There is no doubt that I love my job. There are too many reasons to list.
One of my most favorite things about my job is the interesting stories my patients tell me.
Today was no different.
I went to visit a patient today for a 60 day follow up. When I saw her last she briefly mentioned the horses that she owns. I promised we would discuss it when I saw her next.
M had made significant improvements and I was gratified to see her progress. Today was also the day she would tell me about her horses. M said that her mare is pregnant and she is so excited.
Trying to make conversation I asked her, “How long are horses pregnant?”
M said, “Ten months and 10 days, but she is overdue”
I expressed my sympathy.
Again, making conversation, I asked, “Was this pregnancy planned?”
M said, “Of course”.
Curious, I asked, “How does that work exactly?”
M said, “The horses are artificially inseminated.”
Impressed, I said, “That’s great, it takes the guessing out of the process.”
Still very interested in the process and noticing how passionate M was about her horses, I asked, “How do they get the sample from the stallion?”
So, M goes on to explain the details of how a stallion is brought to a “dummy” mare and the “sample” is “collected”.
No, I did not ask for details regarding this process. I did google it though and I highly recommend anyone who is curious about the process NOT TO GOOGLE IT. I’m sorry I did.
M did explain how an “extender” is added to the sperm so multiple mares can be impregnated.
Again, impressed, I expressed how great that is.
I asked M if she chose a name for the baby. M said she doesn’t know if it’s a boy or a girl (duh). I asked her what names she has been thinking of. She told me she will use Rare Lily if it’s a girl and Blue Ridge Billy if it’s a boy. I asked her how she chose these names, knowing there had to be a reason. M said the stallion’s name is Rare Fire and the Mare’s name is Lily Field. And Lily Field’s mother is named Himalaya Range. So, of course, the names made perfect sense. Still, M said she is not sure what name she will use.
M said this process has been so difficult for her because it is the first time she has been involved in the breeding process without her husband who recently passed away. I asked her what her husband’s name was and she said, Carl. I pointed out that that’s not a very good horse name so she probably won’t use it. I asked her what he did for a living and she said there were no names available that relate to his job.
As it turns out, when you register a horse the name has to be an original and can’t be a name that’s been previously used for a horse since the late 1800s, even if the horse is dead. If you don’t believe that you can see for yourself here. There’s even an app so you can “register and name your foal from the palm of your hand”. I was curious so I looked at the name registry, they are really interesting. I even found a bunch of Laura names (name registry).
M and I agreed that that rule would have to be changed eventually because it is so unrealistic to come up with all new horse names.
Then M told me that she is so nervous awaiting the arrival of the foal that she just flips through the catalog all day. I asked her which catalog she is referring to and she showed me a thick magazine.
“Here is a picture of the stallion and her are his statistics”, M said.
Ok, so as it turns out there is a catalog so you can chose the baby daddy. M showed me a picture of the stallion that she will be using when she breeds her mare again. M said she is going to breed her soon after the birth of the baby. M said her friend argued that that’s cruel to the mare. M said it’s not, “She’s a Mommy, it’s what she does”. I nodded in agreement.
So I said, “You know you can order human sperm on the internet to self-inseminate yourself, you don’t even need a doctor”.
M was surprised and I was happy to be able to teach HER something. I explained that you can go online and browse profiles, choose a donor, order the sperm by mail and inseminate yourself at home like from here. We discussed the marvels of the internet and how you really can get anything online these days.
I don’t usually discuss such controversial topics, but since we had been discussing horse and human insemination for quite some time I felt comfortable saying how great it was to be able to order sperm by mail if you want to have a baby but you don’t have a man (ie single, lesbian, etc). M agreed.
M told me she is a religious woman but her friend’s daughter “decided” she was gay “late in life”. Again I offered my opinion in a way I usually avoid.
I said, “I don’t think people choose to be gay”. M agreed.
It’s a good thing she agreed, it was a pretty unprofessional thing for me to say. After talking about horse sperm and her pregnant mare I kind of felt comfortable saying whatever I was thinking. Not the smartest move.
M and I parted ways with smiles and hugs. We had both enjoyed our visit and I wished her luck with the baby.
I really love my job.
Lessons I learned
1. You can choose the stallion to artificially inseminate your mare from a catalog.
2. People are passionate about a variety of things and should not be belittled for their beliefs and feelings.
3. I should not let my guard down regardless of the topic of discussion, it is not appropriate for me to share my opinions/views, I am there to support the patient ONLY. In the future I should avoid offering my opinions on highly controversial topics.