Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Letter From Cath Buckle

Under a wide blue sky a warthog and her three babies ran across a red dirt road below a kopje. The piglets ran with tails straight up, like aerials, as they followed their mum into the surrounding bush. In the sky nearby half a dozen vultures circled low over a clearing and in the distance, the haunting call of a fish eagle promised water, fish and the myriad treasures waiting discovery in our beautiful Zimbabwe.

A couple of hundred people had gathered at the foothills of Castle Kopje in Wedza. A beautiful kopje, her rocks stained orange with lichen and balancing precariously on top of each other. We sat under a great Acacia tree watching a couple of young black rhinos browsing nearby, waiting for the proceedings to begin.

Our host told us this was a traditional Shona burial ground, a sacred place, and that he’d had to get permission from the local Chief to bury his mother here. Just seven months ago we had been in this same place to bury his father, Norman Travers, here.

The service began and one after another the eulogies told of how Gill Travers was a loving, dedicated and endlessly creative woman. A woman who made her home in the African bush, raised her family there and then shared it all with lions, leopards, hyaenas and otters.
Gill’s doctor said she was the only patient he had who had been bitten by a hyaena and then an otter; the only patient who needed a leopard’s claw removed from her forearm!

Alongside giraffe and elephants, rhinos and warthogs, Gill and Norman Travers farmed the land and created a game park which attracted tourists from all over the world. They began outreach programmes with rural schools, endlessly spreading the message of conservation, and they held open days for local elders, headmen and chiefs.

Working with the Department of National Parks, they took in black rhinos ravaged by poaching, and embarked on a unique programme, rearing the calves and then and returning them to the wild. Gill and her catering partner Mattheus prepared milk formulas in bottles for rhinos and cream teas and venison casseroles for visiting guests all in the same farm kitchen! The perfect team creating what Gill’s grandson called an “oasis.”

Nineteen years ago Gill Travers was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but she fought on undeterred, always welcoming, cheerful and uncomplaining. Gill finally gave up her valiant struggle this week and watched by family, friends and elephants was laid to rest in the ground she so loved.

I write this letter today in memory of Norman and Gill Travers who lie side by side under an Acacia tree beneath Castle Kopje on Imire Game Park in Wedza. Almost two years ago Norman and Gill invited me into their home and week after week we worked on a book together. They told me the amazing story of how a piece of virgin bush in Wedza was farmed, nurtured and transformed.
Norman spoke of a “stream of naughty, smelly, little animals” filling their lives and Gill of how much she loved them all and how proud she was of her family continuing with their life’s work.

“Imire, the Life and Times of Norman Travers,” will be available within the next fortnight, please contact Cath Buckle for further information.

To Norman and Gill Travers: Fambai zvakanaka, thank you for giving us Imire,such a gem. Until next time,love cathy

Copyright Cathy Buckle. 13 November 2010 www.cathybuckle.com


It was the coroners court on Friday. The verdict was expected Accidental Death. The coroner was very kind as were all of his staff. 2 Friends ended up at the court with me and they and the thoughts from friends and family gave me a lot of strength.

Family were allowed to ask questions, l didn't l could picture the whole thing as l have a skydiving background.

The witnesses, Gary, Dave, John, Richard did a very hard job with dignity and l would like to thank them for the way they gave evidence, it was clear and understandable.

Press were skulking around but l ignored them. The coroner had a word with us about when the clips would be on and that the bbc and itv camera men were basically ok and known to him. I just didn't want anything to do with them though and left the court so fast l left one friend trailing.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Shangani Patrol

In memory of all those who have died or still die in wars. I wrote this in honour of a group of men in Rhodesia who died fighting and were honoured by those who they fought. It was a battle that should never have been fought and it began a legend.
A retreat was already taking place but the greed of white man caused caused this particular battle by talking gold tribute and running away not taking the message and gold to their officers in charge.
Greed from all colours to all has caused so many deaths be it minerals, water or oil.

Lobengula lost 80 Royal Guard and 500 warriors. The remains of the Shangani Patrol were finally moved in 1904 & interred in the Matopas at Worlds View which had been consecrated and set aside “For ever for those who deserved well of their country Worlds View is the one place that has not been desecrated still.

The exact spot of the last stand is only approximately known. A granite obelisk was erected in 1937 at the “site”. The carved tree “To Brave Men” is in the Bulawayo Museum. There were 37(?) men but 3 Men on the patrol escaped at the start of the fight. 33 skulls were found after the fight. 34 were involved

At one point the survivors went to try and escape but their leader(?) stopped them, looked at the wounded and said nothing, they dismounted and stayed.

It is generally agreed but not confirmed that the abdomens were split open to allow their spirits to escape. This is how the Matbele honoured those they felt faught bravely their finest honour they could bestow. It is also said the men sang and cheered throughout.
The last man has never been identified but his acts were confirmed.

All information of the battle has been handed down by the Matabele.

Shangani Patrol

4th December 1893, Allan Wilson and his 33 marched towards their end.
In a dark and brooding forest, near the banks of the flooded Shangani.
Lobengula’s empty royal kraal, a trap that had been set
The click of Winchesters and by the anthill death was felt.
No protection, no place to hide, men staring fearfully around.
The gentle hum of bees was heard, bees whose stings were death,
were killing lumps of flying lead.
Grouped around the wounded they turned and in fear fled
Their only hope to cross, the flooded river bed.

Funnelled by the impis to a barricade of death
They stopped and killed their horses, at their final place of rest,
In a smoking hell of noise and pain from the pit of Dante’s realm.
Dead lay where they’d fallen while wounded tried to fight.
Water gone and throats rasped dry they lapped at trickling wounds.

Surrender…. the Matabele offered but were scornfully refused.
Through the morning they fought on knowing they would die.
The barrier of horses, bodies bloated high.
Held at bay the impis, and the stabbing assegai.
Death sought hard the fighting men… refusing to be denied.

Finally, their bullets spent and few men left alive
They stood and looking past their fear they shook each others hands.
Sung a final song and in the sudden, waiting silence, they walked out into myth,
onto the killing ground to face their lonely deaths.
The last survivor to an anthill walked killing as he went.
His hip was shattered by a bullet and finally he fell,
Kissed by ripping assegai, his passing was the end.

For the courage of the 34 the Matabele generals decreed
No one would touch their bodies their courage had shone through.
“For they are Men of Men and shall lie where they have died”.
3000 Thousand throats in unison sung the royal salute
Weapons held high in honour of the fallen 34

Two months later trees still bullet scarred and raw.
The stench of death a memory
Trader Dawson passing through found the scattered bones.
He collected and he buried them and on a tree he carved
The simple but the poignant words
“To Brave Men”

© C.L 5/2/07

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Talking Animals

A series l have discovered on ytube a whole raft of short very funny clips BBC Walk on the Wild Side

**** **** **** **** ****

Another short clip l have seen this a a plain video. Some one has added voice and now it's hysterical.
Don't have a mouthful of coffee before you look at the clips & be warned there is a lot of cussing in the cat one:

Friday, 29 October 2010

Attacked by Staffies

It is not just people that get badly hurt when they are attacked. This dog was attacked by 3 Staffordshire bull terriers. They were off a lead he was on it. The neck was badly torn and an initial wet to dry dressing applied.

The swabs are soaked in sterile saline and placed into the wound, as they dry they they pull debris into the swab and clean it out. In this patients case the swabs were placed deep into the wound and held in place with "stay sutures" to help keep the wound slightly closed. The dressing was applied for 2 days running. A penrose drain was also placed to allow fluid and blood to exit the body.

On the 3rd day the wound was clean enough to use other dressings for the next stage of healing. A honey dressing was then applied and changed every couple of days. He also had some limited surgery to close part of it but it was mostly allowed to heal slowly on it's own. There was so much missing it was not going to be easy to do a full surgical repair.

Unfortunately l never got end photos but it was not a smooth repair. He had a wound breakdown and ended up being readmitted for some time while it was sorted. I understand that it was finally closed and he has resumed his old life.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Where l have been working used to be an old bank. When the bank moved out the left a 6foot high safe which would take a tank to move in the back so the vets took it over.

Was great to keep the till in and all went well until yesterday. Guess who tried to open it first thing to get the till out and couldn't get the bottom key in. The bend down flap part of the key was on a loose hinge thing and this had broken inside the lock.

The locksmith was able to get it open, it took him a few hours but all ended well. I felt really guilty but the other 2 nurses assured me the key had been dodgy for some time and they were waiting to see who it broke on because they knew it would break.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Out & About

Well it has been a very novel month or so for me. All l have done is day shifts pretty much the whole time. All round the country from Cambridgeshire to Surrey or Sussex to my favourite practice in Kenilworth Martin Heart Referrals.
Vets are in general quite quiet at the moment but often have seasonal lulls so not sure if this is one of those or as a result of the recession.

Mike has done out op theatre WOW mind blowing. All panelled in plastic, dead easy to clean, every thing in new cupboards and draws, new flooring. Has been threatening to do something with the "old" for years but finally took the plunge, and wishes he had done it years ago.
Had a case of extreme shock as Mike J swore he just doesn't swear. Of course l got the blame from the others they said l was the bad influence..l told them to bog off!.
My reading of ultra sound has improved since l started to locum there but l still find it heard to equate a flat picture of the heart with the different colours put on to what l am looking at on the screen. They have colour and when that section is switched on confuses me even more due to movement but it is still fascinating.
It was thanks to the 2 Mikes that Wibble had her treatment and it allowed her a few more months of happy life until she had another sever thrombus towards the end of last year.

One place l locumed at l can see why they have a permanent advert in the vn press for nurses. It was not friendly, l chatted to one person in 2 days other than professional questions.. where is.. have you got a ...
The other practices were all pleasant enough though and it is nice to get out and about and see how the other half lives.

My present locum means l am finally sleeping in my own bed but rotas have become a joke there. So far have had 6 rota changes in a week of shifts has become a rather hysterical joke and HN struggled to keep a straight face when she asked me to swap my monday shift with her. Just as well l am flexible with things. Actually l didn't mind this last swap for today as l am on the shift l like.

Still doing the emergency practice but been there quite a bit on days and usually short notice call in for the weekend. But l did get a text at 22:30 couple of weeks ago asking ifd l could do the 22:00-08:00 shift there had been some swaps and due to an almighty mess up there was no nurse. As l was down at Mikes l couldn't help out.

I have become involved in trying to arrange a mass tandem jump. It started off as for veterinary staff but we have widened it out to friends, family and anyone we can drag it.
The idea was as a thank you to the owner of the vetnurse site l belong to and raise some money for charity. He chose Muir Maxwell Trust as his little daughter has uncontrolled epilepsy and the trust has helped them.
The other plan is to raise awareness about protecting the title veterinary nurse. At the moment anyone can call themselves a vn.
The reason l agreed to help is that it will be done at Langar Parachute Centre It is where Brian passed and spent all his time. They have been fantastic and l couldn't have got by without the people from there and have become my friends as well now. l look at Langar as a second home.
So if you want to do a jump then let me know l will add you onto the list and get forms to you. We have people from all round the country. So place you are coming from is not a hindrance. (shameless plug)
And before you ask no l am not jumping this is not about me it is about others.

The financial ombudsman has the paperwork for the camper, barclays has refused to reply to my last letter, they won't speak to me on the phone so the only way round it is to get a mediator. I just hope they come down on my side and get clydesdale (barclays) to take the motorhome.

My sleep pattern is still up the creek.I fell asleep on the settee in the evening, woke up at midnight and not been able to sleep since, it is going to be a long day. as now 6am. Think l will go get a bath and have a nice hot soak.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Whats in Your Bag?

I decided my bag was to heavy so cleaned it out to see what l had in it.

Apart from brochures from yesterday a bottle of brown sauce now in the kitchen and a spare glasses case there was nothing extra. My bag has been called a "swiss army bag" and the pockets of my uniform are also referred to a "Swiss army pockets"

So l now have:
2 glasses cases and glasses
1 sat nav in case
Earphone for music on phone and mains battery charge
BP cuffs
Pill popper
Swiss army knife
Tipex pen
Thermometer (digital)
Thermomodoms (condoms for thermometers)
Dog leads x2
Artery forceps
Key clip for necks
Stethoscope Littmanns Cardiac master 2)
Zantac (indigestion tablets)
Strepsil & cough sweet
Tyrozets (throat lozenges)
Nose drops & vicks nose thing
Ibuprophen cream (aches and pains)
Loads eye lube for ops keep putting them in my pocket and forgetting them
Emla cream
Potato peeler
Pooper scoop bags (roll)
Batteries shoved there when l was asked to look after them from July braai forgot l had them
Cap for soft drinks so l dont have to punch a hole in the cap with my knife. I never take the caps off just drink through the cap.

Not in but usually in:
A book to read
Key ring
Snack of some sort
Soft drinks bottle/s (500ml usually Dr Pepper)
Sat nav screen holder still in the car

Saturday, 25 September 2010

New Dog Breeds

The American Kennel Club has decided to recognize these new breeds of dogs that are the result of cross breeding:

Collie x Lhaso Apso:
Collapso a dog that folds up for easy transport.

Spitz x Chow Chow:
Spitz-Chow a dog that throws up a lot.

Bloodhound x Borzoi:
Bloody Bore, a dog that's not much fun.

Pointer x Setter:
Poinsetter a traditional Christmas pet.

Kerry Blue x Terrier Skye Terrier:
Blue Skye, a dog for visionaries.

Pekingese x Lhaso Apso:
Peekasso, an abstract dog.

Labrador Retriever x Curly Coated Retriever:
Lab Coat Retriever, the choice of research scientists.

Newfoundland x Basset Hound:
Newfound Asset Hound, a dog for financial advisers.

Terrier x Bulldog:
Terribull, a dog that makes awful mistakes.

Bloodhound x Labrador:
Blabrador, a dog that barks incessantly.

Malamute x Pointer:
Moot Point, owned by...oh, well, it doesn't matter anyway.

Collie x Malamute:
Commute, a dog that travels to work.

Deerhound x Terrier:
Derriere, a dog that's true to the end.

Poodle x Min Pincher:
PooPin, a dog for constipated people.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Chill Out Cat's

They may be ill and/or abandoned but can see no reason not to relax and take advantage of the amenities. Food, a warm bed and whatever else they can get.

I got a bed, heat pad, food water. I managed to remove that annoying catheter from my leg. Now quit disturbing me human.

No mum but not worried food still on tap and it is snuggly.

Look human l am not going back in there now go away and let me eat in peace.

I will just wait here for the next snack to arrive zzzzzzzzzz..........

Me n Teddy going to take on the world, he is my new friend since l was abandoned.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Life After Brian

Well the saga of “Life after Brian” continues, except for me he is still here. Things happen all the time. When l need help it appears, when l am down something happens to cheer me up. Going often as we used too to the spiritualist org. helped with my beliefs and the fact l am a sort of clairvoyant. That means not good but do see the odd spirit.

I am having major problems with clydesdale bank trying to refuse to take the camper back they just want the money. However the paperwork says lease purchase all over it and the lawyer who checked it said do NOT sell it or you will be committing theft.
So result is the camper has been placed in storage, dvla informed, insurance removed, barclays (clydesdale) informed. When l get the next letter back from them then the financial ombudsman will step in to deal with it, they said to wait for the 3rd letter.

Mint have been sending Brian loads of threatening letters. I have been dealing with estates who have been fine it is the other dept. who are idiots. I tried ringing and sending letters no luck. Estates tried to help ditto on no luck. I just kept getting threats 6 over a 2 week period in one instance and constant individual ones.
So l sent them to the financial ombudsman l think they actioned it as l have received a letter from idiot dept letter writer asking for a death cert. My reply has been sorted and is not to polite.
Pity l was looking for a court case. I was going to walk in and plop 3 bags of ash in front of the judge and say “Meet Brian, l don’t suppose you mind if l speak up for him as Mint insisted that they sue him”.
At the same time the national press who l dislike (to put it mildly) after their harassment when Brian passed and so much crud they printed and print would have been sent invites to get some lovely quotes and photos. I may dislike them but they have a use at times.

Work is busy and everyone has been very good. I have trouble saying no when asked to help. It isn’t something that has happened since Brian passed as some folks think l have always worked like this. I do need to slow down though.

The other night l held my first animal to be put to sleep with an owner present there was no one else about. It was not me who asked not to hold l think the vets decided between themselves. It was very stressful as the lad and his dad were hysterical but l held it together and as soon as l could left the room. I spent a few minutes in a side room to compose myself.

I want to set the parachute centre to wildflowers. This idea hit me the first time l went down to the centre after the accident. There is
a wildflower farma couple of fields over from Langar and they have been marvellous helping and advising. It must be the name of the owner he is also Brian.
If you are in the area worth a visit come spring/summer when the flower fields are in bloom. What are pulled out from gardens as weeds look amazing when seen in huge fields of multicolour drifts waving in the breeze. There is a yummy cake and snack bar, a kids play area and woods walk to dragonfly ponds and plenty of plants, seeds for all areas and types (bees, butterfly woods, ponds, hedgerows, fields etc) and advice

The middle of the DZ was harder than even my wildest nightmare. It is cut for hayledge so l needed animal friendly plants. Cornfield annuals went in here but what a job.
The ground is thick clay and was wet. I had thought pull up grass and plant, no chance. I had to dig out wedges that ended up being about 1ft deep, haul it out, turn it upside down and put it back then jump up and down to flatten it back. Grab the shovel and hack at the clay to loosen it so l could seed it.
This brilliant set of manoeuvres started on what could not be described as the best of days. There was a howling gale blowing, all the jumpers sat sensibly inside in the warmth, those that came down that is.
As it is an airfield the only thing to break the gale force winds is the body that it hits, in this case mine.
Then to add to this there was a heavy rain falling well actually it was travelling horizontally not falling vertically so that made it even more fun. A shower and blow dry in a freezer.
Day 2 was better but l was to exhausted from the day before to do more than 6 “holes” instead l re hacked the day before top soil efforts and reseeded.

After the dz in the morning l spent the afternoon doing the peri track. A long 3.5mile walk on the perimeter of the airfield with long season meadow mix which will flower from spring until autumn. This meant walking along with a rake and clearing patches of ground and sprinkling seeds. Very easy and enjoyable compared to the DZ

However that is all the seeds going in for this year. I won’t get down there again in seed planting season which has now ended and l want to see how it comes out in the new year and will design better from there.

I have planted a wayfarer shrub It has bright red and some black berries, very shiny and shades of pink berries to get to the red colour. The flowers are bright white and in autumn the leaves fade to pretty shades of red/pink.
This is behind the hanger, l will plant a couple more bushes there when l decide what, I have till January for them though so no rush.

I took my will and Advanced Directive (Living will) to the solicitor the other day.
Pen to pad “So this goes to him and here to sort that and if that goes to that then what have you done with the rest of it”?
“There” l pointed out to him.
He did that over the glasses look and harrumphed at me. Then asked more questions which l got us totally confused over with the answer but we got part one the complicated part sorted.
In my defence when l gave it to him l did say part 1 was complicated and needed sorting.
Him after a bit "You expecting lots of people to die or do you enjoy complicating things"?
Me "If A dies B is in B dies C... err ok just trying to cover things, it seemed simple"
Solicitor looks over glasses grins and harrumphs again
Him reading after reading bit more "Lots of items"?
I mumbled "When did you last look at your stuff”?
My solicitor has very expressive eyebrows and thinks l am overcautious.

Advanced Directive (living will) He said well lets work on you being unconscious or unable to communicate l think you will have no trouble otherwise, eyebrows waggled again.
Now l am guessing he thinks l am not worried about speaking out but l could be wrong.
“You can’t tell the judge that”.
Me “I am not l am saying that’s what l want done when he finds in my favour” Eyebrows exercised and a big sigh. Ok we will leave that in.
“No you defiantly can not say that”!!
“Well it was only if that happened” pointing at a sentence
We reword that sentence then law is a series of precedence and that isn’t one.
“Well a precedence has to be set and l was just asking for one to be set..”
Scribbled through with pen and eyebrows in overdrive it was made clear that it wouldn’t be set on his watch.

So life moves on slowly, mostly good days with bad moments sprinkled in like currants in a cake. I have amazing friends old and new. They are there to help pull me up with either a helping hand or a boot up the backside whichever is needed.

Monday, 23 August 2010

This wire goes....?

A few days off at last been a bit busy l have worked 24 days out of the last 28 days, fair to say l am now wilting somewhat.

The day shifts were at a small practice run by a South African vet who has just bought into a game reserve that attaches to Kruger National Park. I told him that as soon as it is sorted to let me know l would love to visit.
I also nicked the South African Country life magazine that was there, actually l am returning it once read but l want to savour it. It is what magazines used to be like. Packed full of info, good articles, food and no "celebrates" and their cheap lives. I looked into getting it sent over but it is £75/year so idea on hold.

My slow cooker is fantastic so far done couple of stews, sausage casserole and a shoulder of pork and all of it was edible. I thought that a 3.5ltr slow cooker sounded very small but it is actually big enough for several days meals.

Brian's boet came round tonight to put Brian's computer back in. It had been repaired and he had his laptop in. His boet runs a large ISP company & knows his way round a computer Brian's wiring drove him nuts. He did it eventually but he was sweating with stress muttering about why can't Brian do things simple. I told him that's why l left it for him to do, reckon Brian was in fits of laughter at the pair of us scratching our heads & mumbling blankly, pulling wires trying to work out what went where and get the mouse to work let alone work out the usb hub and how it got it's power.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Soliciting Help

Got an apology through from the solicitors l was so disgusted at. I am doing the executor bit and have help from the legal helpline that came as part of the funeral package but just wanted an eye cast over what l had done, have some questions answered and get any advice.
Brian knew various partners and staff from a local firm he met business networking and liked them so l decided to go in for advice.
I felt that an hour or 2 at most even if a couple of hundred pounds was a price worth paying as I didn’t want to mess anything up.

The receptionist it turned out was a real charmer:

Me) “I would like to arrange am meeting to ask some questions and just go through what l have done & have to do to sort my husbands estate”.

her) “I suggest we do the executor for you”.

Me) No thank you l am doing it myself l just want to know l am doing it all right and have some questions answered.

her) A look of distaste on her face like l crawled from under a rock “We do charge for our advice it isn’t free you know”.

Me) Just about to walk out snapped back very angry “I did not come in for free advice l came in with the intention of paying for up to date information and help”

her) “Well she would have to open a file for you and l don’t know if she would want to or not”

Me) Pushed a step to far snarled. “Don’t bother l would not use your practice if it was the only one around or if l was paid to use it” and l stormed out.

I went into a smaller solicitor that had done some work for my folks and who l had also met and was given a smile and l explained what l wanted.
The person l needed came down with his diary and we arranged the next day. It was to be £150/hr as far as l am concerned worth paying.

He was great checked everything. Pronounced l was doing it all fine and answered my questions. At the end l asked how much it was and he looked at his watch mumbled something and l said no problem invoice or should l nip to the bank now.
“No no l said it was only 20minutes l am not going to charge you for that” and a nice grin lit him up.
I was stunned and it was actually 30mins but hey l wasn’t going to argue. They will also be drawing up my will and anything else l need after service like that, although l know l defiantly pay then!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Dentist's, Bifocals & Ash

I now have a new answer when dealing with company's who know about B. They ask if the card/account holder is present. My reply "He is here in 3 small bags of ash on my desk... now go and read your computer properly" there is generally a stunned silence then realisation sinks in.

Been in and had 5 fillings this morning my dentist who is fantastic told me "you doing well grinding your teeth chipped another bit off in 2 weeks since l saw you"
He won't do anything more than emergency type work for about 2 years. Apparently that is the time you generally have grief stress for. If he does as he puts it any heroic work any sooner l will just grind it out or stress will get in the way of any healing.

When l went with my root abscess a couple of weeks ago he said the start of it was about on course for stress illness and to expect more health related problems, even if niggardly. So guess who now has a cold although to be fair people with colds were sneezing and snerching at me on the weekend and l am always first in line for a cold.

Collect my new glasses as well today bifocals. Looking at how l am doing so far they are not a hit. I have a month trial but the lady said most folks decide in a week. They are very unsettling.

The July braai (barbaque) went very well. 3x 20 hour days did hammer me a bit but l still felt unwound by the end. There was about 1500 people and with all the booze that flowed we had 2 booze incidents. One a Turkish friend of some Rhodesians who wouldn't stop touching the girls. He was spoken to softly in his ear hole and he left. Another was a friend of someone who was drunk & mouthy, his friends were so upset at his behaviour they took him and left.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Life Moves On

Well life has been moving on and l have been working silly hours. Nothing new for me l just haven't had time to post between work and sorting Brian's estate so thought l would do a quick update.

Doing this bookkeeping lark is a nightmare and as l have to keep the company going to be able to work for a couple of my nursing practice clients. I have had a crash course on keeping my accounts. One of Brian's friends is an accountant and he has been a life saver, l am sure he has gone greyer though since he started to teach me books.

The other week/s l did a 12night shift then spent 3 days running round town seeing the dentist getting more antib as my tooth root abcess was still throbbing. My dentist blew a gasket at the associate who had seen me a week or so before and only given me a light dose of amoxy. I got hammered with a hefty dose of metronidazole. Seeing the accountant (official one not teacher one) seeing banks and just wondering where all the hours in the day had gone.

I started on an unofficial diet in other words gave up eating properly when Brian died, but then when l started to loose weight l turned it into a proper weigh loss. I have lost over a stone and am still going down also dropped a trouser size. I have cut out crisps, cake, bread, sweets, chocolate things like that and eating sensibly.

I will be going down to the parachute centre and have been as much as l can. It will now be my second home. I couldn't have got by without the skydiving community they have been excellent. Many of them have asked for a copy of the Tribute l wrote and read out at the funeral l was very touched, many have said it moved them to tears.

The channel tunnel have been brilliant. Brian and l had a holiday booked for August which is now not on. They have refunded the money Brian paid from the holiday we had to cancel back at Christmas and rescheduled for august. Apparently they do not usually refund but given the circumstances they are. I will use them when l finally get away on a holiday at the moment l am looking at next year.

Was feeling a bit depressed yesterday and nipped to the neighbours to ask them something when l came out of their house there was a HUGE double rainbow set against coal black clouds and the arch went straight over the top of the house. It was a fantastic tonic from Brian. As far as l am concerned he is still with me in spirit and l am always speaking and referring to him.

My cooking is as bad as ever and after l had to feel my way to the oven through the smoke l have decided burgers are just not for me to cook. Have given away the box we had in. I will stick to salads and stews.I have been thinking of getting a slow cooker told you can not go wrong with them. Thing is that is based on normal people not on someone with my unique "cooking" skills.

Well that's sort of all my news for now. I need a bath and to try feel human, something l have been wanting to feel for many years.. someplace it says "Seek and ye shall find" Wrong l has been seeking for years and still not finding :-))

Monday, 5 July 2010

Law of -

1. Law of Mechanical Repair - After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch & you'll have to pee.

2.Law of Gravity - Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

3. Law of Probability - The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

4. Law of Random Numbers - If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal & someone always answers.

5. Law of the Alibi - If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tyre, the very next morning you will have a flat tyre.

6. Variation Law - If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).

7. Law of the Bath - When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

8. Law of Close Encounters - The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

9. Law of the Result - When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

10. Law of Biomechanics - The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

11.. Law of the Theatre & Hockey Arena - At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle, always arrive last. They are the ones who will leave their seats several times to go for food, beer, or the toilet & who leave early before the end of the performance or the game is over. The folks in the aisle seats come early, never move once, have long gangly legs or big bellies & stay to the bitter end of the performance. The aisle people also are very surly folk.

12. The Coffee Law - As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

13. Murphy's Law of Lockers - If there are only 2 people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

14. Law of Physical Surfaces - The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor, are directly correlated to the newness & cost of the carpet or rug.

15. Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

16. Brown's Law of Physical Appearance - If the clothes fit, they're ugly.

17. Oliver's Law of Public Speaking - A closed mouth gathers no feet.

18. Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy - As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

19. Doctors' Law - If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you'll feel better.. But don't make an appointment, and you'll stay sick.

Monday, 21 June 2010


Today is Brian's Funeral. Rest in peace my love l know you are with me. Thank you for being you. Life is a journey Love makes it worthwhile Brian you are my rock, my soul, my love, my friend my life …for all eternity. I miss you.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Emma Bramley RIP

Today is Emma's funeral. My heart goes out to her family and l know she will be with them.

Tomorrow is Emma's birthday and a "memorial weekend" for her and my husband Brian at Langar. Over 90 skydivers will take to the skies throughout the weekend, weather permitting and celebrate the lives of Brian and Emma. They are looking at some point to forming a giant B & E in the air in their honour.

Fly Free Emma & Brian RIP 4/6/10
In support of Nottingham Air Ambulance

Emma Bramley Fly Free RIP 4/6/10

Emma Bramley Fly Free RIP 4/6/10

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Accident

I released a statement to the media they used bits but l decided to print the full one here. I can not comment on anything as there is an inquest under way. What l can say is a lot of what the media said was total rubbish. They also misquoted and twisted Emma's Mum's facebook post. That the media would do such a thing will come as a total shock to everyone.

If anyone would like to donate that would be wonderful please send a Donation in Brian’s Laithwaite name to:..
Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, Unit 2, Chase Park, Daleside Road, Nottingham NG2 4GT

Or there is a donation page for Brian and Emma money raised here also goes to the air ambulance.


Statement l released:...

Brian had been jumping for over 30 years and had been an advanced instructor but let his ratings lapse as he wanted to jump for fun not work.
He was involved in innovations over the years that turned the sport from dangerous to one of the safest in the UK.

He was a life coach and had a special skill in teaching and helping others. Brian would say no matter how good you are if you can not or will not pass along your skills then you are the poorer for it.
Brian coached skydivers moving up through their early phases and would call the skydivers in his group his fledglings.
He told me he wanted them to learn to fly in the air and in life. As soon as they were ready to fly in the air to the next stage, Brian would wave them out of the nest to face new skydiving challenges. He would then say half proudly and half embarrassed “The problem is that l can’t shift them from the nest. They grip onto me and refuse to go or just fly straight back”
Brian did his best to get them to move on but they stayed and advanced, even when they went onto the big way loads.

Emma was a good friend of everyone and was very experienced, often going on major loads. She became his ad-hoc secretary and tried to organise things but got frustrated at times. He would give a huge grin when he told me of her latest annoyance, she was a fantastic lady who did her best to try and organise a friendly rabble of skydivers.

Brian was and is my rock, my soul, my love, my friend and my life …for all eternity.


Brian doing what he loved, flying free above the earth

Brian and some of the Fledglings

Friday, 4 June 2010

RIP Brian 2/4/45 - 4/6/2010

My hub Brian was killed today in a skydiving accident. I am to devastated to say much just Brian l love you so much l always will. You are my life and my rock thank you for being you. I never could work out what you saw in me but your love flowed out all the time in every look and word and whatever you did for me.

65years old and my husband for 24years. You were always smiling and laughing full of bad jokes. Never swore and if you did said sorry.

You dedicated your life to helping others and everyone loved you. If life's a journey, it was a privilege to have hitched part of the way with you.

Brian you are my rock and my soul my love my friend and my life for all eternity. I lost my Angel and God gained an Angel.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Dog Crash

In UK you do not have to be qualified to do anaesthetics on a patient. The rcvs say that the vet is able to direct things.
This system means that vets can continue to pay poor wages so qualified veterinary nurses do not stay in the profession, and there is a lack of qualified nurses so unqualified are used.
You can pack shelves at Tesco one day and the next start at a vet and be put in charge of an anaesthetic; this is not unusual in many practices. In fact a lot of them do not even have a qualified veterinary nurse on the premises.
To be fair some unqualified auxiliary have been in the profession for years and are very good but it is still an excuse for bad wages and lax rules.

The following is an event that happened to me recently when l was working with a locum vet and shows exactly why A) This system is so dangerous and B) Why the vet should listen to the anaesthetist because they are at the sharp end not rumbling round in the animal’s guts doing a different job.

We had a small dog on the table having an operation. I had had to go and find some instruments for the vet so had left my patient unattended for a few minutes. I got back and he had started to puff a bit. I did a quick check on him and was about to turn my patient down slightly as he was going too deep.

Vet: Turn him up he is puffing.
Me: No he is going to deep l am lightening him.
Vet: “No l said turn him up he is getting puffy”
Me: “He has no jaw tone and his eyes are…”
Vet: Snapping “I want him up”
Me “Suit yourself” so l turn him up to 3
Vet: A couple of minutes later “He is still too light he is puffing worse”
Me “Yes l know he is too deep”
Vet “No he isn’t deepen him up to 4.5”
Me: Getting ready for the animal to crash and debating internal odds on how long this will take “Fine” turning patient’s anaesthetic gas up to 4.5

Within a couple of minutes he had crashed and stopped breathing. I was waiting for this little side trip under GA to begin. I smacked off the gas just left him on pure oxygen and started to breathe for him. It took 10 minutes until he was stable enough to breathe on his own. I also had to re-stabilise him back under anaesthetic.

The vets comment when she saw me start to do ippv on the dog stopped breathing “Oh has he stopped breathing?” She did not see it stop breathing as she was busy with her operation, happy the dog was not puffing. What would have happened with the shelf stacker?
I ignored her and just got on with my side of things. WW3 did not need to be brought in at this point and l was chewing my tongue.

So if you have a pet that is going to have a general anaesthetic, ask if it is a qualified nurse or a second year vn student (you do anaesthetics in second year) who will do the anaesthetic. Things can and do happen, l have had patients crash and been unable to do anything to bring them back, but it is less likely and circumstances like the above one are a lot more correctable because l knew what was about to happen.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Bittter Sweet

We had a 7year old Labrador brought in with end stage heart failure and end stage pregnancy. Mum had less than a week to go and the pups should survive although it was doubtful if she would.
The idea was to stabilise her and then see about a caesarian the vet gave the owners very low to negative odds of her surviving. She was placed on oxygen and given medication.

The theatre was set up for an emergency caesarian and l also set up the medical prep for an emergency “cut and grab” if the bitch crashed. If she crashed before the operation then there would be no attempt at saving her she would not come off the table alive all efforts would go to saving the puppies the correct assumption being to save her they would die in the time it took to revive her and the odds of her pulling through revival attempts with pups in her were non existent, they placed to much stress on her body.

After about 1.5 hours there was no visible signs of improvement and her stats, were slightly worse. The vet called me over and said that when he finished his present consult we would go ahead. He would give her propofol(to induce anaesthesia)and l would tube her (a tube placed into the trachea to maintain the airway and provide 02 and anesthetic gas and remove said used). We would place her straight onto her back no clipping or cleaning just go straight in and get the pups out and she may survive via crash kit and luck.

I was giving a last check to see that everything was right in theatre. Kit open, crash kit open and ready, tube to hand all plugged in ready to roll when the auxiliary called the bitch had crashed in her kennel.
We shot through. The other vn and l grabbed her and placed her upside down on the medical prep table. She was starting to chain stoke which is dying gasps. We did not tube her the vet gave a “now” and l put the propofol into her. If she was still alive she would feel nothing.

The vet made a long slice midline and pulled open her abdomen. Blood flowed out as arteries and veins were left unclamped pooled then ran and dripped off the table. The vets hands gripped and rolled out the slippery uterus and he sliced through horn one. Fluid now joined the blood the table and floor became a red green slippery pool and the golden body of the mum became red green merging with the table.
The vet pulled out neonate pup’s and started to shove them into waiting hands. I pulled up a syringe full of euthatol. A long slice through horn 2 and those neonates pulled out and passed over.
By now the prep area was awash with blood and fluid. Apart from the pool on and under the table it was up the walls from flip back pulling out the neonates, and feet were walking through the pool to and from table 2 where neonates were taken a few paces for reviving, cleaning, drying and checking (cleft palette and anus present) table 2 also had discarded placentas thrown onto the floor mingling with dirty towels from drying the neonates.
As the vet was about to get the last one l was told get ready and as he pulled the last pup out l injected the euthatol. Mum had probably already gone by this stage but we were not taking any chances.
It had only taken minutes for the procedure; from the original “crash” call to euthatol was about 5minutes.

There was 6 live pups all strong and screaming no deaths there. The vet went back to his interrupted consult and the other vn sewed up the mums abdomen while l did a quick tidy up of the area. As soon as mum was sewn up l placed the pups back onto her dead body to try and see if they could get any colostrum out of her. They got some out but as usual with newborns it took time for the idea of suckling to sink into their little brains and the time meant that it was drying up fast within their dead mum.

An hour later the pups went home, it was a bitter sweet moment we saved 6 lost 1. By the time the pups left the building medical prep was shining and clean. No signs of the life gained and lost that had happened such a short time before.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Ego meets VN

Well l have surfaced after my 8 nights. I did a few short comments and some twitters but nights just takes the enthusiasm out of doing much l get to tired.

The following happened last year we had a day vet covering nights he was a good vet in “knowing his stuff” he was a lousy ego driven people dealer though for those he considers beneath him.

We had a bloat (GDV) case in and l went to set it up. Over the year’s l have set up for a lot probably a a couple of hundred or more of these op’s so l know what we use. There were a couple of auxiliaries on as it was only about midnight and they popped in to help setup.

The dog was prepped and transferred and the operation was about to start. I heard a bellowing coming from the op theatre so went through and was approached by a screaming vet about where the F**King hell was his suction.
I looked at him totally blankly as we do not use suction on bloats. One of the night vets tried it once a few years back, it didn’t work so we never use it.
The screaming continued as l was saying this and was told “l put it on the note of what l wanted set up and other things l wanted are not here” This was screamed along with a lot of other expletives.
Blank look from me what note? The attack unfurled and l won’t take this sort of thing so attacked back. I refused to scream but made sure he heard me and I gave back what was thrown at me soon we had a full scale war going on.

I stormed off came back with the suction and set it up and the other bits he wanted then went to look for the note. I found it eventually the idiot vet had written it on the back of an anaesthetic form and left it with the pile of said forms on the prep table. One of the aux. clearing up had moved them to the side out of the way.
I got a grudging apology from the vet for his behaviour and gave a grudging one back for all l had called him in return, 2 insincere apologies to smooth things over.

Later on the anaesthetic nurse said to me that she had seen many men angry but had never seen one go so berserk, she had been worried he would hit me and was not sure what to do she had been genuinely terrified.
I told her “That would have been his biggest mistake” and not to worry as l certainly wasn't, as had been obvious at the time.
Apparently afterwards he said he would appreciate it if she never mentioned him loosing his temper or what happened. I told her the entire night staff had heard it and already knew so he was a bit late for that.

The vet and l still work together every so often for a few hours on various shifts and are ultra polite to each other.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Brit Politics 2010

Had a mooch round the cartoons on the state of brit politics today here are 3 unbiased ones. Fair to say l do not like any politicians and do not think any of them are fit for purpose.

Thursday, 6 May 2010


When l started this blog in September 2008 l couldn't think what to call it so choose veterinary nursing and life. I still can not think what to change it to. I was thinking of the Barefoot Veterinary Nurse as l dislike shoes and avoid wearing them. That limited me to just veterinary nursing, or A Barefoot View of Life and Veterinary Nursing, that's to long.
So l stick with what l have, still undecided on a name but this one seems to work and on the basis if it isn't broken don't fix it l shall stick with the "temporary" name.

Fed up just been into town to upgrade my phone to an iphone it will have to go on hold as they want £154 for the basic 3Gs. It is all to do with fact it is a mid term change, l am not primary phone on the contract (business one) and they just want to gouge us for it. And if we get it we have to agree to keeping our contract with them for another 24 months.

This is the only reason l vote Suffragette

Dry Bones

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Life up to Date

Garr fighting off another bought of bad throat and high temperature. Thank goodness for throat lozanges. My idiot Dr who, after a lot of abuse from friends and family l visited about 3 weeks ago as l was getting over last 2 month session, said in one breath. "Well it could be a low grade virus you can not shake due to stress. (You don't say!) BUT as you tested negative for a hiatus hernia 10 years ago l am going to treat you for acid reflux here is a script for omipramizole (strong antacids)
I have come to the conclusion my idiot Dr thinks "If it looks like a horse, and sounds like a horse, it must be a lion eating a tomato"
I am looking for a new Dr l can not handle the total cretin l have any more. He and his partner are worse than useless.
On the subject of medicals l have the meeting re scheduled for 17th May with the local nhs over the complaint for my dads discharge in January. They cancelled the last one as some head of nursing who "Just has to be there" was ill.
We had a letter through asking if we wanted to opt out of all our data going onto the nhs computer. I thought that the computer had been cancelled? Anyhow l filled in the don't put us on it part.

I was getting excited as up to now we have had no paper work through the door about the election but nulab spoiled it yesterday when l got home. There was a "thing" through the door. All the more reason not to vote for them they spoilt my no info yet boast.
Anyway l can not see who is worth voting for they are all as corrupt and scummy as each other so l will vote because of the suffragettes, but l will spoil my paper as A) This area is so solidly labour over 3/4 of the residents who normally vote would need to fail to turn out to make a difference B) I hate all politicians as being corrupt, insipid, self serving clones made out of some spoiled dough. I was hoping that a hung parliament means 300+ politicians hanging by their throats from parliament rafters. I am assured though it doesn't mean that, still l can but dream.

I have a long stretch of nights from Friday 8x 22:00-08:00 on the trot. I am hoping that they are fairly quiet.
I did 2x 17:30-03:30 over the weekend and the nights were manic. It felt like every animal in the area seemed to decide to become ill, get hit by a car or get bitten by another one.
Had a dog in with a tracheotomy tube. What a sweetie to treat, he would sit and lift his head to have his tube cleaned and suctioned every 2hours, l wish more patients were as cooperative.
One of the regular night vets is on holiday so a day vet covered. He has a worse memory than l do which was great as l am usually the bad memory person. He is having a "Come dine with me" night with the staff l was going to go, but, l think as it will be my first night off after my 8 night marathon, l won't make it.

Have been on days yesterday and today at a different vets. One of my semi regulars. It is novel working the whole shift in daylight and ending at 19:00 like regular vet staff. Going to be busy today though as we have a load of ops, l am sole nurse from midday and apart from ops and cleaning post op (theatre, kits, general prep area)and putting away the order l also have quite a few nurse appointments to do as well as all the discharges as patients recover.
Just hope the purified water gets there this morning for the autoclave or several ops will be cancelled. Someone forgot to order any last week but l think l got the phone order through in time to the supplier. If it all goes "tits up" it won't be my problem thought. The joys of being a locum cover, we have to have some perks.

Hub has been away since thursday last week. Langer have had a big skydiving meeting. He lead the SOS (Skydivers Over Sixty) attempt on a UK record over the weekend. They managed a quick 9 way but did not declare it as no one was happy with it. For goodness sake l give up. They got a 9 way, they got a UK record, every jumper was a brit and well over 60 but nope.. they weren't happy. I think the SOS stands for Senile Old Sods or Stupid Old Sods. Later on the Saturday they tried for an 11 way but it wasn't to be.
He is home tonight to do paperwork and l have made the big decision to go into town tomorrow and get an iphone 3gs. I have been dithering since February over that or Blackberry Bold but decision made (l think)

Oh well off to work this getting up in the morning for work is a very novel feeling. I can stand it occasionally but not regular.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


We were discussing the best way to deal with the large dog recovering in critical care, he was to big to fit comfortably in the kennel and should we put him on the mattress when he had a reputation for a bit of a bad temper when the fire alarm went off.
I mumbled “Who is making toast can’t they do it without burning it”
An auxiliary said nervously it isn’t Wednesday test day what’s happening. True to form we all ignored it. The phone went, for a change someone was free enough to answer it instead of all of us swearing at it. They put the phone down and said "It isn’t a drill we have a fire in reception we have to evacuate…and leave the animals bags and everything".

This was what everyone who works with animals dreads. In human hospitals they evacuate patients in animal ones they leave them. Small surgeries maybe they could grab the patients as they often only have a couple but we have to many. If we started to collect them we would get side tracked and it could end up a disaster. I grabbed my bag which was on the side. A vet ran into dog kennels and brought out her dog and we all walked out. Praying like hell that it wouldn’t spread, the fire doors would hold long enough if it did and that the fire brigade would get the hell there FAST. The building is huge and with luck it would be confined to the reception.

I was one of the last out and as l came out some one said “oh you will know”
I looked up. “huh?”
The question was continued “Who was on duty are we all out?”
“How the hell should l know we are mid change over some have gone all l know is we have no new ones in as we are heading to evening shift”

I looked at the door worrying and made a decision. Walking over to the head vet l said.
“The oxygen is turned on if it spreads and hits those pipes it will feed it l am going back in to turn the oxygen off at the taps is that ok”
“Yes ok” Had l been told no l would have hesitated but l was given a green light.
So l broke every rule in the book and hoped that l would not risk some fireman’s life if it went sour but l was worried about those oxygen lines.
I went back in the lights were out and the oxygen room was black a pitch. I turned all 4 cylinders off and then got the hell out of there. Smoke was filling the space and my heart rate went up by about 300 however l just walked calmly out and back to the car park.

Once out there l stood with the others a couple of minutes then realised we still had the cars parked in the way. Mine was by the building, l got mine calling to folks to get them shifted as they would need the space for the tenders. A couple couldn’t be moved as keys were still inside the building.

Some people were turning up for appointments but were stopped. A couple of owners had turned up and were understandably upset about the animals being left in, it was not what we wanted either.
What we really needed was the fire brigade. I know time stretches but they were taking a hell of a long time. Pops and bangs and flashes were coming out of reception and fuse boxes and smoke was snaking up through the roof. Occasional sirens could be heard but none that sounded like they were getting closer and heading to help us they just faded away.

Finally the long awaited sound reached us and grew steadily. Number 1 engine arrived followed closely by number 2. Anyone who says the police take a long time has not waited outside a burning vet’s with animals inside waiting for the fire brigade it is not just a long time it is eons.
The guys headed into the building and as they seemed to be relaxed about everything l decided that things were under control and l wanted some photos. I moved closer to them snapping.
The rabble (workmates) were worried and yelling at me about what was l doing and to get back. As usual l ignored them and just moved closer. If l was a problem l had no doubt the men in helmets would let me know. The rabble behind could chorus all they wanted. Knowing me of old the shouts died down to mutterings. I ended up leaning against the entrance railing it was obvious it was safe there.
The fire alarm was still screaming away and l ended up having to nip across the car park at a helmeted men’s request to get the bosses to find someone who knew the code. Bloody thing was giving everyone a head ache.

As it all seemed to be under control after about 15 minutes l asked if l could get back in to check animals. This was granted; at this point the vet with the recovering big dog came over and asked if he could go back in as well. We borrowed a flashlight from the helmeted men and went into the building while they continued checking all over the 2 floors for anything that had spread. I assume as we were allowed back in though they were not too concerned. I think everyone else was held back though.

The electric was out and emergency generator had not cut in so it was pitch black as there are no windows. We went to critical care ward the recovering dog was lying by the door and like an elephant to shift, he just couldn’t see any reason to shift just cause we wanted him to but eventually got the message. I shone the torch round and we did a check on the patients then l left the vet in critical ward in the dark and did a round of all other patients, most were having a sleep and no animals were stressed by the smell of smoke.

After about 10minutes the emergency lights came on and the rest of the staff filtered in. Kennels with cats and some critical animals were pushed out of the building. Other cats were placed in cat carriers. Larger dogs were walked out by firemen who were briefed on how to walk a dog while holding a drip bag.
I wish l had got the picture of the day. A big fireman carrying a small bulldog puppy out like a baby looking down and cooing to him, the bulldog looking up at him wondering who the heck had the cheek to wake him up even if it was for a nice cuddle. He had been fast asleep when l checked him oblivious of the drama going on around him.

Once all the animals were out we started to collect all we would need to decamp for an unknown time to a branch surgery. A couple of owners collected their pets that were discharged in the car park. The collection van ferried those inpatients that were to stay in to the branch. It also ran equipment, drugs, drips, kits, bedding, animal food and anything else we could think of.
By 19:00 we were settling into a cramped space in the new building and the patients who were staying in were settled into new kennels. Several new emergencies arrived they needed minor ops and these were done asap and collected the same night to keep kennels and rooms free for major emergencies as we were so limited. 2 Consult rooms had to be pressed into use as walk in kennels for big dogs.
One charity client who was rang to collect their dog said “We’ll do it tomorrow we are holding a party” and turned their phone off. This left us fuming as the op had been done with agreement they would come as soon as called, that was the only unpleasant marring though.

We spent 2 nights at the branch. On the Friday l went over to the main surgery as we were sick of sending requests and getting a bit of what we wanted. I rolled in to a picnic taking place. ¾ of the staff were there tiding the building up and taking advantage to give it all a deep clean. My mission went on hold while l ate 2 HUGE pieces of pizza and felt ill l never learn eyes and stomach!!

The electricians managed to get us a big generator and patched through so we could move “home”. The main incoming cable needs replacing and the fuse board has been rebuilt. So for the foreseeable future it is generator goodness knows when UU will get their act in gear to get the main incoming supply sorted but l understand it is a fairly major job.

Work got us a choice of a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates as a thank you. It may not seem like a lot but it was great that we had been remembered, the old boss (now retired) would not have done anything as a thank you.

Friday, 23 April 2010

It's Only an Arm

I decided on this blog after reading Coldsteelrains post about his parachute jump to raise money for Combat Stress and his other blog post and Donation page link then his tweet about this oh good grief. It got me wondering why someone with 1000 jumps could not use her other hand for her reserve.

My other half celebrated 30years skydiving last year. As usual l missed the party due to work but l digress. About 8 years ago he was in a formation that funnelled, in other words it fell apart. The lass who happened to be holding hub’s arm grabbed harder instead of letting go, she went over his head still holding his arm and pulled it out of it’s socket.

He said he had that “opps” moment and decided that as his arm was waving at everyone with no control he had better get his reserve out which he did when he got to normal opening altitude. Like many skydivers he hates the canopy ride looks on it like a taxi ride, the fun is before so do not open till you reach opening altitude.

I was reading and glanced up to see if l could spot his canopy. I never bother watching so am never sure which is him, if l am not doing l get no enjoyment watching others doing and enjoying. A good book is more fun.

I saw a reserve and it looked like hubs jumpsuit colour. I scanned looking for a floating main and couldn’t so hoped someone had spotted it but no jumpers were pealing off following a different path as they do when they follow a main to save a fellow jumper a couple of £1000 so l wondered if he had a total mal. I sighed and went over to greet him landing. A few other jumpers came running over. Being a worried wife l was thinking of cost of main and freebag (called that due to action not free of cost), cost of various other bits of hardware and also reserve repack I have my priorities right.

By now hub had landed next to the pit (a gravel circle the closer to the centre the more points you get in accuracy competitions) and folded flat onto the ground near me. At least l did not have to go far. I grabbed the reserve and helped collapse it and pulled it round to him holding his arm.
It is dislocated he said don’t touch me help me get this lot off (equipment) I looked down at him, all my wifey sympathy bubbled up.
“Well thank fuck you put the new French doors in during the week cause god knows when you will get round to it now”
“I am more worried about work he said l am off in a week” At this point he worked away at sea but they let him go as he said he could do the work one armed with a helper.
I let the other jumpers get his equipment off.
The co owner of the centre arrived holding a mug of tea for him. Hang on said hub let me get this lot off. Eventually he sat up and held out his hand for the mug.
“Sorry mate” said his friend “l was thirsty and it looked good l drank it”
“Got an ambo coming” said the CCI walking over with a big cheesy grin.
“WHATTT don’t be stupid l am not going in it what did you waste a call for? Someone else will need it more than me we can go when l get home go cancel it”
As he started to argue the nee naww men turned up.
Hub started to apologise to them for wasting the call. They were fine and said that as they would have taken him 180 deg. to a hospital about 10miles the other way to where we were going agreed it was stupid to go with them it wasn’t like he was dying. They suggested we stop at Lancaster if needed or go to the local a & e when we got home.
Much to hubs disgust they got a mug of tea each and one even accepted a slice of cake as well while he remained dry they agreed with my veto on drinks in case of ga….. lifes tough.

As it turned out l decided on Lancaster A & E l was tired of his moaning at bumps in the road and grey pallor. Despite his muttering just bloody go home. Once there they did try and relocate it with heavy sedation but it was no use his screams echoed through the department.
“We have almost given him the total amount of morphine and midazalam for his size we can said a worried Dr to me and he won’t go down to sleep properly”
Wifey sympathy once more hit high speed “Whack in all you can then just give a bloody good go and ignore his screams, you won’t have to put up with his moaning if he needs a GA” l said.
The Dr looked at me like l had 2 heads but l just glared back, he sighed shook his head and walked back.
Still no luck he needed surgery. I once more short circuited his options taking his clothes when l left to stop him catching a train the next day while l was at work and he was stuck till l collected him later. I knew him of old and he would stagger out post surgery after discharging himself half dead to get back as he hates hospitals.

The final kicker was the next day when the surgeon sought him out to chat skydiving and said. “Well you did a good job one bitch of an arm to replace and anyhow what’s someone your age doing falling out of aero planes” He did apologise for the age crack when told firmly that hub was having fun.

On showing him the article on the female skydiver hub asked same as l did what is an experienced person doing that they can not use their other arm they have got 2 and only one was damaged he also muttered smugly l landed next to the pit.

Hub in a 36way last year

Monday, 19 April 2010

Maluka Honey Foot

We had a lovely young dog about 6moths old 30kg a cross breed brought in. He had his foot injured in an RTA. He was a stray and in with us until healed and rehomed or reclaimed
I was on the night he came in. He was very nervous but sweet. I popped him onto the table and set about cleaning his foot, l also placed an iv and fluids.

Before l started to clean l took photos but couldn’t get photos between the toes as they were too sore to open. Also placed a paper ruler around the feet to try and show the size of the swelling, it did not come out to well on the photos but worked enough.
He was good as gold for his first foot dressing just laying there, with one person holding him, while l cleaned, dried and dressed it. The foot was very swollen and there was a nasty wound on the outer aspect of the medial toe and the vet was not sure if the toe would need amputation. The top of the foot also had sores and in between the digits as well, these wounds were deep up into the toe creases.

Because he was a bit wriggly the honey went everywhere, well it seemed to but eventually the foot was dressed, honey was cleaned off all of us and he was placed in a kennel with duvet food and water after some jabs of pain killer, anti-inflammatory and antibiotics.
I was on duty for his first few days and we hit it off from the start. In fact l was the only one he seemed to be happy with and l always got great sloppy kisses. He kennel guarded but allowed me to go in and get him out.

He was to have dressing changes daily for the first 3 days then in theory every 3 days but the problem was when l was off he got the taste for the honey. The little “sod” had learnt how to somehow crush his buster collar, push his foot close enough and suck the toe end out then eat the inner dressing.
This means that he has at times had up to 3 dressing changes in a day. At times things went well and it was 24hrs between dressings. The problem was we use maluka honey dressings which is brilliant for wounds somehow he got the end of the dressing off one day so of course once he tasted it he knew exactly where to find the yummy taste. Buster collars only helped so much and he was on the biggest usable size/neck/head, any bigger they almsot fell down his body the collar neck was so big.

Dressing changes were always amazing as he just lay there while he was changed. The helper never had to do anything other than try and keep his tail from whisking up to hard and waggling his bum and then his leg. Once his dressing was off was a bit more work as he wanted to lick his foot for more honey.

One morning I found yet another bare toed foot peeking out at me at 05:00 and as l was alone no vet (gone to bed) no auxiliary (gone home) 2nd nurse (gone home) l did some cussing, got the dressing materials and set to dressing the foot on my own. If it did not work then l would buzz the vet to get his carcass out of his bed and come and help but l decided to see how things went first.

Up till now he had always had 2 people doing the dressing changes, a holder and a wound dresser. I grabbed a front and back leg and pull pushed his 30kg down he flopped happily on his side on his duvet. We made sure he had a duvet as despite being a monumental pain in the arse eating his dressings he was everyone’s favourite. He didn’t kennel guard any more and just wanted loads of loving.
Once he was flat l pinned his neck till he got the message and lay still, l also muttered endearments to him on what l would do if he moved, which he ignored after the first couple of comments.
I cut the old dressing off with a scalpel and had to get very firm as he tried to grab my hand, not ideal with a sharp scalpel blade in it. He lay back and sulked, trying the big “poor unloved me” look, this time it didn’t work due to the situation.

I threw the blade back out the kennel as far as l could then got the old dressing off. By mistake l dropped it by me. “Shark teeth” saw a possible source of honey and while the back end obeyed my command to lay flat the top side lifted and made a grab. A short tug of war and unhooking bandages trapped round teeth the dirty dressing joined the scalpel as far away as possible.
Another firm push and this time l placed my right leg firmly on his neck to hold him down. He figured play time and rolled to try and eat my foot, another tussle and he lay sulking planning his next move.

I unwrapped the new dressings and felt his body tense, glaring at him and muttered some more rude words so he lay back staring at the dressing pack. Watching out of the corner of my eye l saw his look change to "yup there came the tube of honey it just had to be all for me".
A rather stern comment from me and a threat of clubbing him to death with a soggy bread roll (my ultimate threat) brought obedience. Actually it was more the fact l grabbed his head mid lunge and held it back flat on the duvet that got through to him.

I cleaned and dried the foot and threw the cleaning swabs and drying cotton wool l had used well away from him. Then l got the dressing on, he was a bit ticklish with the foot but did lie still. As soon as l was done he leapt up and tried to grab all the dressing material he could while l fought to remove it. Bloody dog what part of “drop it you useless ************” did he not understand? Thank goodness the scalpel was far away. And yes he got lots of cuddles and some doggie treats for being almost so well behaved despite a few lapses.

After about 3 weeks of steady dressing changes the foot was hugely improved, he still had his toe and was awaiting his new home.
When we had a quiet spell at night one of us would go and get him out to have a play with us in the medical prep area, he would then go exploring. Listening to our “oy out of there” and looking back over his shoulder trying to decide if he should go into the animal ward or laundry room or wherever he was being ordered out of if is really worth going in. Curiosity won about 50% of the time, he would come belting out trying to look innocent when he heard us heading for him to haul him out.
Animal food kitchen was a special favourite as that is where the treats are and he knew that someone is going to get him something and if he plays the cute card right lot’s of something’s.

The dressing continued but he was getting wrigglier, first photos he hurt to much to move but as wounds healed he wriggled and with a camera phone it ended up blurred however the photos give an idea of the healing going on. The timings on the photos are approximate in weeks.

(if anyone has problems seeing the photos please let me know my photos seem to be playing up on some computers)

Original wound's on admit

Size of damaged foot compared to normal one, on the normal one the paper wraps back under itself, on the damaged one the ends do not meet

Week 2 wounds on pads healing and also top of foot

Week 2 main wound granulating nicely

Week 3 wounds between toes clear and able to open toes

Main wound week 3

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Parachute Hangup

Found this in one of hubs skydiving books. A famous story of how back in the 70's a student in UK had a hang up in a cessna. His deployed his reserve to early before he was free and while he was still attached to the plane the photo is from the top of the photo downwards:

Reserve parachute
Student (black dot in middle)

Click on the photo a couple of times to enlarge it and read the full story.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Alternative Door

The following happened a time ago and had us all laughing in disbelief. The little bitch was a sweetie totally unharmed by the night’s proceedings and took it all in her stride.

The owner had gone down to the pub and taken his dog with him. He had had more drink than was good for him...to put it bluntly he was totally pissed, from here it is surmising but:
Unable to work his front door key when he got home he took the next logical step.
He smashed the lounge window. Not sure how he did this as windows are meant to have safety glass.
Once the way was clear he threw the dog into the lounge, lets face it if she climbed in she may have cut herself.

The police and ambulance were called to take him away where he was treated to we are told “rather severe hand and arm wounds” before he had shiny new bracelets decorating his wrists.
The little bitch was collected and spent the night with us in a comfy bed. Actually she had a duvet folded into 4 and was lost in the middle of it snuggled down with a big bowl of food and water by the bed for refreshments.

The real problem with the above situation was that the drunk gentleman smashed in the lounge window of the house he used to live in. We did wonder if that was also the reason his key did not work?

Friday, 9 April 2010

Tortoise Cruelty Case

This post is not for the squeamish. It is upsetting l know because l am still upset and angry and l deal with death every day but this is for me a very personal death.

I was doing an anaesthetic a couple of nights ago when the locum vet came in and asked for advice on how to put a tortoise to sleep. She had one in that needed doing asap and was worried as they are so difficult to deal with.

The owners thought it very funny when they described how they threw it to their dog to play with and how it ripped into it and vomited up the part it had swallowed of the tortoise a few minutes after swallowing it.
The vet is reporting it but l think it may not get prosecuted due to the fact the owners took it to the vet and how do you prove other than they found it funny and admitted to doing it do you prove it was deliberate.
Time has proved me correct they said almost those words, l know certainly the local rspca attitude it is very hard to get them to do anything, the animal collection officers do try but the higher up the tree the less help you get. Playing devils advocate how would you prove it they would deny it but even so it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

I said if she got one of the other nurses to take over my job l would sort it for her and show her how to pith it. She sent in the spare nurse and l went off to look for some tools, a hammer and sharp longish object/s.

There are only about 3 recommended ways to kill a tortoise but only really one works and if you use the others you should always pith them to make sure as they can shunt blood supply from parts of their body and survive long periods anoxia (without oxygen) cutting off the head is not a way as they can survive for a long time l saw article that said up to an hour. The following is actually the recommended BSAVA method adapted*

First the tortoise was given a very big dose of ketamine. Then *placed in a small anaesthetic chamber (plastic tupperware box with pipe into it that the anaesthetic tubing attaches to. He was in this for about 15 minutes to attempt to help relax him. This may or may not have worked due to my comments on surviving without oxygen,and could well just have been the ketamine kicking in but all means to help are utilised.
When l took him out l hated to do it but still had to pull his head out of his shell but he was by now a lot more lax and did not have much resistance. I got the vet to hold his head.
Then the needle was placed on the top of his skull above the brain stem and driven in l then opted for a slightly larger but very sharp dental drill (unused) which l again hit into the brain stem with my makeshift hammer (an orthopaedic tool) several times to totally destroy it.
The feeling is awful as you crunch through bone and feel and hear it splinter knowing it is driving into the brain along with whatever you are using (needle/drill head).
*Although BSAVA just say once the vet who showed me said to do it several times to make sure.
*I then stood for about 20 mins watching for any signs of life and getting others to check as well. With a tortoise or turtle l stand and look really look hard for any signs of life and gently pull limbs to see if any with draw reflex. In this case it means looking at horrendous injuries. Again this is not part of the standard advice but l want to make sure the poor creature is really dead.

Normally we put an animal down with a clean needle and after the owners goodbyes you then go back and take care of it fast as no reason to stop and stare.

You can see the major injury with the ripped off shell, what does not show up is the damage to the internal section of the body. Underneath the shell is puncture wounds. The skirt where the shell flares out from the body is fractured like a wobbly tooth and lifts up in sections. Smaller holes are in the upper shell as well, some can be seen.