Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Even Doctor Herriott

(this is a post-script to yesterday’s “Monday”… warning: it’s not funny, cheery or in the least…HAPPY)

I have read all James Herriott’s books: the entire “all creatures great and small” series, I’ve watched all the TV shows repeatedly. If you are unfamiliar with him, he was a Scottish vet in rural England after WWII. I learned a lot about veterinary practice and diagnosis from reading his books. His books and the show detailed both the awesome successes and the dismal failures. I’ve always admired his pluck and stamina and the way that he didn’t let the bad times get him down.

We just had one of those bad times. The ewe that we were concerned about needed some intervention. We decided to go in after the babies. It was our only option. I even checked with a vet indirectly. A works for a clinic, and checked with one of the vets there. He wasn’t too encouraging. I wasn’t too optimistic either. The last time we had a similar trouble, it cost us $275.00 for the vet, and I still had two dead lambs for which I had to find a mode of disposal. About a week later, the ewe died as well. That was one of those experiences I hoped to never repeat.

Tom and I worked incredibly hard to birth out these lambs. I can honestly say I never put as much physical effort in to anything. The first baby died as I pulled it from the mother. I don’t know if I broke its neck or what happened. It was an incredibly difficult delivery.

About this time, the ewe began to seriously labor. With my arm still inside, it was quite painful. It became obvious that the second baby was mis-presented. His head was turned backward, and it was very hard to get him positioned correctly. But, I did it. He was born alive, but barely. We rubbed and tubed and warmed him up. He made it to the house where he later succumbed.

Ewe is not looking so good either. She seems incredibly traumatized and weak. She is lethargic and uninterested in food. I can’t say that I blame her. If she survives, we will have to take her to the stockyard. That would keep it from being a total loss, but barely.

So, there you have it. I lost the battle with death. I truly hate when that happens. For the next couple of days, I will end up going over the situation repeatedly in hopes of understanding. Tom thinks I “beat myself up” too much with my “woulda, coulda, shoulda" wonderings. I wonder if I had only, what if …. My reason for wondering and wanting to know why is simple. I don’t want to repeat the situation. If I can figure out WHY…then maybe, just maybe I can keep it from happening again.

Today is another day. Hopefully a better day. There are more lambs coming. My hope and prayer is that these will be successful. The chicks we got yesterday look healthy. When I went to feed Jimmy Dean-the bottle lamb, he was standing on his back feet, pawing at the side of the pen, looking over the top at me. Not bad for a lamb that started his life with a severely broken leg!

Even Dr. Herriott had his failures and unexplained happenings. You learn from it, if you can, and go on. Despite the failures and disappointments....

Hope springs eternal.

That’s what keeps me…us…farming.

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