Yesterday marked eleven months since Earl’s death. Usually Frank writes about this. Right now, he’s consoling Cowboy Joe, who had his anal sacs expressed by me after I saw him scooting on the new carpet. Boy, were they full. There is no worse smell in veterinary medicine.
Earl told me one of the grossest stories I have heard about veterinary mishaps. It seems that when his father was in practice right after graduation in 1952, he was expressing a dog’s anals. While talking to the client, the stuff exploded out the dog’s butt and right into Wild Bill’s mouth. Eeew!
The sickest thing I saw when Earl was on clinics and I was a visitor was his classmate Jim tubing a horse with colic. He placed a stomach tube in the horse. When you do this, you blow on the tube and also sniff for gastric contents. The stomach contents of the very ill horse gushed up the tube and into Jim’s mouth. Nasty!
When I was a senior, we were trying to get a urine sample from a cow. She wouldn’t cooperate. To help her along, one ‘feathers’ the escutcheon-translate tickle her vulva. Urine gushed out as we realized no one had a container to catch the sample. The surgery resident caught it in her hands. Then it was collected into the proper receptacle. After this was over, the resident unconsciously put her hair behind her ears using her very unwashed hands. Ick!
Why am I talking about this when the topic was Earl passing away close to a year ago? These are the things we remember. What was funny, what was not, the little things we shared in common. Everyday ordinary things that brought us together. As I forge my new life in Texas, I think of these things. I walk the lovely park nearby and think of how Earl would have loved the lake with the cypress trees in the water. I reread the poem, “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep.” I cry, I laugh, I remember. There is no going around grief, you have to go straight through it. Sounds trite, but is very true. I think a lot about our Marcie, one of the horses that brought us together, and miss her and thank her for helping me rehabilitate my leg. She really helped build my confidence by her steady nature. She was peacefully released five years ago come July. She was the horse of my life. Earl was the love of my life.
These are the things we remember.