Monday, February 25, 2013

If only they could tell us...

Now that I'm once again caring for a newborn, I've been reminded how challenging it can sometimes be to care for those who can't use words to communicate. Especially this past week, I've found myself wishing: "If only they could tell us what's wrong."

two month old infant
Babies aren't always this content.

A week ago, Daphne caught the icky cold that Monika brought home from pre-school. And if the nasty cough and fever weren't enough for her little body to deal with, the cold also made her vomit after nursing several times a day. At least we think it was the cold.

We're not sure if she was gagging on mucus or if the mucus upset her stomach or what was going on. Some of the time she ended up vomiting after a really bad coughing fit, but other times she'd just start to whimper and then throw up a couple seconds later.

All I know is that the only thing worse than watching your two-month-old cough is watching her vomit. The next worst thing was seeing the scale at the clinic register a weight loss from our first visit last week to our visit on Saturday. And the worst thing after that was hearing that there really wasn't anything we could do to help her get better faster than what we were already doing.

While I've been trying to keep Daphne as comfortable as I can in the house, Glen is trying to help a fresh heifer get better outside.

Holstein dairy cow eating TMR
Cows don't always eat this well.

Shortly after Agape calved, she stopped eating. Glen did everything we normally do when a fresh cow stops eating – take her temperature, listen to her stomach, screen her milk, check her for ketosis – but none of those test results explained why Agape wasn't eating. Poor Glen; he gets so frustrated when he can't figure out what's wrong with a cow.

But, like with parenting, you put your frustration aside and do whatever you can to help your patient get better.

Agape got kaolin-pectin and oral fluids several times a day. Finally, after nearly a week without eating, she started to pick at her TMR and hay. Then, last Thursday night, Glen detected a DA when he listened to her stomach. The vet came Friday to do the surgery and now Agape is almost 100% back to normal.

It would all be a whole lot easier if they could use words to tell us what was wrong.

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