Of This and That

Quite a lot has happened to me since the last post on Thanksgiving…

I went to the Springfield dog show on the holiday weekend hoping to see some of the up and coming champion looks and colors among the Goldens. Got my times wrong and missed them all. Enjoyed walking around though for a few hours, and seeing the thousands of dogs among hundreds of breeds, all being fussed over with owners and handlers nervously pinning their hopes on the judging in the rings. I naively thought I could post some photos, but proper etiquette makes you refrain from making flashes that could startle a dog or owner. So I furtively took two from a distance. If you haven’t been to a dog show it is quite the event to watch the animals and people.

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With our ultrasound in the office showing Emma definitely carrying some pups, I set to work to convert our puppy center back to it’s original purpose. About a year ago I got bit by the home wine making bug, and started brewing grapes for fun and for advertising for our dog business. As usual with me things got a little out of hand. The whelping box made a great place to store all the tools of the trade. And my small wine hobby has blossomed into now 23 kinds of wine made from grape juice all over the world.


The whelping box is not pretty, but makes a safe place for the pups to begin their new life.

Over the weekend, I received my pictures in the mail from the Dominican Republic mission. The images brought back raw emotions tinged with regrets and what ifs. The 31 member surgical team started the week confident in our skills and abilities. We started by doing two emergency cesareans with healthy babies the result in moms who had little prenatal care and were very ill. The photos we took of the first baby and her mom was like any other delivery outcome here in the states. On rounds that afternoon and evening everything seemed fine…

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The shock and dismay when we arrived the next morning to find the mother had died overnight was just indescribable. If there was ever one commandment in this unpredictable business of obstetrics, you just don’t lose moms, ever. It took several days for the medical group to come to terms with the loss of someone so young and facing the start of a beautiful life with her baby, to be gone without the benefit of any intervention or aid. This is probably the only picture that baby boy will have of his mother, and we have no way of getting it to him. Now the photos seem to mock the pride we felt in coming from America where we have the best of everything. Little did we know but soon learned, without continued postop care, lab work, and medications, life is precarious. A stroke or embolism claimed her life without warning.

Finally, I just returned home from St. Francis Hospital from my own medical emergency. A stubborn bronchitis caught on the Dominican trip has made my life miserable. It all took a turn for the worse yesterday in the delivery room when I suddenly developed severe vertigo and fell and hit my head. Without warning I was the center of a medical emergency and thought I was having a stroke or seizure. Now here just 36 hours later, I sit at my home computer. With a million dollar workup behind me of CAT scans, MRI’s, Ultrasound, EEG, EKG, and numerous lab tests, I am feeling better on a battery of medication. And thankful that unlike in the Dominican when you come upon a door marked Lab, or XRay or OR, you open it and find incredibly trained and gifted people using amazing technology. In the Dominican, like in most third world countries, there is no magic behind the door, just empty space and empty tables. I remain most thankful and humbled.