Sunday, October 30, 2011


Gratefully, fall is upon us.  With fall in full-swing, I find my husband otherwise occupied a lot of the time.  For the past several weeks he has been out of state on trip after trip, spent weekend after weekend at fairs, dairy judging competitions, and who knows what all.  I, on the other hand, have been home, cleaning the house in between emergency calls, entertaining friends and planning an occasional excursion to Galax here and there so I can search the racks a Wal-mart and Kato for decent clothes to wear.  My poor wardrobe has dwindled down to just jeans and scrub tops since I haven't been to an actual department store in an actual city for...well, a really long time.

Anyway, it's not so bad.  What I do find to wear is fantastically cheap, which makes accepting how hard it is to keep anything looking even half-way presentable after being washed a couple of times (or even worn a couple of times) a little bit easier.  Not to mention, just being in Wal-mart gives me a chance to peruse my options for upcoming birthdays and Christmas.  Having young nieces allows a gradual introduction into the ever-so frightening world  Toys, in every color, shape and genre...and all made out of varying amounts of plastic.  Friends, let me tell you, its a scary place.

First of all, let me introduce you to the girls toy aisle.  It's very easy to pick out.

I don't think I've ever seen so much pink in my entire life.

Keep in mind, I'm looking for appropriate toys for 2, 3 and 11 year old girls.  Here were some of the toy options that jumped out at me:

First of all, there is Disney everything.

Now they make infant versions of the Disney Princesses I loved growing up.  Check out the baby Ariel in a bikini top.

Second of all, when did toys start looking so possessed?

Hello soul-less eyes.
Third of all, where did all the slutty dolls come from?  Did we have these when we were little?  I mean Barbie isn't all that wonderful, but seriously?:

She's even named after a stripper.
Why, hello there goth doll with crazy tights and a miniskirt.  I blame the vampire movies for this one.

Then there's the boys aisle.  I didn't bother to take a full length picture of this one.  You can only fit so many weapons and evil-looking men in one cell-phone picture.  Basically all the toys that weren't geared toward infants or toddlers were geared toward killing something or someone.

I don't get it.  My children will be playing with dog toys and blocks.  I'll make sock dolls if we have girls and dress them in my old scrap clothing from Wal-mart that fell apart. 

Anyway, since I had the weekend off and Aaron Ray had planned to go to a cattle auction in Blacksburg, I thought it would be a good time to re-visit my old vet-school stomping grounds and eat some good food from restaurants I miss ever-so-much.

As it turned out, it was below 30 degrees, snowing and raining and exquisitely cold.  I spent most of my time bundled up and cringing every time I heard my husband bid on something.  I mean, I understand that you need to buy good cattle to have good cattle, but man, I was really glad when things started going over our price range.  I was especially grateful when he quit bidding on the hogs.

Cattle auctions are fun though.  We went to the dairy heifer auction too, and these fellas talk about those heifers like they're just the best, most gorgeous women in the world.  It's almost a little ridiculous.

At any rate, it's been a fun weekend, we're safe at home now, I'm catching up on laundry and regretting that tomorrow is another workday.   Hey, at least I get to dress up for Halloween!  Pictures to come.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Educational post: How you shouldn't use a machete

Ya'll have read some of the stories I post on here - crazy, unbelievable - all true.  Today, let me tell you about a couple of cases that have come into our office due to improper use of one, rather tricky, tool/weapon:

The machete:

photo credit
Ok.  It's slightly less dramatic when you see one like this:

photo credit
People use machetes around here mostly as tools, but...let me tell you about one situation I had to patch up where the question of its usage might have raised a few eyebrows.

Imagine, riding through the pasture adjacent to your dairy farm in an old white Jeep Cherokee.  You're checking on your cows and looking to see if cow #657 is still limping or if the vet did a good job when she trimmed her feet last week.  You think you've found the cow you were looking for and are following her slowly in the Jeep, encouraging her to walk, when all of a sudden, you feel the Jeep forcefully rolled forward a few inches.  You stop, look around; see in the rear-view a huge Holstein bull sniffing around your bumper.  You gun the engine a little bit, honk the horn and move along, thinking the bull was just curious...

...but then you notice the cows starting to edge away a little.  

You look out passenger's side window's and don't see anything, then look over on the driver's side and see him - 20 yards away, pawing the dirt, turning his head toward the ground, his eyes rolling around in his head...

You gun it.

But he comes after you.  

After several turns through the pasture, you get mad.  Like, fighting mad.  But how do you fight a 2200 lb bull?  You look for your rifle in the back seat, which (thankfully) appears to be missing...then you notice in the floorboard of the passenger's side - a machete.  

You don't think.  You just jump out of the truck, wielding your weapon, yelling at the top of your lungs, and you throw it, intending to hit him square between the eyes.

You miss.

It hits low on his right rear leg, just above the hoof...and it manages to slice through an artery.  So, you call the vet, tell her you have a bull that has a cut coming in and herd him into the trailer.

Incidentally, the bull is back in business.

photo credit

So.  Story number two.

This time of year, there are many migrant workers that flood our county, cutting pumpkins from their vines and starting to cut greenery for Christmas (I saw a load of pine boughs go down the mountain last week - what the heck!?!?  It's not even Halloween!).  What tool do people use to perform such tasks?   

Yep, you guessed it, a machete.

Another thing people do this time of year is let their dogs roam loose, free to run and play in this beautiful weather, free to eat whatever deer carcasses people leave after hunting, free to get underfoot and run between the trees while workers are trying to greenery.

Enter, energetic, 100 lb black lab that came in with a dishtowel precariously taped across the top of his head.

Remove dishtowel and see a 6" diagonal slice cut through the skin all the way across his head.

At least machetes make a clean cut.

photo credit

In closing, my PSA for this post is:  please be careful when using your machete.  You never know what kind of damage you might end up doing while working/in a mad rage.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A tiny vent...

The whole point of "rescuing" an animal is to give it a better life than it had before you "rescued" it.

That is all.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The medical professionals...

So, for the record, I'm not the only one who attracts the crazies that come in to our office.  Last week, Karen (the newest addition to the team!), came up to me, barely able to contain herself after hearing this one:

New client:  "I have a question.  How can I learn how to spay and neuter dogs and cats?  Can I be trained for that here?"

Dr. W:  "I'm sorry, what do you mean?"

New client:  "You know, spaying and neutering.  I would like to learn.  I mean, you don't have to be a veterinarian to do that, right?  I can't imagine something like that requires a license."

Dr. W:  "Actually, yes, you do have to be a doctor in order to perform those procedures.  As a matter of fact, both spaying and neutering are complicated surgical procedures that can only be performed by veterinarians."

New client:  "Oh well that's just a shame.  There are some really talented people out there who could do things like that for free, since there's such a need and all.  I'm a RN.  I feel confident that I could perform those procedures."

Dr. W:  "Hmm.  Well that's nice.  Ok, is there anything else Fluffy needs while she's here today?   No?  Ok,  Megan will check you out up front, thanks!"

And also for the record, I know several RNs and other medical professionals that would never assume such a thing, a general rule, the medical professionals are the worst clients.  I do my very best to be a patient when I'm my doctor's office, but people hardly ever extend the same courtesy to us, as veterinarians.   

What's that saying again?  Oh yes, "A doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient."

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Aaron Ray:  "Oh hey, just in case you find them and are wondering, I put some testicles in the fridge."

Michelle:  "Um, like my fridge?  The one I put food in?"

Aaron Ray:  "Yeah."

Michelle:  "Well.  I'm sort of ok with this, but why couldn't you have put them in your fridge in the basement?"

Aaron Ray:  "Because I haven't gone down to the basement today."

Michelle:  "Uh huh, I know it's just so hard to walk down one flight of stairs."

Michelle:  "Wait, why did you bring home testicles in the first place?"

Aaron Ray:  "Because I castrated a bull calf today."

Typical Agri-Science-Teacher-husband-and-Mixed-Animal-Veterinarian-wife conversation while watching TV on a Saturday night.  What do normal people talk about, I wonder?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Is it the weekend again already?

I can't believe tomorrow is Saturday.  It seems like just yesterday, my dearest friends from my formative years (aka middle school and high school) were here, having made the beautiful trek up these lovely mountains for a quick visit.  It was magical, wonderful, and gave me a fantastic excuse to actually clean my house and cook up a storm.  I loved it.  Loved. It.  

Many pictures were taken; much fun was had by all.

Photo Credit:  Allison
George and Bella are still wondering why we can't have these ladies around all the time.  I think they enjoyed all the giggling.

Aaron Ray is much disappointed that "the hairless wonder" didn't get adopted forthwith.  I haven't told him this yet, but the little munchkin's joi di vivre makes me laugh on almost a moment to moment basis.  I think she just might have to stay...unless she doesn't get over this peeing in the house business.  Not to mention the waking up to whine and cry at 4:30am weirdness.  I can't handle that crap.

Homegirl enjoys sitting in laps and watching TV
Unfortunately, this coming weekend won't be nearly as fun as the last one - I'm on call, and I've already received ridiculous call #1 for the evening.  First, let me tell you exactly what you would hear if you called our vet clinic right now:

"You have reached Twin Oaks Veterinary Hospital.  Our office is now closed.  Our regular office hours are 8:30 am until 5:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:30 until Noon on Saturdays.  If you have a veterinary emergency, you may contact Dr. Michelle Tompkins at (phone number)." 

No, I'm not giving you my phone number.

Anyway, I wonder which part of that message prompted someone to make this (clearly an emergency) phone call:

Client:  "Hi, is this Dr. Tompkins?"

Dr. T:  "Yes, can I help you?"

Client:  "Um, yes.  I have a couple of questions.  How much does it cost to get my dog's tail docked?"

Dr. T:  "I'm not quite sure, I'm not at the office right now so I can't look up any prices for you.  Call back tomorrow after we open and the receptionist can help you."

Client:  "Ok, well I have another question.  Can I my dog get its shots while its there for surgery?"

Dr. T:  "Yes.  We can do that."

Client:  "Ok.  How much does that cost?"

Dr. T:  "Well that depends on what shots it needs.  How old is your dog?"

Client:  "Oh, I have no idea."

Dr. T:  "Ook.  Well, for a shot that protects against distemper and parvo along with some other viruses, it's $28.  If your dog needs a rabies shot, it's an additional $10.  If you have any other questions, you can call back tomorrow."

Client:  "Oh wait, I have one more question.  Can you give me papers for my dog when I come in?"

Dr. T:  "You mean, like, registration papers?"

Client:  "Yeah."

Dr. T:  "No ma'am, we don't have anything to do with that.  I don't know how you can get your dog registered.  I assume it'll be with the AKC"

Client:  "Oh, what's the A...K..........what is it?  The AKP?"

Dr. T:  "No, the A-K-C, like the American Kennel Club."

Client:  "Oh, ok.  What's the phone number for that place so I can call them?"

Dr. T:  "Ma'am, I have no idea.  I don't have any idea what you need to do to register your dog.  You can look it up on the internet or call your breeder."

Client:  "Oh.  Well, alright.  Thank you."

Will someone please explain to me why I can't be a hateful person (that's southern for b****, fyi) and cut someone off when I figure out they're just calling to waste my time instead of having an actual emergency?  This is becoming a real problem of mine.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Home for the deaf, dumb and disabled

Well, not really.  More like, neurotic, three-legged and...bald.

Forgive me.  Lets start this over:

On a daily basis, I'm confounded by the limitations of my job.  I see patients every day that are owned by people who have no capacity to take care of them.  Even as reasonable as the cost of care at our office is, people still struggle to address basic needs.  Thankfully, I've grown a thick skin over the past year and a half, otherwise, as all you who know me know, I would already have a house full of misfit, yet beloved animals.  Animals can't help who they belong to.

Lately, my thick skin has become thinner and I can't help but cuddle every adorable little puppy, kitten and sick, hurting animal.  You should hear me examine a cow, I'm sure I sound ridiculous with my "Easy momma, whoa now." speeches.  I even talked nice to an equine was a donkey though, and that doesn't count.  Not to mention, I almost bought a mule.  Seriously?

Anyway, today was a crazy busy Saturday.  We were moving through patients as quickly as we could (which was not quick enough for some people.  I mean, if you come to a walk-in only clinic on a Saturday morning, what do you expect??), and I come to a check-in sheet that I thought would be simple and easy:  "vet check dog found on road in Lansing last night."  We see these all the time - good Samaritan brings in dog to be examined, checked for internal parasites, and given its first vaccines.  No problem.

When the client came into the room, she gently set a cat carrier on the examination table and said, "I have no idea what to do with this dog.  I've never seen anything like it.  I don't have much money, but I couldn't just leave it there."

Enter: heart meltingly sad little dog.  75% bald, the other 35% that had hair was matted up and attached to several parts of her body and didn't allow much movement.  Her poor little feet and ears were completely enveloped in smelly nasty hairy mats.  Pathetic.  But then she wagged her bald rat tail and licked my hand.

Forgive my finger in the frame.  

The client proceeded to explain to me that she couldn't afford much - she drove here with her gas tank on empty and she was hoping she wouldn't have to put the dog in the shelter.  I, knowing how full the shelter was and how much I love a project, (stupidly) told the woman that I would take the dog in (where was my thick skin this morning?!?!).

"Like, to your house?"  She asked.

"Yes, to my house."  I responded.  Aaron Ray doesn't know about it yet.  Don't tell him.

So, a couple of hours later, after we closed, I sedated this 7.5 lb. munchkin and shaved what was left of her hair off.  Jessica, in between laughing at me, ran a few tests on the dog while I prepared to give her what may have been her first bath.

Well.  As it turns out, homegirl comes with a whole posse of carpetbaggers.  Meet, Sarcoptic Mange:

(Which, incidentally, can transiently live on a human and cause an itchy rash.  Lovely.)

So, little friend got a lime-sulfur dip and now smells like rotten eggs.  Dang.

Whilst drying my new project, I also found out that among a yeast infection and bacterial infection of the skin, along with her scabies, she also has a corneal ulcer in her right eye, luxating patella in her right rear leg, moderate dental disease, is a little deaf and may or may not have intestinal parasites - I can't tell for sure yet because I'm fairly certain she's constipated.

You'd think a list like that would slow me down...

But all I did was go to Wal-Mart and buy her a puffy pink jacket.

I am such a sucker.

Anyway, anybody have any ideas for names?  Jess and I were going through all the old woman names that would fit perfectly:  Myrtle, Petunia, Maude, Ethel, Fannie, Mamie...I just can't pick one.

Oh, and if anyone wants to give this girl a wonderful home after I get rid of her scabies and skin infections and her hair starts to grow back and her ulcer is gone and she's not constipated anymore, let me know!  I need another dog like I need a hole in my head.