The All-Nighter


Third in a series
Would dedication be enough?
I knew when double checking my repairs of Ruby’s internal injuries that they were secure but it was her high risk of post operative infection that scared the daylights out of me. We had already administered IV antibiotics and, on our way out, irrigated her deep Doberman chest and abdomen with copious quantities of warm saline.

My conversation with Charley, Ruby’s committed person, had been brief. As Amos and I carefully carried our trauma patient from her car I quickly explained that the outcome was uncertain. We got the go-ahead to do whatever was necessary. That level of commitment provided an extra jolt of motivation. We had to get this dog out alive.

Constant updates on Ruby’s vital signs during surgery were reassuring, helping to keep my blood pressure in check. As soon as the last skin staple was placed I inserted a chest tube and evacuated the free air. We connected a Heimlich chest valve to safely drain fluid and more free air. And then we watched like a hawk. It was a long night. Amos and I stayed by Ruby’s side every minute.

At 8 AM the big girl wobbled to her feet and acted like a dog who badly needed to urinate. With a little support she staggered outside. There was actually a little spring in her step on her way back in.

Amos was an essential part of my staff for many of my early years in practice. He was a shy fellow but nothing was too hard for him. Amos wasn’t his real name. When a German shepherd puppy appeared in his life he affectionately named her Jennifer. On my advice he called to register her for obedience classes. When asked his name, he responded, “My name is Bob Schwartz.” When he arrived for class the instructor greeted him happily with, “Well, you must be the man with 3 names – Amos Bob Schwartz.” He was always Amos after that.

Next week: Modern medicine was Ruby’s first responder; Mother Nature was on duty for the rest.
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Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at Post pet behavioral or physical questions on or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.