tiers' should be dropped. The categories will retain their descriptive names, for example, Small Animal General Practice or Equine Veterinary Hospital. Feedback suggests that clients, and the profession, found the tiers to be misleading.

The layout of the Manual has been revamped, to include guidance that was previously available online. Guidance for each relevant standard can now be seen at a glance. There is also an icon to indicate if documentary evidence will be required by the inspector. In addition, the new format clarifies the derivation of each standard, so that legislative requirements are distinguished from those required under the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct and those indicated by better practice.

Membership of the Scheme continues to grow, with 126 applications to join the Scheme in the first six months of this year, representing 264 premises, compared with 61 applications in the whole of last year. There are currently 2,351 practice premises under the ambit of the Scheme - approximately 50%.

This is the new draft manual

Hard copies are available from Eleanor Ferguson, Practice Standards Scheme Manager: or 020 7202 0720.

The deadline for comments is 31 August 2009. Responses will be considered by the Practice Standards Group at its September meeting and thereafter by Council in November.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

A Bird in the Hand.

I am at a small surgery for August weekdays, no nights and weekends and a lovely group of staff. Well no nights and weekends unless l get a call in like l did last weekend to my old job.
This practice is one of those places where if l go on the motorway it is a big circular trip. No traffic lights but at certain times long tailbacks. Option 2 is straight across a couple of towns with traffic lights but half the distance. I have yet to decide on the best route.

We had a dove in a couple of days ago it had been found collapsed but did try and fly so the decision was made to try and treat it. Yesterday it had a fly round the room till it met the glass on the door then slid down it. The vet decided that it was well enough to be let go, any longer would not do it any good.
A couple of hours later when we had some spare time l took it over the road and threw it towards some bushes to let it live or die as nature would decide. He flew off landed near a bush and walked under to get his breath back.

The aux and l were having a chuckle about it coming back across the road and demanding room and board or something to drink, l got up to get something from the waiting room and stopped dead…. A pigeon was crossing the last steps to the pavement, jumping onto it and walking towards the door. I took a few seconds to realise it was a different species and bird just initially they looked similar. The bird made short work of a bread crust by the door and flew off.

That got the aux. and l reminiscing and she was telling me about a blackbird they had rescued at one of the branch practices she had worked at.
It was very poorly and they carefully nursed it for about 5 days when it was able to fly. She took it to some bushes near the practice, threw it up into the air….. and it exploded in a puff of feathers as the magpie that was nesting in the trees took it out, landed on it and ripped it to bits.
She said he jaw just hung open they did not realise the magpies were there. She wanted to kill the bloody bird for what it had done and also felt very guilty for the end of the poor blackbird. There was nothing she could do except stare in disbelief.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Pellets Again

We had a lovely cat brought in on Friday night. He was lame on his right foreleg and had a wound. The vet snapped an x-ray as we were busy and everyone had different jobs to do. Usually it is nurses that do x-rays but at time we let the vets take them because we are generous like that.

Anyway l walked past and he was holding up a flattened piece of mishapen lead which had in a former life been an airgun pellet until it smashed into the bone in the cat’s front leg. . Looks like you lost a bit l commented, he grunted agreement and went back to snap another picture.

I went over to have a look on my return trip past the x-ray room and got that heart sinking feeling. There was several small shiny speckles lodged deep in the joint capsule. All the vet could do was put a thick support dressing on, and write the cat up for ongoing pain relief, and leave onward treatment as an ortho. decision.

I don’t know what will be decided a lot will depend on cost cheapest is to remove the leg. The more expensive option to try and save it may be carried out but with all things there is no guarantee of success and it depends on what else has happened that has not shown on the pictures.
I am not due back for some time and will have forgotten his name by then, l always write names down and loose them.
What l never loose is my anger at the stupidity of whoever shot that pellet and a wish to send them all to hell whatever the age of the shooter.