He-man: Here's looking at you
I can spin around one time on one of those carnival rides and that's it, I'll be sick.
Don't ask me why, but it just makes me sick. When I was a kid, I could ride them all day without a problem. Not anymore.
So, I can understand when people come to the clinic and get sick. Thank goodness that gross smells and sight don't bother me at all. We see some of the grossest things imaginable at the clinic. No matter how bad it gets, it has yet to make me pass out or vomit. I have to admit, I have come close a couple of times, but it has never actually happened.
It was a fairly cold night a few Novembers ago. Some high school kids from a neighboring town had been waiting for a couple of hours for a hernia surgery on a show pig.
The owner of the pig was a macho 18-year-old who had aspirations of being a veterinarian.
He had been prancing around the clinic telling everyone that someday he was going to be the greatest veterinary surgeon of the 20th century.
I was ignoring him. It is a fairly common thing to have a pre-vet person in the crowd.
I like to let the kids with 4-H projects glove up and help with the surgeries on their animals. Of course "He-man" jumped at the chance to be involved.
We scrubbed him up and showed him how to put on the gloves. But, before any of this could occur, he had to take a dip of snuff. This is a required practice for all pubescent "he-men" these days.
And this was not your run of the mill dip of snuff, either. This kid must have shoved half a can of Copenhagen in his mouth. He just kept packing snuff into the space between his bottom lip and gum. I would not have believed that much snuff could fit in one space.
When he had finished packing and pushing, his face had taken on a distorted, almost deformed, shape. I was amazed and told him so. Anyway, the attention seemed pleasing to him, and he went on.
The surgery consisted simply of cutting the skin over the area where a pig's belly button would be, and closing the rent in the muscle.
Then the skin is re-apposed and the surgery is over. No big deal. I've done it a hundred times.
I explained to He-man what was about to happen and told him not to touch anything with the sterile gloves he was wearing unless I told him to. I also told him to keep his hands above his elbows. This keeps anything from falling or dripping onto the sterile gloves.
Now get this picture in your mind.
Here stands he-man, his bottom lip is sticking out like a diving board over a pool.
He is holding his sterile hands over this head and trying not to touch anything unless he is told. He has turned his cap around backward and is strutting around for all the other students. He was really beginning to get on my nerves.
It was late and cold, and I was ready to go home. "On with the surgery," he boasted, "the future of veterinary surgery has arrived." He was quite a show-off.
I made the skin incision. There was very little bleeding. After this, I dissected through the tissue until I reached the hernial sack, and then I cut it. In these procedures, I usually let the kid feel around and become familiar with the anatomy and then show them how to suture up the skin.
This is exactly what I intended for this surgery. I was into the hernial sack. When this is cut, the intestines are exposed. I was about to get he-man to stick his fingers into the hernia, so he could get a feel for what had happened.
I suddenly noticed a clump of brown substance fall from the sky into the surgery field.
I hate it when something "non-sterile" enters into a surgical field. I looked up to see what in the world had come from the ceiling of the clinic. When my glance returned to the surgical field, another clump of stuff bounced off of the drape. I was puzzled.
I looked over at he-man to see if he knew where it was coming from. It was at this moment that I realized what had happened.
He-man didn't look too good. He was white as a sheet and looked like a boxer after he stood up from a nine-count. The brown stuff was not falling from the ceiling, but from his bottom lip.
Not only snuff, but a steady stream of slobber was rolling down his chin. Through all the delirium, he had not put his hands down. He was beginning to look dizzy. Still, hands were up. I yelled for someone to catch him just as he started down. Two people standing next to him softened his blow.
Now, he was laying on his side on the concrete with his hands still above his head and snuff all over the inside of his mouth and the floor around him. His hat was down around his eyes. We could not stop the surgery to tend to him. There is only a finite amount of time that the anesthesia will be in effect. Strangely enough, no one seemed to care that he-man was down.
They just stepped over him and finished watching the surgery.
In a minute, he began to stir. It must have been a strange feeling to wake up on the floor of veterinary clinic with your hands gloved and above your head, not knowing where you were or how you got there. The first noise he made was a gurgle. This was followed by some crazy words that could not be understood.
This was followed by the impending noise "I have too much snuff in my stomach and it is going to have to come out very soon."
His pig did well. The other kids there had a big time. I'm almost sure his career choice changed. But I know he was a very humble he-man on his trip home.
Dr. Brock owns the Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.