Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Was A Civil War Medic

In a former life, I must have been a Civil War field medic. Maybe not the Civil War, but depending where you and who you are most wars are civil in nature, are they not?

Sometime, somewhere, I was in the middle of it all.

How do I know? Let me tell you.

Now, this story may not be quite as interesting as my certainty that I was a prostitute in a former life, but that is a post for a future date.

I had an epiphany quite a few years ago. Ever read a novel describing a battle scene. Rivers red with blood? The scent of death in the air?

It is true. Every. Single. Word.

This epiphany for me came at the vet.

Yes, the vet.

I had a favorite black cat who was a fighter not a runner. Constant head wounds. He was one badass gangsta cat. After noticing that he had a particularly large abscess on his cheek, I took him to our favorite vet.

The abscess turned out not to be a rotten tooth but yet another head wound. VetMan tore the scab off (Yes, I did say tore--Not a typo) and began to flush the wound.

At that point I had never seen someone go weak in the knees. Not in real life. Scarlett swooning had nothing on VetMan. The stench that came from the wound had VetMan grasping the edges of the table for support. The sheer volume of infected liquid that flowed from the gaping hole in my cat's head and the fetid cloud that accompanied it make everything clear.

At that moment, I knew. This is what pestilence smells like.

Ask anyone who has worked in the ER. Ask anyone who has taken care of homebound patients. There is no scent like that of infection.

Every description you have ever read of an historical battle is true. When it is written the scent of death hung in the air, that ain't no shit.

I have had weird episodes of a similar nature follow me since that day. Currently, this long and winding diatribe brings us to last night and FrankenCat's stitches.

Because nothing in my life is ever easy or normal, FrankenCat's stitches had not dissolved. Because everything is still packed in boxes, I have not had access to my nail scissors (which would be the only shears small enough to get between his skin and the thread).

I have been keeping an eye on this cat's neck, but last night it was obvious those stitches had to come out.

Hubbie dug around in boxes until he found my nail scissors and pinned FrankenCat by the neck on the sofa as I carefully clipped and extracted every single thread.

Here is how I know it is for forever with Hubbie: After I took out the stitches, I smelled the cat's neck. Then I smelled the stitches. I pronounced no infection. Hubbie didn't even blink an eye.

Some of you may think that is gross, but seriously. What do you think people did before there were doctors? What do you think people do in countries with limited access to medical care?

They use their common sense, and they use their senses.

Over time I have come to realize that wounds and bodily fluids do not bother me one bit. I know that I this go-round I may be teacher and a mom, but not so long ago I was out there suturing, amputating, and tying tourniquets. I probably wouldn't cut it in an emergency situation, but you got a bandage that needs changing? I'm your woman. I may not have the bedside manner, but I'll get'er done.


Gypsy said...

Oh. I'm a little sick to my stomach now. Wooooozy.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

LOL Is this a polite way of letting me know I need to add a disclaimer? Soemthing along the lines of Don't Eat Vanilla Yoghurt While Reading This Post?

buddha_girl said...

I think we were soul sisters back then, woman!

I'm like you with the whole wound, blood, puss thing. I'm all about digging around, flushing that sucker, and moving on.

Unless it's broken or somehow nicked an artery, I take care of all student injuries rather than sending the kids to the nurse. *shrugging*

Momma said...

Perhaps you should be a nurse? or a doctor? There are some smells I just can't handle (puke is a big one). Infection does indeed smell bad. When my little Bodhi got a secondary infection after his neuter surgery, who took care of the drains? (raises hand) Who cleaned up the mess? (raises hand) And who cleans that tight little screw-tail that gets stuff all stuck under it? (raises hand again). I can do all of this stuff with kids and dogs, as long as it isn't puke. That falls to the hubster.

Peace, Medicine Woman - D

Military Mom said...

I am most definately not on the same page with this. I can clean up my kids, but the animals GROSS me out. That's the teenager's job.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@Buddha_Girl: I could never figure out why all my friend went to the ER all the time. We just took care of our shit at home. KWIM?

@Momma: Nah. Being a nurse does not interest me. Not a professional one, at any rate. The older women in my family have really impressed upon me the importance of dying at home, though. I think this may be from whence some of my attitude stems.

I cannot, however, handle vomit. There is just something about it that makes my gorge rise. I told Hubbie before we even HAD kids that he would be the sole person on Puke Patrol.

@MM: LOL How are the animal different? I am intrigued.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

You, my dear, are a badass mutha-freakin' I-don't-know-what.
Smelling cat ooze? Wow. I cannot stress how impressed I am with you at this very moment. As for that nutjob diablo cat of yours, oh dear.

Andrea said...

Hehehe... I'm glad that the stitches came out okay and that there was no infection. And it's hilarious that the vet swooned when you didn't. :)

And I can hardly wait to hear the prostitute recap. :D. I've been a slave, a handmaiden to the queen, the local midwife, and a priestess, but I don't remember being a prostitute. That might have been fun!

AND... I can't seem to email you, so you have to email me. a s u m e r s AT g m a i l DOT c o m :)

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

I'm cool with the whole bodily fluid thing. I'm with you on the past lives. Seriously? I think we've all been around the block a few times. I think our interests in this current life reflect our past lives. That being said, you and Ty-man may have known each other because he LOVES the American Civil War. IF that is the Civil War during which you served as a medic. :-)

Chris in Oxford said...

"What do you think people did before there were doctors?" Died? Stunk? Passed out from the smell of pestilence?

I'm impressed by your fortitude. I was pretty pleased with myself that I managed to make it through Zach's birth without passing out. And I had the easy end of that deal!