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'Old Fogysaurus' rears ugly head


At first, the task seemed simple. All I had to do was to give the pooch an injection, dispense a few pills and send him home.

At first, the task seemed simple. All I had to do was to give the poochan injection, dispense a few pills and send him home.

I headed for the pharmacy.

Unfortunately, that's when the trouble started.

"Let's see now," I said to myself as I read the label directionsout loud. "Give 2.27 to 6.83 grains per kilogram of body weight."

I had to stop and think. Multiple questions began to swim in my head.

"How many grams are in a grain? How do you convert pounds to kilograms?Is that Fahrenheit or centigrade? Why can't I put metal in the microwaveoven? Why don't they write the bottle label in English?

It seems to me that this all should have been taken care of in 1776.This is the America of pounds and inches. The medication in the bottle ismade by a company located right here in the good old U.S.A. They sold thedrug to me. Why don't they just tell me how much to give the dog? Is ita secret?

According to my calculations, the dog needed an intra-muscular injectionof 4,200 cc. That seemed a little high to me. (The medication comes in a10 cc bottle.) Perhaps the label was wrong? I did the calculations again.I started by attempting to convert the dog's weight to kilograms. I discoveredthat it couldn't be done.

Not being one to give up easily, I decided to skip that step and moveon to the next. All I had to do was to convert "grains per 10 ml"to milligrams per cc." As coincidence would have it, I discovered thatthis calculation was also impossible.

Then, in a flash, I had a revelation. It struck me out of the blue. Howcould I have been so foolish? All I had to do to solve the problem was toswitch medications. It wouldn't matter what antibiotic I chose, just aslong as the directions were printed in milliliters per pound. Within minutes,the dog was happily wagging his tail and drooling all over the car seatsas his family drove him home.

Feeling that I deserved a reward for my ingenuity in solving the medicationproblem, I decided to have a jelly donut. While doing so, I called my friend,Arnie, to discuss my displeasure with the drug company's label. He was notsympathetic.

"For God's sake, Mike," he said. "Get with the program.That's the way things are written nowadays. If you weren't so cheap, you'dbuy a good calculator for your pharmacy area and you wouldn't have theseproblems."

I told him that a calculator wouldn't help. Wasn't he listening whenI explained that the calculations were impossible?

"Mike," he said. "You are a dinosaur; an Old-Fogysaurus.You should consider getting some younger veterinarians with more modernideas to join your practice before your last remaining neuron gives out.

"I suppose that's not a bad idea," I told him. "PerhapsI should try to interview a few younger guys."

"Don't you know anything, Mike?" he asked. "Did you sleepthrough the last two decades? Do you even realize the '60s are over? Whenyou interview veterinarians, they are mostly girls not guys and you can'tcall them girls because that's politically incorrect. They are women."

The conversation with Arnie ruined my jelly donut experience. However,I had to admit that there was a ring of truth to his assessment of me. SometimesI may be a little out of touch with the current trends. Still, America shouldthink in terms of pounds and inches, not milithings and kilothings, andI have half a mind to write President Nixon and tell him so.

Dr. Obenski owns the Allentown Clinic for Cats in Allentown,Pa.

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