Friday, April 3, 2009

The "Other" Gender

Being a female veterinarian can make life interesting to say the very least. Although the profession has become largely composed of females over the past several years, there is still the male domination attempts that you see in any walk of life. Thought it might be fun to share a few "man-stories" without beating up on the poor souls too much since they are so sensitive;)

My mother, like most mothers, is a bit disappointed that I have not yet found Mr. Right and provided some grandchildren (she loves kids). I keep explaining to her that she should just accept the four footed hairy ones she has since that is all that is likely to occur and I have those in abundance. It's not that I am uninterested in men, it's just that I don't have time in my life right now for a significant relationship; I mean, c'mon, I can't even keep up with my close friends at the moment--I certainly do not want to add more stress to life right now.

The funniest thing about my profession, is that you get very comfortable discussing uncomfortable subjects in mixed company. You become so comfortable after a while, that you find yourself discussing things probably not fit for the public in very public places and you fail to realize how uncomfortable your audience is while you ramble on unconcernedly. Take castration for instance. Men become very uncomfortable with this subject. I've explained the concept and pushed the idea many times to a very red-faced male and not realized until later why he looked so uncomfortable. Or prostatic neoplasia. Or just urinary catheterization which makes most men present squirm and press their legs together in sympathetic pain and suffering. The words testicle, penis, vulva, etc. are definite trigger points but we can't avoid these in common veterinary conversation.

One of my favorite experiences in mixed animal private practice involves this. My boss was male and older and had a horrid habit of taking our one ambulatory truck out when I was on call. One evening in the early spring while we had very muddy ground with a little snow left over and pretty chilly temperatures, I received a call from a desperate farmer wanting help with a dystocia. Being an idiot for all of my life, I agreed to go even though I had no truck and very limited supplies. I got to the farm and spent hours laying in the mud and muck behind a cow that was downhill from me trying to deliver a calf that was likely dead and in one of the worst malpositions possible. Finally, with the help of the farmer and his calf jack, we got it out. I knelt behind the cow and thought, "I need to palpate again but I can't remember why." (It's terrible when you reach that point of exhaustion!!) I totally screwed up and did not palpate then realized why I should have after getting almost halfway home. I called the farmer and advised him to palpate for a twin to be sure and he was fine with this, refused my offer to return, and stated he would be in to pay the next morning (regular client with long standing relationship). I had, by the way warned him that loss of the cow was likely since the dead calf had been in it for quite some time and she was not in good shape and he did not want further treatment. The next day he called and spoke to my boss saying that he wasn't going to pay. When asked why, he stated that he had done all the work and a woman shouldn't have come out anyway since it wasn't woman's work.

The other great story from that job was when I went out to an older Amish farmer's farm to replace a vaginal prolapse on a cow. The look on his face when I requested sugar was absolutely priceless. Sugar, by the way, is used to shrink the prolapsed vagina by pulling edematous fluid from the tissue and make it easier to replace. The man and his family were very nice and polite but I think they were quite puzzled by the female veterinarian. I was probably the first to ever go to their farm.

I have many male friends and often enjoy their company better than my female friends but do find that they get much more uncomfortable about many subjects that arise in vetmed. Perhaps this is why I haven't found Mr. Right. Could also be related to the fact that I sometimes remind them that I know how to castrate many, many things and there is a wicked gleam in my eye as I say it. I dunno, maybe that's intimidating somehow...


Purple Stinky Onion said...

hello dr. may b. insane! This is one of my favorite posts of the year! You had me rolling in laughter at work last night....

Love the castration comments. I am too, very comfortable about talking about things(i.e. placentas, after birth, labor and delivery and what-nots) I do tend to reaLize the few people I am taking too, are starting to sway back and forth, looking like they may vomit at times, or they start trying to change the topic, but I can usually change the conversation back again to something that will totally gross them out....and sometimes I just say things for the fun of it...I love to gross out the in-laws.

By the way, I have 4 children if you want to borrow any of them for a few days........

Take Care, always enjoy reading!


Anonymous said...

I am the ag guy in non ag company. Whenever co-workers travel with me and meet old friends who are now customers and still in the bizz, dinner is often left unfinished by the coworker or they think we are crazy deviant or both.
Iamgine being non-ag at the tabel with the following converstaions:
bloodlines: ole so and so daughters could be a little flighty but he sure set the teats under em.

Remember the proplapse from hell. took 15 lbs of sugar adn you were blood from head to toe.

Don't forget the fetal monster. She pushed right after doc grabbed the uterus and you went down on your kness and flipped the innards onto your back when you had more than a handful to keep em out of the mud.
She lived and set 305 day record the next year.