James Harriot

Most people working in the medical field treat human patients, but one common
medical field is Complaining about his first experience in the country, James Harriot
starts out his book saying, "They didn't say anything about this in the
books, I thought, as the snow blew in through the gaping doorway and settled on
my back. No there wasn't a word in the books about searching for your ropes and
instruments in the shadows; about trying to keep clean in a half bucket of tepid
water; about the cobbles digging into your chest. Nor about the slow numbing of
the arms, the creeping paralysis of the muscles as the fingers tried to work
against the cows powerful explosive efforts." He clearly doesn't show any
signs of enjoying his job, yet. Later on, on his way to Mr. Farnon, he remembers
some of the horror stories told to him from experienced veterans, which had
visited his college. One vet said," Never a night off or a half a day. He
made me wash the car, dig the garden, mow the lawn, do the family shopping. But
when he told me to sweep the chimney I left." And another remembers, "

First job I had to do was pass the stomach tube on a horse. Got it into the
trachea instead of the esophagus. Couple of quick pumps and down went the horse
with a hell of a crash-dead as a hammer. That's when I started these gray
hairs." By that time James was doubting whether or not being a vet was the
best profession he could have chosen. Deciding to stay a vet in the same city he
quickly realized the problem of having to adapt to his new environment. One of
the first he encountered was the ability to communicate properly with his
customers. James, on the first day of work, while Mr. Farnon was out, had to
deal with a customer on his own. Harriot had trouble understanding him due to
the use of terms, to describe animal body parts, sickness, and diseases, which
were made-up by farmers in that area. After the customer left "(Harriot)
returned thoughtfully to the sitting-room. It was disconcerting but I had
listened to my first case history without understanding a word of it."

There are many unexpected obstacles and difficulties which are going to come in
his life time job as a vet. One of which he hates dearly is the fact that his
job requires him to be able to be wide-awake and focused at any time, 24 hours a
day 7 days a week. He got a call one night at 3:15A.M. to come help a farmer
with his mane having trouble giving birth. He remembers, " My stomach
contracted to a tight ball. This was a little bit too much; once out of bed in
the middle of the night was bad enough, but twice was unfair, in fact it was
sheer cruelty. I had had a hard day and had been glad to crawl between the
sheets at midnight. I had been hauled out once at one o'clock to a damned
awkward calving and hadn't got back till nearly three. What time is it now?

Three fifteen. Good god, I had only had a few minutes' sleep. And a foaling!

Twice as difficult as a calving as a rule. What a life! What a bloody awful
life!" A gentleman, back in the school days, told him " if you ever
become a veterinary surgeon you will have a life of endless interest and
variety." James thought "that old chap was certainly wasn't kidding,
variety. That was it variety. Variety is something you rarely get residing in
the city. Every day you see the same buildings, go to the same office, meet the
same people, and pretty much do the same work all year long. But as vet it's the
extreme opposite. After a hard days work, Harriot wonders, " but then I
might have been in an office with the window tight shut against the petrol fumes
and the traffic noise, the desk light shining on the columns of figures, my
bowler hat hanging on the wall." Living in the city doesn't come without
its rewards. Even though you are a "slave" to the cities seemingly
endless redundant, same way of life; it doesn't come without its rewards. Having
finished helping a lamb with its birth a little past midnight James tries "
to keep out the black thoughts; about those people