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How facing your fears can pay off

They say it is healthy for us to challenge ourselves. That every do we should do something that scares us.

If this is true, then operating on Beans was definitely ticking that box for me.

Beans had been a healthy three year old beige and ginger puss, until he misjudged crossing the road.

The previous week he had needed treatment for various wounds, and shock, and we had established that he had broken the large thigh bone or femur. It was a common sort of fracture, and I had arranged some estimates from vets who regularly performed that kind of repair without difficulty. But unfortunately, he was uninsured, and his owner needed to spread the bill over several months to be able to manage it, and we could not find a specialist prepared to do this.

Payment plans are quite commonly agreed by vets, including specialist and second opinion practices now, but were not that usual back when Beans was a youngster.

And so, reluctantly, I offered to do the repair myself, at a cost that reflected the difference in experience, and with a monthly payment plan to cover the bill.

I reviewed the textbooks, and spoke to a specialist about my choice of pin sizes and my plan. I measured his bones on the x-ray and checked all the right equipment was available and sterilised.

So I found myself in my operating theatre, surrounded by unfamiliar orthopaedic equipment, preparing to force some pins through Beans’ bones. Adrenalin was zipping through my system, I could feel sweat prickling the skin of my fingers inside my surgical gloves, and my heart rapping on my ribs.

This was not my first femoral fracture repair, but it had been a while. My nurse, Nikki, squared her shoulders and passed me the drill. We would do this together.

Two days later, Beans was already using the repaired leg, and at four weeks he was running around as if it had never been broken. Without my repair he would have been permanently crippled, or might have been better off with an amputation. I am really glad that I faced my fears to help him have a better life.

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