by Dr. Jay Merriam

Began at 7 with Gigi banging on my door needing a meeting before rounds at 7:30.  After last night , we had decided that I should speak to the staff about some personell issues and to appoint a new Asst. Director, Dr. Mohamed Borassi with whom I have been working all week.  He’s Moroccan native, trained here and in Lyon and is an excellent clinician with ambition and skill.  Needed a bit of lameness training and we are on the way.  So I gave the assembled staff a bit of a pep talk and a warning about a certain lack of direction and discontent.  Change is always threatening and needs to be explained to some people as necessary for growth.  We need to hold the working equid up as our “client” and guidepost, then everything else becomes secondary.  As long as we ask him what he needs, the rest falls into place..or some such.  Gigi translated as I went and it was not lost on some that we need to accept the fact that if we are not happy with the mission, we need to move on!

Anyway, enough drama, it was another staggering day of lame, halt and blind mules coming in or being treated as residents.  The students are amazing. Three from the Czech Republic (one German, a Cypriot and an Israeli) plus a young woman from California.  They work hard, take their job seriously and do research every night to answer questions we pose every day.  We oversee treatments,  jump in as needed (cut a few molars today and showed the others how to do it).  We also had a few clinical lab conferences, went to a lawyers meeting about Fondouk business and generally found ourselves wondering at 2 pm why we hadn’t had breakfast!?   Gigi’s cook prepared couscous so we had that and coffee before the second day of my seminar on colic began!  Had 30 peo

ple today, including lots of vets from the day before plus 12 veiled Moroccan vet students! I gave another hour on ultrasounding the abdomen and then we went to the clinic to do a wet lab with a new ultrasound brought up specially from Marrakech.    It was the blind leading the willing down the primrose path. I managed to find the kidneys, nephrosplenic ligament and God knows what else before turning it over to the locals to try to find what they could.  It was all fun and they really were desperate for hands on stuff, so I looked like an expert (“Yes, Mohamed, that’s a gas bubble”) . Whatever, it was fun and very satisfying!  All the vets were guys, all the vet students were women!  In between all of this, we had a donkey crashing with possible colitis and we spent most of Friday night pumping fluids into the poor fellow and calculating his chances of survival by the minute.

We (Gigi and I ) have had a few good opportunities to discuss the plans here and compare notes about the whole working equid thing.  She has been in Egypt, Ethiopia and Morocco doing this

for the last 20 years.  Also managed to raise 3 kids, keep a hubby (an MD  on assignment in Australia) and this since August as Director.  Lot’s of laughs and similar experiences. She is also recently certified in Equine Internal Medicine (she’s a Brit) and has an encyclopedic knowledge of medicine. Very committed to her cases and her work and a few laughs to boot.

Has been wiring the clinic and the courtyard for  internet this week so we can start rounds at Tufts once I get back, via Skype!  Doesn’t want to feel out of the loop by being so far away from academia.  So we’re going to try to get a regular set up with Tufts for weekly rounds of selected cases.   Pretty exciting.


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