this (reproductive) life
Uterus stood in the paddock grazing contentedly while her newborn calf lay nearby. This was surely a miracle.
Eighteen months earlier, my husband Andy — fisherman and bush block dweller — had been driving home when he noticed one of the cows from the neighbouring property, which had recently calved, with a large mass protruding from her rear end.
About a week later the farmer was driving a mob of cattle along the road. Andy saw the same cow with the problematic rear end, which was now a nasty, reddish brown, sunburnt, scaly mass and he knew something was very wrong.
On closer inspection, he realised the cow had suffered a prolapse and the mass was, in fact, her inverted uterus.
Andy spoke to the farmer, suggesting something should be done.
The fellow appeared unconcerned and said he would probably simply cut it off. Andy advised him not to do that as the cow would most certainly bleed to death.
The previous year we had watched an episode of the British television show All Creatures Great and Small, in which the program’s protagonist vet had attended to a similar problem.
Armed with this knowledge, Andy was confident he could put the uterus back into place. He rang the farmer, who agreed to let him try.
Andy put the cow into a bale and with hot water, antiseptic, a cake of Solyptol soap, vaseline and a beer bottle was ready to commence the task at hand.
He gently washed the uterus, taking the utmost care, as he removed dirt, scabs and rotting tissue.
The animal stood quietly as if she knew he was only there to help. He then lubricated the exposed uterus with vaseline and with both hands proceeded to manoeuvre the mass as he pushed the uterus back inside the cow, which seemed to assist by pushing back against him.
He knew that even with his arm fully extended inside the cow, the uterus would need to be pushed even further.
He withdrew his arm and used the base of a beer bottle to help ease the organ back into the animal, which continued to push back against him. To complete the procedure he inserted Solyptol soap as a means of sterilisation.
Uterus, so named thereafter by the farmer’s wife, went on to have several more calves, without any further problems.
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