The bigger they are, the harder they fall


'Big Doctor' orders up a huge slice of humble pie

There is nothing that quite compares to the feeling one gets when thefirst two letters of your name changes.

Just a quick walk across the stage and now you are a doctor. Boy, whata feeling! I'll never forget the first time someone called me Dr. Brock.Wow! Can you believe it? Me, a real doctor! My head was so big I couldn'tpull on a T-shirt.

The feeling followed me to my first resting spot, Clarendon, Texas. Ientered practice with Dr. Deyhle, a 67-year-old world-famous veterinarian.I fancied myself quite the surgeon. Eight years of college and the protectedenvironment of Texas A&M had produced one self-assured Dr. Brock.

Big chance

I had only been a "doctor" for a few days when I encounteredthe episode of the "perfect fanny." Dr. Deyhle was out in thelarge animal part of the clinic there in Clarendon looking at a cow. Thiscow had the "prolapsed rectum that ate Manhattan."

"What do you think about this one, Big Doctor?" asked Dr. Deyhle.(He always called me "Big Doctor." It made me feel good.)

Being the large-headed, full-of-confidence doctor that I was, I replied,"I can fix that!"

"So you think so?" he asked.

"Yes, I can fix it. I can create the perfect fanny on that cow."

"Well, you just dig right in then," replied Dr. Deyhle as hewinked at the cow's owner.

So, I set about creating the perfect fanny. It is not an easy surgery,you know. There is much soft tissue suturing and positioning. I preparedthe area and did the proper epidural anesthetic. I scrubbed and packed,cut and sutured, positioned and observed. I did this until every littledetail was perfect. Every "i" was dotted, every "t"was crossed. I had a large audience of observers. I just knew that theyhad all come to admire my tremendous "fanny creating" skills.

Upon completion, I promptly marched into the clinic to seek approvalfrom my mentor.

"Come see the perfect fanny," I told him.

He just smiled and walked out to the squeeze chute. He looked at herand said, "Well, Big Doctor, do you think she'll be OK?"

To this I quickly replied, "Well, of course! She had a good surgeon,didn't she?"

I went home that evening and told Kerri, my wife, of the day's events.I whistled a tune and walked with a high stride that night. It was a greatfeeling to do such a neat surgery. I even called my mother and told herabout it.

Big surprise

The next day I arrived at work early. I went to the pens and much tomy dismay, the cow was dead and stiff as a board! I was crushed. The walkback up the hill to the clinic was a long one. I was going over and overin my mind things that could have gone wrong. What a bummer. What a letdown.What a wake-up call. I walked in the back door of the clinic as Dr. Deyhlewalked in the front. He looked at me and said, "The cow is a carcass,isn't she, Big Doctor?"

"How did you know?" I asked.

"Did you ever think to look at why that cow might have prolapsed?You were so focused on fixing that prolapse that you forgot to look at whatthe prolapse was connected to. You see, normal cows don't do that. Thereis something wrong with her or she wouldn't just spit out her fanny. Rightbefore you walked out yesterday, I had just palpated that cow and discoveredshe had a calf that had been dead in her for several days. Her eyes weresunk back in her head and her gum color was awful. She was septic, Big Doctor.She wasn't going to live no matter what you did. You wasted two hours ofyour time and a lot of the owner's money. In fact, he only brought the cowin to see what had caused the calf to die so none of the others would catchit. He had already had two other cows prolapse and die at the ranch. I gotblood for analysis before you got there and I did not charge him for yourlearning experience.

Big lesson

There is a phase that occurs after the initial "I-am-a-doctor"phase. It is the "I­am-a-dumb-doctor" phase. I just enteredthe dumb doctor phase. When people called me Dr. Brock, I sometimes feltlike telling them it was debatable.

Several months later, I asked Dr. Deyhle why he didn't stop me. It seemedlike he let me make a fool out of myself.

He said, "Big Doctor, I could have stopped you, but you would nothave learned near as valuable a lesson. You will never jump into somethingwithout thinking it over again. Besides, you said you wanted to create theperfect fanny and you did-just not on the cow."

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