Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Last Friday was particularly hectic, the day beginning with a phone call from one technician saying she would be late, my partner informing me as he was leaving for the morning that the other technician working that day would not be in at all because of a sick child, our other vet was on vacation, and that I had an appointment on a farm at 8:30 ... but I couldn't leave the clinic until someone else showed up to hold the fort down. Oh, and there's a lady waiting by the door with a rabbit under her arm and the phone is ringing off the hook.
So I saw the rabbit, who needed her nails trimmed and an uncomfortable matt clipped from her backside, started answering phones and writing down farm calls for sick animals in between scheduled appointments with a little anxiety since the list was getting long with some rather urgent matters, and I was the only vet doing farm calls. Two cows with twisted stomachs, a horse with a bad cut, a bloated bull, three herd checks, and a group of calves to vaccinate. If I could somehow get it all done at a reasonable time, my wife and I were going to have a date night, since I wasn't on call and my mom was staying with us babysitting. After stitching up the cut horse, I looked at the clock and it was 4:30 ... the only problem was that I had one more call to do, and I wouldn't get there and get done until after 6 at least. I called the better half and told her the situation, and that the farm was half way to St. Cloud, so I might as well pick her up and she could wait in the truck at the next call and we would go straight to a restaurant. Everything went about as I had anticipated, and away we went, about to enjoy dinner at a reasonable time.
One variable I had not spent enough time considering, however, was the amount of blood, manure, mud, and stench one accumulates on themselves when they are on 10 farms in 10 hours on a rainy day. In fact, I was feeling rather smug, thinking to myself: "you actually pulled it off, getting all those calls done in time for a nice dinner - not too shabby." My bubble burst when my wife looked over and said: "You brought a change of clothes, didn't you?"
Some horrified looks greeted me as I walked into Old Navy covered in filth, quickly selecting a pair of pants and a shirt, and walking straight to the changing room. I asked the attendant if it would be a problem if I just left the new clothes on and carried out the old ones ... they weren't sure, so I did it. As I tore tags off the clothes I was wearing for the cashier to scan, she assured me that she never had anyone do that before, but she thought it seemed reasonable under the circumstances. We were sitting in the restaurant at 6:45 p.m. ... not too shabby after all.
The best comment I ever got about dirty coveralls, though, was when I showed up late to a softball game, and a teammate asked what I got all over myself, and I looked down to see and said: "Blood, manure, and penicillin." To which he replied: "Sounds like a good Friday night!"