I feel that it is my duty to inform all of you Archipelagans of the wonderful and exciting accomplishments that Drury manages and what better way than to do my best to relate to the rest of you, one of her most recent challenges.
After reading all of the different cards I find that Drury sometimes puts down her abilities. I enjoy working with her tremendously and my respect for her as a veterinarian, as well as my friend have increased everyday.
Unlike our boss, Drury cares and feels for the animals which she is treating. Until I started working for her I never cried at a euthanisia or success. After seeing how much she cares I can feel myself choke up and it makes my job seem that much more important. I now appreciate more all of the effort that she puts into her work, and I would like for all of you to perhaps get some idea of just how good she really is. So please bear with me as I do my best to tell you a little story.
A couple of weeks ago we had a client bring in a young bird to the clinic. The cockatiel was having trouble breathing. The breeder who the owners purchased the bird from said that the bird was trying to get attention since they had left the bird alone all day. Because of this information the poor bird spent the night fighting to breathe. Fortunately the owners became concerned enough to bring the bird in for Dr. R. (Drury) to see.
Everytime I remember that poor little bird, I picture in my mind , a poor creature struggling to breathe. Since birds breathe thorough their nose rather than their mouth it is serious when you have a bird who is open mouth breathing! Drury was in a bad mood and didn't answer my questions which is unusual for her. You may wonder why she was in a bad mood well, she had just faxed a note to Dr. Rosskopf the World-known Exotic Veterinarian. He basically told Drury that there was little if any hope for the poor thing.
Drury believed that the little bird who was just learning to eat on her own inhaled a seed into her trachea. She wanted to stick a tube down the birds throat and try to suck up whatever was blocking the air passage. Dr. Rosskopf told her that her idea probably would not work. He had cut the seeds out of birds on a necropsy and found the seeds imbedded in the trachea.
Drury decided to go ahead an give it a shot since the bird would die anyway if we did nothing. Every hour the bird was getting weaker and weaker. We even pumped the little incubator with oxygen so that the bird didn't have to breathe so hard. None of this really helped. The situation looked hopeless.
Drury and Christine our receptionist went into the surgery room to give it a try. After about 15 minutes I went back to check on their progress.
What I found was not encouraging. Drury was trying to place a catheter in the bird's side where the air sacs are located. She had already made an incision and couldn't place the catheter in the airsac so that the bird could breathe while she stuck the Endo Trachea tube down the bird's throat. The bird was struggling to breathe and Drury was becoming more and more frustrated. All she needed was a little time and yet as the proceedure went on, it seemed more and more hopeless. The poor little bird was desperately fighting for air.
Finally we believed that the catheter was in. So we took off the mask and connected the catheter to the anesthesia. Suddenly the bird stopped breathing. The Air flow coming out of the anesthesia tube was too fast! The bird couldn't exhale! We had to pull the catheter out and start again.
After we believed that the catheter was in place once again, Drury stuck the tube down the bird's throat. She pulled back on the plunger of the syringe as hard and fast as she could trying to suck up whatever was blocking the passage.... Nothing. Then the bird started coughing, and Drury grabbed the bird and tried to have the bird cough up the seed. No such luck, and to top it off the catheter fell out of the incision.
By this time Drury was talking in a steady stream of "I don't know about this" " Oh why can't" etc. We had been working on this bird for about 45 minutes. She began her hunt for the airsacs again and Christine and I had to reassure her that the bird was still breathing and it wasn't too late yet. Still I know that I was thinking that it was absolutely hopeless. I was prepared for the bird to die on the surgery table.
How can I explain the pressure and the tension in that room? True it was just a little bird and there are thousands more like this very one, but this one was special to her owners and that made her special to us. The three of us barely answered anyone else who came into the room. We were all so intent on saving this little bird. If you know how big a cockatiel is then you have an idea of how tiny it seemed with the three of us working on her. Christine was holding the anesthesia mask in place while I kept handing Drury the instruments that she would need.
Finally as a last ditch effort, Drury carefully made one more incision, I went and got a bigger syringe for more suction, and Christine kept on talking to Drury. When I came back, Drury finally got the catheter in place and we tried one more time... Drury stuck the catheter down the bird's throat and pulled back on the plunger. Because she pulled so hard and fast, the tube came out of the bird's throat. The first thing I saw was a bright red drop of blood. My first thought was "Oh No!" Then the three of us saw the little tiny seed at the end of the tube!!! Drury had done it!
The little bird was breathing fine once again but was not out of the woods yet. I went to go get some injections for the bird, while Drury stitched the bird up and Christine gave the bird oxygen. My hands were shaking and as I entered the surgery I was in a state of shock.
Drury placed the bird in an incubator and the bird looked so weak. We were still worried that the bird wouldn't make it. As Drury called the owners to tell them that the surgery was successful, she broke down and cried. My first thought was that the bird had died. When I realized that she was crying because she was relieved, it was then that I realized just how much she cared. I felt tears come to my eyes.
The next day, Dr. Rosskopf sent Drury a fax giving her the "Greatest Vet Award" . He has encouraged her to write a paper on her success so that other Veterinarians will not give up hope.
I am grateful that I was involved in that experience. There is no other high in the world greater than knowing you helped save or made a differece in a life. Now perhaps you all understand just how good our sometimes cynic really is at her job... Three Cheers!!!