The pain in the neck

2014-07-18 00:00

THERE are four of us, all classmates. Born in the fifties. It is tea time at a congress of farm vets at Skukuza in the Kruger Park and we are standing around a table sucking on our cups.

I haven’t seen Niel for many years and I am positioned next to him. My stiff neck is rotated at about 45 degrees to the north. His is to the south. We look like a pair of book ends. Good thing we are aligned as we are. We would have trouble having a conversation if we were stationed the other way around.

“What happened to you?” I ask.

“Too much sex,” he explains.

We all nod in understanding.

His practice is based on the transfer of embryos, a technique which involves the prompting of extra-super-special cows to produce lots of eggs by treating them with a cocktail of hormones and then harvesting the fertilised embryos for insertion into just plain, run-of-the-mill bovines at a later date. A physical game, involving much manipulation with one’s arm deeply embedded in a cow’s rectum, which, after 30-odd years, is bound to exert a toll.

“I have just learnt to live with the pain,” he informs us all.

“It becomes easier to tolerate as the years go by.”

Sue-Ellen, across the table, pipes up, gesticulating to a barely discernible scar down the side of her neck. “It happened a while ago. We were catching Blesbuck in a boma. The trick was to herd the animals into the trap and then quickly pull a hessian curtain along a chain to cut off their escape route. At one point, the cable snapped, however, and I was in the firing line. It wrapped around my neck like a python around its prey and dropped me to the ground. I felt like I had taken a cheap shot from Mike Tyson. Surgery was required to repair the damage,” she concludes.

I feel that I must give my version of events. I generally don’t like talking about the negatives of ageing. Too many people don’t have the privilege of getting older. But the topic had been broached and I don’t like being left out.

“I have a spine that looks as though T. Rex has nibbled at it,” I start.

“I have recurrent lower-back issues as a result of picking up too many anaesthetised boerbuls.

“The transverse process of one of my chest vertebrae has also been chipped by a ram who objected to being confined and head-butted me. Let me tell you, I have renewed sympathy for the recipients of one of Bakkies Botha’s tackles!

“But my current issue is my neck,” I say, pointing at the offending organ. “It is like this mainly as a result of three decades of mad Brahman cows using my left arm as a fulcrum. Something had to give. I am determined to avoid surgery. So I have seen a number of doctors, a chiropractor, a physiotherapist and a biokineticist, and have listened to a multitude of lay-people experts. I am currently on medication and have to do exercises regularly. At the traffic lights on the way to work, children stare at my skew neck as if I am a prop in a Mad Max movie!

“My wife says my pain in the neck is merely an extension of my personality,” I conclude, trying to add some humour to the discussion. I finish my dissertation in a self-satisfied manner, content that I have outdone the other two.

“So, George,” I inquire of the last of our quartet. He looks half our age. “What is wrong with you?”

“Nothing at all. I am as fit as ever before.”

“So what is the secret?” we inquire in unison.

“I married into money.”

We all nod our heads in understanding.

• You can follow the exploits of the Village Vet on his blog www.village

vet.wordpress.com

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.