The back door swings open.  “Maaaaaa – om!!!  Hannah’s leg is bleeding.  There is blood all over!” my son screams.  I cut short the telephone conversation with the asphalt driveway repair company.  And again, in yet another franch story to tell, I find myself running out to the barn to respond to a crisis.  I slow up the concrete ramp to the barn as I see small puddles of blood all over.  “Maaa – maaa,” moans Hannah as we make eye contact.  In her eyes, I see confusion and pain.  Her hind leg is completely covered in blood and it pools quickly beneath her hoof wherever she steps.  Hannah, our beloved goat, is seriously hurt.  The kids are quiet and watching me, knowing to stand ready for instructions having now been through so many franch dramas.  There’s so much blood, and I know immediately that this is too much for me.  I don’t have four years of education in veterinary science.  Nor am I a board certified emergency medicine physician.  Thankfully, I’m married to a doctor who can easily handle the circumstance I’m in.  But, of course, he’s on shift until midnight and can’t abandon people emergencies in the hospital for my goat emergency on the franch.  I know this and feel a bit of panic.  I take a deep breath, and it begins.  “Go get my phone please,” the first command is given.  “Yes, m’am,” my son responds, as he spins and races back to the house.  I halter the goat and my daughter leads it over to the hose at the barn’s edge.  The water rinses the blood away just enough to get a quick glimpse of the wound before fresh blood seeps out.  Sure enough, there’s a deep and wide gash on the rear hind pastern.  I sigh realizing that a layer of sprayed-on Blue-Kote Spray isn’t going to protect the wound and start its healing process.  It is just too deep.  My son hands me the retrieved phone and I ask Siri, “Call my lover.”  And Siri complies, “Calling my lover.”  (My husband, as a practical joke, changed his name in my contact list to “My Lover”  weeks ago.   I make another mental note to edit his contact information, especially since my children have said a few times in public when they see it’s him calling, “Mom, your lover is calling!”).  So, “My Lover” answers and doesn’t believe it’s as bad as it is until I text him a video.  Then, he treats me like his medical students and gives me a bunch of orders expecting that it’s as easy for me to do as it is for him to say.  I’m supposed to put gauze on the fresh wound, apply pressure, and wrap a bandage around it as tight as possible.  He encourages me that that’ll do until he can get home.  Sounds simple enough.  In fact, it’s obvious.  But, my assistants are young children and my patient is a live goat in pain that doesn’t stand still, and unlike his patients, kicks.  I decide I need to at least try.  My eldest daughter tries to hold the goat still while I try over and over again to grab Hannah’s kicking leg, hold on it to while she’s keeps kicking, keep a gauze pad in position, and wrap an ACE elastic bandage around it.  We could successfully do a few of those steps at a time, but not all of ‘em at once.  I start feeling like I’m making it worse because I keep messing with the wound but not successfully wrapping it.  The goat collapses down on her bleeding leg and I do the same beside her, feeling defeat.  My critical inner voice accuses as I wipe away a tear, Who do you think you are – trying to live this life and caring for so many animals – you can’t do this.  I watch the goat quiet in her new position realizing how she’s helping herself whether she realizes it or not.  With her leg beneath her, her body weight puts pressure on the wound slowing the bleeding.  In the meantime, my husband has called on a fellow emergency medicine physician and close friend who has always offered to help in an emergency or non-emergency, for anything; he’s basically on-call all the time for our family.  Thankfully, for his sake, we rarely need to call on him.  Tonight, he is to be my knight in shining armor.  Well, really, a skilled physician with a surgical kit, which I’d prefer over any knight for the sake of Hannah anyway.  It is his first goat patient, and you wouldn’t know it.  He came ready to give her the best care all of his years of medical school and residency could offer her.  His lovely wife, wearing a cute sundress in contrast to my dirty farm sweats, doesn’t hesitate to lie with me across a goat pinned down on the cement floor of a dusty barn.   It is quite the gory scene as our friend scrubs out the wound, numbs it, and puts in as many stitches as his basic medical kit provided.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds.  It turns out to definitely be a battle as the goat tries multiple times to free herself from our hold.  There are plenty of supplies we realized are needed as we work to care for her.  So, our three children assist our physician friend while all his wife and I can do is to keep the goat in position.  My eldest daughter dreams of working in a career field helping animals some day – and so, as she holds a flashlight to give better lighting she remarks, “I can’t watch, I feel faint…but, I have to, because I want to do this someday.”  Finally, after a lot of blood and sweat and tears, literally, Hannah’s leg is wrapped and she is standing eating some grain and alfalfa in her pen.  My eldest runs to the house for some duct tape from her craft bin for one final way to secure the leg wrapping.  She arrives at the barn with a dress-up vet first-aid kit in hand, filled with fake supplies and the duct tape, wearing a scrubs jacket with a pin that says her name with the Dr. prefix.  It turns out our friend isn’t just a knight in shining armor for me tonight but an inspiration for our daughter as well.  And Hannah is now on the way to a full recovery thanks to our friends.

Follow & Like Franchlife