There is something special in that Poo!
Well, we are back into the swing of things here at school. Each
day we move further away from free time, pool days, and summer
tans; to staying up late, hitting the books, sitting for hours, and
stressing about tests. It has been rather surprising how quickly
it's come and how quickly this year is going. We are already
halfway through midterms and two months away from finals. Due to
increased caffeine consumption and a lack of sleep, I've been in a
vet school daze. My experience this weekend helped shake me from my
stupor and remind me why I chose this struggle - why I wanted to be
in veterinary medicine.
All of my prior veterinary work experience has been in small
animal medicine. I love small animal practice, but I knew when I
got into veterinary school that I wanted to acquire experience in
large and food animal medicine. So this year I am signed up for
Bovine Practitioners club (BP). BP holds palpation exams once a
month, and I was excited when I signed up. I was ready to palpate
my first cow!
It didn't hit me until Saturday morning. I had volunteered to
wake up at 6:00 a.m. to put my arm in a cow's rectum. As my alarm
went off, it was too late to turn back. I pulled myself from bed,
threw on my coveralls and ran out the door; if I hurried I could
grab myself the breakfast of champions, a McDonald's coffee.
I made it to McDonald's, ordered the usual, and headed to campus.
As the coffee set in I was bright-eyed and excited. We all signed
in and headed out; we piled into vehicles and headed to the
Riverside Campus. I was riding with Ben, a BP officer and a close
friend from class, and a first year named Ross. It was a single cab
truck and I was smack dab in the middle. I looked to my left Ben
was wearing worn jeans, leather working boots and a scrub top. To
my right, Ross was wearing leather working boots, cinch jeans and a
button down. Then I looked to myself, I was in leopard print rain
boots and oversized dickey coveralls. I thought, "Man, I need some
We arrived at the gate and you could see the cows in the
distance. That's when it hit me, I thought to myself, "Wait a
minute, cows poop and pee whenever, wherever in large amounts and
I'm about to stick my arm where?" Then, the question ran out of my
mouth, "Hey guys, will they poo on me?" Both of the guys chuckled
and answered, "They might." Ross pulls his hat from his head and
points out several brown splotches on the bill of his cap, "That's
what this is," he said. So I responded accordingly, "Well,
great. That means I'm definitely going to pick the one that
The first cow I palpated was well behaved, I was guided to feel
for her cervix which is about wrist deep then, as I reached further
I felt the placentomes that were small half-dollar sized circles,
and just beyond that her fetus. She was approximately five months
into gestation. I was so excited! That's when it happened, she
started pooing on me! So without missing a beat, I stated "It's got
the poo on me." (Joe Dirt).
At that point I was more excited visualizing in my head what I
felt, then to care about the poop running along my side like the
city slicker question I asked in the truck. Palpating is not easy
and it's definitely not for the squeamish. I was apprehensive, at
first, to go out there and get so dirty, but, after feeling her
calf, you forget about how dirty it is. We were caring for a cow
and her young. I gained a new appreciation for the individuals and
veterinarians that work with bovine.
This Saturday was a reminder that we are here to be a part of it
all. We are all guilty of adjusting to school and getting
tunnel vision. We see an end and work diligently to get there, but
we forget to step out for moment and experience something new. This
profession is so dynamic; you never know what you will be called to
do one day.