Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Keeper of the Swamp

This is a story from Brooksville, which is where I first worked as a vet.  If you know me well you may have already hear this story but I thought it was a good one to remember.

My tech, Michele, and I were visiting a farm to treat a horse with Strangles.  The owners, a husband and wife, were lovely people.  They were what most people to consider country folk.  Their home backed up to about 150 acres of swampland.  When we were done treating the horse and I was sitting by my truck typing up the bill we started hearing the sound of gators grunting. The husband starting talking about all the different animals in the swamp.  Apparently a snake was found in the swamp that had the longest body length to date on record for its particular breed.  I was only half listening to him as I was trying to finish the bill.

He said that someone from National Geographic called and wanted to come out and take pictures of the snake.  "I told him that he could come take all pictures he wanted as long as there were no pictures of the two-legged kind!" the husband said.  "What?" was the response of the photographer and of myself.  I was no longer able to follow the story so I paused in the bill writing and gave the husband my full attention.  "I told him that was the end of that conversation!" stated the husband with conviction. I looked at him blankly not sure what to say.

"The Keeper of the Swamp lives out there and I don't want no one disturbing him." he offered as an explanation.  I am still looking at him blankly.  "You probably think we are crazy but it is true.  The Keeper of the Swamp lives here." his wife chimes in.  "He keeps the children safe.  They can all play out back (by the swamp) and nothing ever happens to them.  I don't want anyone getting pictures of him and then ruining his life.  Everyone around here has seen him and know he watches over us." the husband continues.  Then the wife says, "The first time saw him I was taking his mama (pointing to her husband) to the doctor.  Our car and broken down and we were walking down a country road.  The Keeper of the Swamp walked out across the road ahead of us and stopped and looked at us and then just kept going.  All I could think was I hope she (her mother-in-law) doesn't see him because I didn't want her to faint.  I could not of carried her.  She is a big woman!"

I am disappointed to say that I never witnessed the Keeper of the Swamp but if you are ever walking down a country road in Brooksville near a swamp and come across an unusual looking creature it might just be the Keeper of the Swamp.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Two goats, Two trucks, and 2 am

I am a large animal vet and this Monday I received a call from a sweet elderly lady who was distressed about her two goats whom had been attacked by a dog.  She lived an hour away, but I was covering emergency on-call for her normal vet.  After arriving, I inspected both goats and although they had some wounds they were stable and relatively unscathed for what they had gone through.  I finished working and started to leave.  It was dark by this time and I drove off the normal path out of the pasture.  Suddenly, I realize my tires are starting to spin and I am no longer making forward progress.  It is at this moment that I realize that my truck does not have 4-wheel drive.  My last vet truck had 4-wheel drive and I hadn't thought about wether this truck had it until I needed it.  The client's neighbors were there and the tried to pull me out with their truck, but it did not have 4-wheel drive either and was not powerful enough.  AAA was called, the neighbors went home, and I went inside with the client to wait for the tow truck.  The lady was nice and fed me ice cream and turned on a Sandra Bullock movie.  She keep saying how much she liked Sandra Bullock.
The tow truck got there in pretty good time.  The man who stepped out of the truck looked he was related to Mario or Luigi from Nintendo.  He quickly told us that he probably would not drive his truck back to where my truck was because he did not want it to also get stuck.  He and I walked back through her backyard to the pasture where the goats were.  On one side of the gate (just inside the fence) was a septic tank, and on the other side of the gate was a tortoise hole.  He 'umm'd and 'haw'd, and when we made it back to the house he said that unless the lady signed a damage release form he was not driving back there.  He said he was quite certain that his truck would collapse into the septic tank and that it had just happened to him the week before.  The lady looked at me and asked if she should sign it.  I did not want to tell her to sign it and then have the tow truck cave in her septic tank.  The towing man asked if we knew anyone with a 4-wheel drive that lived around here.  I did not know anyone who lived here and the lady could not think of anyone wlth a 4-wheel drive.  The man left saying he was going to stop at the gas station and see if anyone was there who could/would help us.  The gas station was about 5-10 minutes away so we said okay and decided that he would call us either way.  We went back to watching the Sandra Bullock movie and waiting.  15-20 minutes went by and the man had not called so I called him.  He said that he had not had any luck finding anyone, which didn't suprise me, although I was not sure he even tried.  Either way, there would be no help for us that night.  The lady said that she would drive me home, and since my husband, Ericson, had just put Addison to sleep, I decided to take her up on her offer.
When we got in her car she fiddled around and announced that she was not sure when she last drove at night and that she was trying to figure out how to turn on the headlights.  Wondering weither it was worth trying to make it home that night, and trying not to look too concerned, I started to lean over and help her when she found them and switched them on.  On the way home she was asking me if I thought the gas stations would still be open for her to buy a coffee so she didn't fall asleep on the way home.  I was increasingly feeling worried about letting her drive by herself.  She also discovered that she had left her cell phone at home.  Since I have both a work and a personal phone, I left my personal cell phone with her in case anything happened and she needed help.  We got to talk about life in general, and besides worrying for her, I enjoyed the ride home.
The next day my boss informed me that another local vet lives out near this lady and that his vet truck had 4-wheel drive.  This vet, Dr. T.R. Baxter, called me soon after that and volunteered to help pull out my truck.  He had an appointment in Gainesville and he picked me up afterward.  I had met Dr. Baxter at our meeting to schedule the shared on-call, but I didn't really know him.  He turned out to be a nice guy and had a heart for missions.  Once a year, until this year, he had been going down to Nicaragua and helping several villages with their animals.  He and some others had trained some local people to be vet technicians and they were helping the people learn how to use local resources to treat their animals.  This is something that I would love to do someday.  In the last year or two he had introduced a vet to the area that moved down there with his familly and planned to stay as a long-term missionary.
When we got to the lady's house Dr. Baxter started working on pulling my truck out.  He had my truck half way out of the sand when he had to reposition his truck because of a fence.  Once he reattched our trucks together and he started pulling again, his 4-wheel drive stopped working .  As quick as lightning, his truck was also stuck.  Now I was feeling really bad!  Dr. Baxter said not to worry and that he had called his nephew who was coming to pull us both out.  As I was standing around looking at two Ford trucks stuck in sand, I thought this would be a good commerical for a Chevy truck to come and save the day.  As it happend, the nephew also had a Ford which pulled both of our trucks out quickly enough.
This is how I was responsible for two trucks getting stuck and for an elderly lady staying up later than she had in awhile.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wipe Solution Recipe

4 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup baby bath soap
a few drops of tea tree oil

Cloth Diapers

I just recently started using cloth diapers about 3 months ago.  My husband and I looked at them online before we had our daughter Addison.  We didn't realize all the different kinds that there were!  We were overwhelmed.  Luckily, a friend of ours had a child before us and started to use cloth diapers.  She told us about a local woman who had a cloth diaper website (www.sunshinediapers.com).  Since she is local she will set up a meeting to explain everything to you and the best part she will rent you a variety pack of diapers so that you can try them all out and pick which ones work best for you (she rents out variety packs to non-local people also).  This was such a great option.  We ended up liking ones that were different from everyone else we know that uses cloth diapers.  We now use Flip cloth diapers.  We ended up liking the price range and the non-organic inserts because the wick the moisture away from your baby's bum so it feels dry even after they have urinated.
We still use disposable on trips and we give nannies/babysitters the option of both.  However, we have found that we really like using non-disposable diapers.  It has saved us a lot of money and we feel better about not throwing diapers out every time we change them.  Figuring out a system for the poopy diapers has been a little bit of a challenge.  My husband bought a spray hose from the hardware store that is meant to go on your shower.  I have had some difficulty attaching it to the toilet (which has to be done each time you use it because it cuts off the supply to the toilet).  My arms are much shorter than my 6'3" husband's and the water supply (which you must push against) has high pressure.  However, usually I prevail in the end, although the wall behind the toilet is often sprayed in the process, and the high pressure water serves me well when I am using it to blast solids off the diaper. We will have to see if we stick with this system or not.  For now it is working.
Even though we had made the switch to cloth diapers I was still using disposable wipes.  I just crossed over to cloth wipes about a week ago.  I thing that I really like about the cloth wipes is the solution I am using with them.  It has tea tree oil in it and it has helped so much with the smell of diaper laundry bucket.  We keep the solution in a wipes warmer that we already had so the solution is nice and warm every time.  When I run out of tea tree oil I might try one with lavender oil.
I will post the wipe solution recipe so if anyone is interested you can have it.  Also it will help me keep track of it.