By Dr. Pierre B. Bland

I can honestly say I have never been so glad to leave one month behind and see the dawn of a new one. Between my schedule and being ill the previous month, it was a challenging 31 days professionally, personally, and creatively. But I am not short sighted enough to even remotely think I made it through that Sisyphean month alone. I thought I knew what difficult was until I did a house call on a 95 degree/98 percent humidity day with walking pneumonia.

The appointment had been made over a week prior to my falling ill and I didn’t feel right canceling. Thank goodness for my friend Blair, who stoped by the clinic that day to check on me and attempt to be a voice of reason since my diagnosis. He couldn’t talk me into canceling, so he insisted on driving me to the appointment. The task was to trim the nails of a 245 pound pot belly pig, who was as uncooperative as she was large.

I luxuriated in chauffeured air conditioned comfort of Blair’s spacious mini van and steeled myself for the ordeal to come: anytime you do anything with a pig, it is a wrestling match along with high pitch squealing. Using sedation was an option, but not a great one due to the size of the patient, the anticipated level of excitement, and the weather conditions. As I enjoyed the ride, the permutations rattled around my fevered brain and I hoped for the best. As we got closer and closer to our destination, I began to regret Blair’s suggestion to cancel the appointment.

We arrived at the home and the client invited us in. As we entered the home, I could see my patient wandering around the back yard through patio doors in the kitchen. She was more like a 300 pound pot belly pig, but when they are that size, an errant 55 pounds doesn’t really make much of a difference. Being a city boy from Northern California, Blair gave me a look of disbelief when he first caught sight of my patient. I thought,” Welcome to my world.” I went into the back yard and instantly began to fade in the heat, as the client attempted to round up the patient with the aid of a loaf of white bread. .

It soon became evident this was a feral pet and wasn’t going to do anything she didn’t want to do, no matter how much white bread was used to entice her. I saw the folly of the effort and opted to work smarter and not harder. I claimed a seat at the kitchen table and watched the porcine white bread rodeo through the patio doors in air conditioned comfort. After a loaf and a half of bread, I ended the pig’s carbohydrate festival and explained the only way we were going to get those nails trimmed would be under sedation.

I pointed out the challenges of using sedation, citing the white bread induced stress and atmospheric conditions. I explained we would have to do the procedure another time and provided suggestions on training the pig to lie down in the house to facilitate the sedation process. When the owner asked what food they should use in the training process, I wanted to scream “White bread! What else?,”but decorum and exhaustion prevented me from doing so. I just pointed at the remaining half load of white bread. We departed, back to my clinic.

Thanks Blair. You were there to lift me up literally and physically. No, you truly were – remember helping me off the deck of your mini van after I put my equipment in the back so you could close the gate and we could leave? I couldn’t have made it through that day without you.

Dr. Bland is a practitioner in Oakland Park, FL. He can be reached at 954 673-8579.