In a Sow’s Ear: A visit to the clinic can be harder on the nurse than the cowboy
Freshly graduated from nursing school in a big city metropolis, Melissa got hired on at a small clinic in a ranching community out West. She approached her job with enthusiasm,efficiency and she always followed the rules in the Professional Nurse’s TLC Handbook.
When a pair of cowboys, Wade and Clyde, showed up at the clinic, Melissa went into overdrive. She guided the pair into a treatment room and told the duo to sit in the pair of chairs always standard in a clinic treatment room. She established herself on the wheeled stool that allowed her to whiz hither and thither. “Which one of you has a problem?” she inquired.
Clyde unwrapped a blood-soaked wild rag he’d used to swaddle his thumb. “Oh, my,” Nurse Melissa said.
“Cut myself,” Clyde said. “Clean to the bone. Reckon Doc’ll have to stitch it up.”
“We were — er, changing a bull calf into a steer,” Wade explained.
Nurse Melissa, curling her fingers above the computer keyboard, began peppering questions and typing at blizzard speed.
“Your name?” she asked.
“Uh, I’m Clyde,” Clyde said.
“He’s Clyde,” Wade said.
“He’s Wade,” Clyde said.
“Are you a relative?” Melissa asked.
“Naw,” Wade said. “I hadda come to town anyway. Needed some salt blocks.”
Nurse Melissa furrowed her brow, consulted her long list of questions and turned to Clyde.
“Are you diabetic?”
“Have you any mental problems such as depression or anxiety?”
“Probably. I’m a cowboy.”
“Have you ever experienced seizures, blackouts or shortness of breath?
“No, no and yes. I got real short of breath the time I bucked off my horse, he ran off and I hadda walk a zillion miles back to the ranch.”
“Do you drink alcohol?”
Wade and Clyde exchanged puzzled looks.
“Er, sometimes,” Clyde admitted.
Melissa’s brow furrowed.
“I’m trying to ascertain whether or not this accident is alcohol related.”
“Could be,” said Clyde. “I always sterilize my knife blade in alcohol — when I, er, doctor a calf.”
“No,” Melissa patiently explained, “I mean do you drink liquor? When and how often?”
Clyde discovered his tongue had become paralyzed. Wade stepped into the breach.
“Whenever we git around to it. Mostly beer or Jim Beam,” he added. “But Clyde has been known to drink wine.”
“Only for my Mom’s birthday or sometimes at Christmas,” Clyde growled. “But not anymore.”
“You don’t?” Nurse Melissa turned to Wade for verification. “He doesn’t drink anymore?”
“Drink any more? No ma’am, he don’t drink any more. Just as much, but not any more.”
The furrow in Nurse Melissa’s brow turned into a permanent feature. ❖
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