Almost three years ago, I had surgery to correct gastroesophageal reflux.
I went through a lot of testing to determine for sure that I had the condition, and I spent a lot of time and money in the process.
Then came the cryosurgical prep. It’s not the most enjoyable smoothie you’ll ever have. And finally, the procedure itself. Five incisions in my abdomen and weeks of recovery, during which my son missed out on lots of wrestling.
During the first few months afterward, I could only eat a small amount and that sucked. But my reflux was gone. And I lost some weight, which was good for my knees and ankles.
In the big picture, the thousands of dollars and weeks of my life I’d spent seemed well worth it. But about a month ago, my symptoms returned.
Am I angry? No. Am I upset? Maybe a little. I’d say I’m more disappointed. So back to the doctor I go, in February. Hopefully, there’s a fix that will stick.
Although I don’t have to see human patients — do you have any idea how much stuff you can catch from humans? — I am familiar with medicine and surgery. Nothing is 100 percent. We all do our best with the knowledge and skills we have. But sometimes things happen and a treatment fails.
Sometimes your dewormer may miss a parasite. Sometimes a bone will just refuse to heal after an expensive surgery. Sometimes you only get 99 percent of a tumor out of the abdomen, and recurrence is inevitable. These things don’t necessarily mean your doctor did anything wrong, only that the desired outcome wasn’t achieved.
And that tends to bother your veterinarian almost as much as it bothers you. Sometimes it bothers the doctor more than the client.
So keep in mind, we all do what we can and then hope for the best. Now, I’m hoping to eventually eat gumbo without paying the price. And I hope the same for you and your pets. But, no gumbo for your pets!
Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.