Pretext: I am a veterinarian and this piece relates to the practice of veterinary medicine, but its greater purpose and message is in its complete metaphorical potential.
I recently performed a skin graft on one of my patients because I did not have enough surrounding tissue remaining to close the incision after removing a tumor off of the dog’s lower leg. This surgery is almost always done at specialty hospitals and associated with a much higher cost that what I charged the client. My opportunity to perform this procedure in this manner and have the fortunate results so far experienced is also highly attributable to the clients/owners for being exceptionally attentive and observant in the post-op aftercare of their dog and in complying with all of my instructions and requests.
Today is post-op day 14 and the graft has done exceptionally well. It appears that 80-90% of it will take. That’s a pretty high ratio of expectation especially given the conservative manner in which the wound has been managed.
I was very excited about the results when I performed the recheck exam today and I almost took a picture so that I might share the level of skill and success my team/hospital has been able to achieve for the patient. But then, as I was talking with my staff, we collectively realized that anyone in the general public that viewed a picture of the wound in its current state would not be able to appreciate or understand what they were looking at. Most likely, they would think that a butcher had performed the surgery and was displaying a sick picture of his gore.
That is such a hard concept for me. To know, to profoundly know, and objectively see the exceptional product or change that you can bring about doing things the right way and yet, be unable to share it with others so that they might see, appreciate, and accept the truth of the matter. So, explicit truth must be tamed down or covered up with a bandage until it might become subtle enough in appearance for someone to not even appreciate its presence or the significant difference in effort and skill that it brought about.
Taming things down seems to make everything look the same. It collectively homogenizes outliers and noteworthy differences. In part, I think that’s why such a tolerance has been allowed to foster, or maybe I should say fester.
Maybe we should be looking at the raw unfiltered and unbandaged truth more; looking at the flesh, the ooze, the scabbing, the inflammation, the blood supply, and the compromised tissue, which are all involved and relevant towards the final outcome. That might tell the true tale; the difference between what works and what does not; the difference between what we are capable of and what we settle for; the difference between the illusion of proclaimed reality via lip service and the reality experienced through witnessing the healing of a very challenging and complicated wound.
Jeff Cribb DVM 2017