I must admit I was glad that I was not picked to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games (I know a lot of my clients are horrified that someone who has the pristine fit body such as mine has not been selected to represent their country in the Egg and Spoon race or in the High Board Belly Flop competition – but that is the life of an elite athlete that I have come to accept) because I have decided to take a few weeks off and go to Western Australia to celebrate my aunt’s 100 year birthday.
Yes, while most of you are reading this – my long-suffering wife and I will be either sitting in a plane with our masks on or driving a car around Perth or the other areas in the southwest corner (with our masks on) and basically just enjoying ourselves.
A lot of our clients are not aware that I am a “Sandgroper” by birth, but I did spend all my school years (from grade 1 to grade 12) in Mount Isa. So back to my roots I am travelling to mix with the many relatives I have in the West Australia and the lovely thing is that most of my relatives have never met me and that allows me to be able to exaggerate a lot of my stories and basically not tell the truth about where I now live and what I have done in my life.
It has been over 50 years or longer since I have met with most of my relatives and very few (if any) really know of my life as a veterinarian or know of the journey I have had to travel to where I am today.
One day I may write a book about the real life of a veterinarian who graduated before the discovery of home computers, before ultrasounds where even thought of, before the use of calculators to work out dose rates, before the development of “in house pathology machines”, before the time where every vet practice owned an x-ray machine, where all histories were written on cards and filed in a steel cupboard, where we actually made the “bucket” for the animal’s head by actually cutting out the bottom of a bucket and lacing some bail twin around the collar of the dog to hold the bucket on the head, where casts for broken legs were composed of plaster that disintegrated when the dog or cat urinated on them or that got wet when the animal ran under the sprinkler, where an autoclave was actually a pressure cooker on a stove and you boiled the instruments in them for half an hour or more, where syringes were made of glass and were washed out and used over and over again (and a lot of the needles were also re-boiled so they could be used again and again – you had to feel sorry for the 5th animal they were used on because the needle was usually blunt), where you travelled every year to Sydney to attend conferences and usually slept in your car (could not afford hotels) for the week the conference was on before heading home again to North Queensland.
I could go on and on about the person who stood on the stairs of the Great Hall at the University of Queensland on that warm summer night in 1974 with his degree in his hand and a dream in his head. It has been a hell of a journey and I may just share some of it with my relatives in the West (or maybe not – maybe I will just listen to their journey).
Keep yourselves and your animals healthy and I will talk to you next month, Davo