Saturday, April 16, 2011

A love child

"Where are your front teeth?" I asked a little girl sitting on the left side of the van which had parked to pick up her mother who had brought in the old Pomeranian for oxygen therapy (gasping for breath and coughing earlier and was treated by Dr Vanessa). "How many teeth have you lost?"

The little girl smiled when I said "hello" and so I could see that she had lost 2 front teeth upper and lower. She also had two backward aligned corner incisors. The mother came and I asked: "Is this your daughter? How old is she?"

I couldn't believe that 6 years had passed. The mother was a single mother working for a dog breeder and running his pet shop in Marine Parade and then in MacPherson Road. The breeder had packed his bags and left the industry. Wow, the baby is a very happy 6-year-old girl.

"You will have to spend around $3,000 to align your daughter's teeth when she is older," I said to the happy mum. I am glad she is still a groomer and making ends meet. I don't know much about her love child and did not intrude on her privacy. She takes so much trouble to come to Toa Payoh Vets when there are over 45 vet clinics and some nearer to Pasir Ris.

Dr Vanessa gave her dog the necessary treatment and the oxygen therapy. This was her sister's dog. I said to her: "This dog will not live past one week. If you give the medication for the heart problems, give 3 to 4 times a day according to her panting."

She had brought her sister's dog for treatment and since I was not available, my associate treated the dog. She said: "I was told to give two times a day."

"Yes, that is the standard recommendation. Giving to effect will let this Pomeranian live a bit longer. In the end, the heart fails and the dog passes away peacefully."

I heard a hissing sound when I was in the room where the dog had the oxygen therapy by mask and the necessary injections. I noted that Dr Vanessa had pressed the red button a few times to flush out any isoflurane gas before giving the oxygen. The anaesthetic man had replaced my "faulty" vaporiser 3 days earlier as there was a leakage of oxygen. But all was well since.

Now, I could hear a faint hissing sound. Was there another leak in the piping? I phoned the anaesthetic man who was busy and wanted the whole set back to his factory. "Is there some elephant glue to seal the hairline crack in the piping under the vaporiser?" I asked him. "We need to operate and can't afford to wait a few days."

Dr Vanessa was going to postpone surgeries but I stopped her. The anaesthetic man came and saw the crack. His girl had placed some soapy water and I could see the bubbles from the blue tubing. So, there was a crack here too or was it there earlier? Was it due to the pressing of the red button repeatedly? Well, equipment piping do wear and tear.

Surprisingly, my old car had this ping message "Add one litre of engine oil when you next fill up." I had the car repaired by the mechanic when this message appeared earlier. Still now, the problem showed itself. Wear and tear or an inability of the mechanic to diagnose and treat? I top up the engine oil and the message disappeared. There must be a hairline crack somewhere. Should I sell off the car? But COE prices had shot up and 2nd hand cars fetch a good value. But it is much more expensive and stupid to buy a new car now. So, I have two identical problems of hairline cracks - in a car engine oil system and in my veterinary anaestethic gas system. Both need management and assessment of risks.

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