Sunday, May 27, 2018

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy (revisited)

Modern medicine and the cowboy

By Julie Carter

I told you no one would believe it, many didn't and wrote to tell me about it.

In response to my story about the blind yearling calf loading up in the trailer on his own, one doubter wrote that he suspected the influence of Crown Royal or at the very minimum, an anesthesia overdose not-yet-worn-off the cowboy sporting the $27,000 shoulder surgery.

He called that the second lie. "Greg wouldn't spend $27,000 on shoulder surgery," he said. "He won't spend that on a truck. If you don't believe me, ask him about "old red."

I responded by explaining to him that I trusted his assessment of his close friends but that the Crown Royal was very likely only available for medicinal purposes for those with refined taste preferring it over pain meds.

I also explained to this occasional ranch visitor that cowboys are sometimes the biggest babies-too tough to take the doc's advice or medication but world class at moaning and groaning for the 90-mile-drive back to the ranch. It's not unusual for the Mrs. to grab the pain pill bottle saying "Give me those blasted pills! One of us needs to feel better."

As for the $27,000 shoulder, most cowboys will sell their soul to get a body part fixed so they can go back out and do whatever it was they did to hurt it in the first place.

Another cowboy, on the wise-side of his fifth decade, had a stout three-year old colt buck him off resulting in an emergency room visit. This was followed by time spent with triage nurses, doctors, radiology technicians, family practice physicians, orthopedic specialists and bona fide physical therapist.

His wife carried a dictionary around to translate their diagnosis, prognosis, treatment protocols, medication and device advice. This was followed by a barrage of bills in the mail box that took a fair amount of accounting expertise to decipher.

The real problem at hand was getting to the cure. His actual diagnosis was Type 2 acromioclavicular separation, as in "hurt shoulder." That made logical sense as that is where he landed. If he had just had the foresight to find a soft spot to land all this could have, in theory, been avoided.

Each of the specialists, with a serious direct eye-to-eye gaze, told him to wear the immobilization device. We call that a splint. They advised he not lift anything including his arm and it would be six weeks before he move anything except his lips to moan.

Next came the electric stimulation to the muscles to facilitate healing and a very dedicated physical therapist determined to bring healing no matter the pain level. In a moment's time the cowboy was promoted from complete immobility to lifting weights over his head.

A series of repetitive moves with pulleys, weights and other devices ensued, moving the cowboy into a realm of exercises he couldn't have done before the accident, let alone while on injured reserve.

The cowboy declared there was nothing about roping that was as physically hard as what the therapist had him doing. So he went home from therapy, saddled his good horse and roped a pen of steers just because he could.

"Hee Haw's" multi-talented Archie Campbell played many rolls on the 60s-70s variety program, one of which was the leering doctor giving sage advice to his patients. "If it hurts when you do that, don't do that."

The jist of all the medical advice given to the cowboy is exactly what Dr. Archie was saying. If it hurts, don't do it. If the cowboy had just remembered Hee Haw, he could have saved a lot of money.

© Julie Carter 2006


Anonymous said...

I once had a puncture wound between my toes & went to the doctor to get it flushed put & a tetanus shot.

After anesthetizing the outside of my toes, the Doc told she's unable to inject the needle inside the hole & I wouldn't be able to
stand the flushing without it being anesthetized.

Seeing how vets have tackled similar problems at the ranch, I asked her "That's lidocaine in your syringe, isn't it?"

"Yes it is..." she teplied.

"Well, then ...why don't you just squirt it in the hole, and let it soak in topically to anesthetize the tissue?" I suggested.

"Oh that's a great idea !!" She exclaimed as if she was enlightened to a "new medical breakthrough".

Lidocaine numbed the puncture wound quickly & the flushing was pain free.

I explained to her that's an old trick I see vets use on livestock, and she said they're starting to use more veterinary cereal.

And after giving her a free short course in medical science ... I get stuck with a $105 doctor bill.

Anonymous said...

In my previous comment ...Gmail did it to me again ....interjected the word "cereal" when I typed in "vetrap".

Anonymous said...

Then there's the old standby ...kerosene.

Twice had cuts that weren't stitchable and Neosporin was making it worse so, like when the horses have an interjected wound, the kerosene healed it quickly with quick skin regrowth.

Just leave open ...Don't bandage.