Mr. Pellham's Trick

Written by Dr. Wayne Kyle.

Mr. O.B. (Obie) Pellham was a faithful client from early in my veterinary career, and his son, Wilcie, and daughter, Peggy, are still friends today. Mr. Obie lived in the Brooks Community out in western Panola County about 15 miles from Carthage. One Saturday night Wilcie called me from his dad's house to tell me about a cow belonging to Mr. Obie that was down and couldn't stand up. He asked me what I thought might be wrong with her and what I could possibly do to help them out. Mr. Obie had a pretty good herd of cows and took good care of them, and I knew that he had a good nutrition program so I was pretty sure that this was probably not that "bad disease" that I mentioned in another story. I told Wilcie that I could come on out there and examine the cow and maybe could help her. Wilcie said, "Wayne, Daddy didn't even want me to call you because he didn't think there was anything you could do for her and he thinks we should just knock her in the head and be done with it. He says she's gonna die so why spend the money?" I askedĀ  him how long she had been down, was she sitting up or laying flat out on her side, was she bloated or not, did she have a young calf, etc. He said she was sitting up but had her head pulled around to her left side and couldn't hold it up. He also told me her calf was about 3 days old. From this information I was pretty sure that the cow had "milk fever" and that I could probably help her if we didn't wait too long. I told him what I thought and after he relayed this to Mr. Obie I could hear him telling Wilcie that he didn't like to just throw money away like that. Finally, Wilcie told me to come on out and that he would pay for the trip.

When I got there, we walked down to the old cow and I examined her. I told Mr. Pellham that I thought I couldĀ  help the old cow if he wanted me to try. He said, "Well, you're already out here and I ain't gonna let Wilcie pay you, and this is not the first time I've thrown money away so see what you think you can do." I got my calcium and glucose solution and started it going intravenously. When this medication is administered IV, we have to give it pretty slowly to prevent calcium shock from blocking the heart function. This time interval allows visitation and conversation to move along, and also more time for Mr. Obie to fuss about the money he was wasting. Well, my patient began to show me some improvement, movement of her legs, blinking her eyes, and breathing much better, little muscle movements, and I knew she was coming back to us just like I thought she would. I was pretty sure that she would be able to get up and stand after I finished my treatment. Now, I knew Mr. Pellham pretty well, and we had always been pretty friendly with each other, so I thought that I would just try to have a little fun with him. As my cow was continuing to show improvement to me I turned and said, "Mr. Obie, I want to make a little deal with you here. If this old cow doesn't get up within 15 minutes after I finish giving this medicine to her, I won't charge you a dime, but if she does get up, you pay me double. Double or nothing, how about it?" Well, he just stood there looking at me for a little while and then began to allow a little smile to come across his face. He started shaking his head and said, "Aaahhh naw...I learned a long time ago, son, don't ever bet on another man's trick!" Well, this cow started getting up before I could get my rope off her head, and started looking around for her calf. We all had a good laugh over the incident, and that is the enjoyable aspect about veterinary medicine for me.