Under pressure. Or not. (part 2)

Under pressure. Or not. (part 2)

By Bill Stork, DVM

I made subtle adjustments to free the tip of the needle from the wall of the vein. Again, not a drop. The most bloodshed was from Mr. Wallace’s lip, as he had chased our first pig under the edge of a corrugated steel roof.

Either Wisconsin pigs have dramatically different plumbing than their cousins to the south, or I was experiencing an equipment failure of epic proportions, before a live audience. Alas, no combination of needles or tubes in my pocket would render a red blood cell.

Mr. Wallace meanwhile, kept his good nature. As sweat sprang from his trembling forearms and his head grew progressively redder, he maintained his tug-of-war with the six month old Berkshire barrow.

Feeling like Geraldo looking for Hoffa, and fresh out of excuses or explanation, I squared my shoulders and resorted to the truth. “I’ve bled a lot of pigs, and this has never happened,” I explained. “Be back tomorrow," I promised.

Wondering if crow really tastes like chicken, I made the long slow drive back to the clinic. The radio was silent. As I related the experience to my boss, he asked to see the tubes I had used.

At a glance, he nodded. “You know, after you use those tubes the first time, you can clean 'em up, put on a new label and fill them again.”

It has been said that copper wire was invented by two Scots, fighting over a penny.

Vacutainers cost about a nickel apiece. I had no way of knowing that Dr. Anderson had been cleaning and re-using them; rendering what was once a vacuum container, simply a glass tube.

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