When Charles was newly graduated from University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine we moved from Athens to Cairo, Georgia where he began working for Dr. Eugene Maddox at the Cairo Animal Hospital. Books and lectures, labs and internships do not prepare you entirely for work on the field. He had to learn a lot day by day. As his wife with experience only in journalism, library work, and a secretarial job, I had everything to learn. Some of the lessons were gory, such as the one about a prolapsed uterus. If you’re revolted by gore you might want to skip this reading.
Sometimes when a cow delivers her calf her whole uterus then comes out and it takes a lot of skill and physical stamina to force it back in place. I had heard Charles talk about such a case but seeing one in person was a whole new experience.
The cow patient was down broadside when we arrived. To my horror, Charles got right down with her, wrestling with a huge mass of bloody tissue. The thing was covered with dry caked manure, straw and mud. This picture had never entered my mind as entertainment for a Sunday afternoon. Somehow that bulging balloon the size of a barrel was supposed to fit back inside the poor cow who was bawling and moaning by spells and pulling at the ropes that secured her. After my first wave of nausea (I was heavily pregnant myself!), I felt an overwhelming gratitude for having been born into the human race.
Suddenly Charles was giving me instructions. He said to go home quickly and return with five pounds of sugar. I thought he’d gone crazy in the heat and mud and blood. Sugar? He repeated himself, his voice going sharp with urgency.
Even as I hefted five pounds of sugar out of a cabinet (too bad about the sweet tea tomorrow!) I was still wondering if I’d heard Charles right. What else sounded like sugar?
When I arrived back at the scene, Charles was sitting beside his patient talking jovially to his client just as if there were nothing wrong. I think they were talking about how dangerous it might be to tangle with an alligator when fishing in the Ochlocknee River. When he saw me coming he motioned me to drive right up close and, I thought, received the bag of sugar quite casually. He proceeded to open the bag and pour sugar generously on that poor cow’s insides that were still in a huge heap behind her.
What happened next was a miracle. That ungainly swollen uterus suddenly began shrinking and soon with some vigorous pushing and shoving, it finally popped in place. As he gave the cow her post-natal shots, Charles chatted with the farmer nonstop explaining the wonders of sugar which he normally kept in his practice car.
As we drove away Charles joked with me. “You thought I was teasing about the sugar, didn’t you?”
“I thought you’d gone crazy,” I said.
“How sweet it is!” He grinned giving me a punch in the arm.
I guess some miracles only happen when someone is obedient to a command they do not understand. Such as when servants obeyed Jesus and filled water jugs at the Cana wedding before He turned all that water into wine.
7 responses to “A Sweet Afternoon”
Brendalls, I’ve signed animal abuse petitions with far worse descriptions. What Uncle Charles did was Amazin’!
Yes, he is amazing!
That sounds like a Herriot story except I never heard that particular cure before!
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What a story!! I was raised on the farm and never saw that. I
was reading this just as I returned from pelvic floor physical
therapy. I hope my results will turn out as well as it did with
that old cow!!
Haha! Good laughing with you at lunch today! Keeps us going!