Help from a veterinary client I'll never forget

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Help from a veterinary client I'll never forget

A farm call took an unusual turn after I ended up flat on my back in a hog barn.
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Apr 30, 2014

I was lying on my back on the concrete, focusing on the flies crawling on me in an attempt to take my mind off the pain. I had wrenched my lower back three days prior to this moment trying to escape from a mad bull. It was the immobilizing kind of backache, one that makes motion of the torso in any direction agonizing.


ILLUSTRATION BY MATT COLLINS
My city-girl sister was with me. She was visiting from Dallas, and I'd asked her to come with me on this little trip in mid-July for an emergency pig delivery. It was hot. Oh my, it was hot. The thermometer in the pickup read 110 as we pulled into the hog farm.

The people who owned the farm were Swedish. And they were huge. The four men who greeted us at the fly-covered door leading to the farrowing house were all over 6-foot-5 by my estimate, with the tallest closer to 6-foot-10. Not only were they tall, they were big-boned and beefy. They all spoke at once as my sister and I entered the building. I had trouble deciphering their speech but got the gist as they pointed to a down-eared sow with a sad look on her face.

It sounded like this sow had been struggling to deliver her babies since midnight. The giant Swedes had been trying to get their enormous arms into her birth canal to relieve the blockage with no luck. The sow was looking at me intently—probably to determine if my forearms were as huge as theirs. When she saw that they weren't, I believe she smiled at me.

I got the equipment assembled and squatted down behind the sow to begin the tedious process of dislodging a stuck piglet. There was a bar running horizontally across the back of the farrowing crate that was in just the wrong spot. It was perfectly level with her birth canal as she stood there. I was either gonna have to go under it and get a bad angle at her cervix or go over it and run the risk of her lying down and torquing my arm with her 400-lb frame.

I could feel the stuck baby and was just about to get a grip on it when the ole girl flopped down, taking my arm, shoulder and sensitive back with her. Now we're back to where the story started.

I glanced at my sister. She was perched on a chair looking totally grossed out.

One of the giant men came over to see if I was OK. My sister informed him that I had hurt my back and was probably going to have to lie there for a while. One of the giant men smiled and told his brother to go get Inga. Inga? Who was Inga? The giant man informed me that his wife was a massage therapist and would make my back better in just a few minutes.

When Inga arrived, I knew I was in trouble. She was nearly as big as the men, with white-blond hair and eyes as clear and blue as ice. She told me to get up, move to another pad of concrete and lie on my stomach. She told me to take off my shirt and unbutton my britches. I was about to argue, but she cut me off with a stern look and pointed at the pad.

When my sister heard the words "unbutton your britches," she stopped swatting flies and looked at me. The look on her face was the same one she used to get when I was in trouble and about to get a spanking from our dad. I tried again to argue–to no avail.

Here's the picture: I'm lying half-naked on a slab of fly-laden concrete with four giant men and my sister watching as a giant Swedish woman named Inga worked me over with hands so strong I thought she might rip parts of my anatomy off. She twisted and stretched me like I was made out of rubber and then kneaded and pounded on me until all the breath in my lungs was gone. She would stop occasionally and ask if I felt better. No matter what I answered, she just went right back to torquing me.

About 10 minutes into the session I heard one of the men say in a thick Swedish accent, "I think shee iz a gonna do it." My mind went into overdrive. What was it? This lady had already done just about every imaginable move on me and I was ready to be finished. My sister heard it too and came a few steps closer.

Inga informed me that my back was out of alignment and that she was going to have to put it back in place. Before I had a chance to tell her I was all better and didn't need any more rubbing, she slipped her right hand down the back of my pants and got my left bun in her hand. I looked over at my sister. She was smiling—the kind of smile that said, "I'm gonna be talking about this moment for the rest of our lives, Bo."

Inga grabbed my right ankle in her other hand and began bending it backwards while she squeezed and pushed mercilessly on my poor butt cheek. I felt things shift all over. She performed this maneuver three times with the force of an elephant. She then stood up and told the men I was better now and could deliver the pigs. She told my sister and me that it was nice to meet us, then she left the barn to go back to lifting weights or whatever it was we had taken her from.

I rolled over and sat up. Much to my surprise, I was better. I delivered the pigs and my back was as happy as it had been in days. The entire drive home my sister laughed. She would stop giggling just long enough to give me a play-by-play of the look on my face when that lady grabbed my bun.

Dr. Bo Brock owns Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.