Thursday, June 15, 2006

You are just lucky that I forgot my camera on Tuesday morning. That’s the morning that I spent in a hotel room watching our cat get spayed. I did, however, remember the camera later that day, for Valentine’s birthday party. So, instead of getting treated to a picture of a cat’s uterus, you get a nice picture of a birthday cake. I do spoil you all so!
But first, the fire. Some of you have expressed concern and want details, details, details! The thing is, it was a very tiny fire, hardly worthy of the name. There we were, watching “Fawlty Towers” when there was a rather loud bang and flames shot out of the top of the extension cord. They flared up about 8 inches or so.
“Back off everybody!” I said forcefully, while thinking to myself: “Oh hell! I forgot to buy a fire extinguisher.”
The kids, of course, rushed right over like it was a campfire and they had some important business with some marshmallows. Fortunately, the flames died down on their own and nothing flammable was nearby. I threw out the charred cord and got the surge protector tested. It had done the job and protected the TV and dvd player, at least. I also had an instructive talk with the kids about what we do when Mom says things like: “Fire! Run away!” or “Axe Murderer! Hide!”
Speaking of blade-wielding persons, that brings me to the vet. Dr. Julie. She was very kind, clever and helpful, though. Not at all like an axe murderer, except for the sharp-implements.
She had come up from Accra, Ghana just for a few days, at the request of some expats in Ouaga. Many of us are fond pet-owners, but the veterinary care here leaves to desired. They are good with chickens and sheep, but they just don’t get many demands to spay a cat or cure an ailing dog. Farm animals are important to the Burkinabé, but they don’t “do” pets. Dogs and cats are for keeping vermin down, and are not treasured family members.
So, Dr. Julie was recruited from her practice in Ghana to come up for a few days and work for us. At the head of the effort to bring her was Paulina, the owner of a small, charming hotel here, the Hotel Ricardo. So, Dr Julie was installed at the Ricardo and went to work. I showed up on Sunday for my cat’s appointment. With Cleo draped on my shoulder, I asked the receptionist where the vet was. I was led upstairs. To a hotel room. I though maybe they had found a space for her in some outbulding. But no-open the door and there was an attractively decorated room with a double bed, a TV, a small operating table and about 7 people, most of them clutching an animal. This was the operating room.
Dr. Julie picked up Cleo, who purred. It was determined that Cleo’s operation would have to wait, as the kittens had not been weaned long enough and there was still too much tissue in the way. When I brought Cleo back a few days later, she was the only patient. There was lots more room and Dr. Julie said I was welcome to watch the procedure. If I felt faint at the “oozy” bits, I could just have a seat on the bed. Cleo got her anaesthesia and Dr. Julie went to work. It was extremely interesting and I didn’t feel the tiniest bit queasy. Maybe I missed a great career as a surgeon! The mammary tissue looked a lot like raw chicken breast as she cut through it, except it oozed milk. Very wierd. The internal organs seemed strangely mobile. I had no idea you could squish around like that inside a living being, shoving bits out of the way and dragging others right out of the body. The problem is, apparently, that they dry out, so it’s best to leave them inside, or at least covered. A good policy in general, in my opinion.
Finally, she got the uterus pulled out. It was really quite small, a Y-shaped scrap of fiber. She carefully clamped, sewed and then clipped. The little scrap of a uterus was laid in a Tupperware lid and the hard part was done. Dr. Julie neatly sewed Cleo up and that was it.
I bet you are all very sorry that I forgot my camera.
Valentine also had her 13th birthday party that day at the Rec Center. It wasn’t exactly less interesting than seeing a cat get spayed, but it was less remarkable. They swam, ate cake and had fun. Click on the right to see more pictures at Photobucket !

No comments: