Working with wild animal casualties for over 30 years I believed that I appreciated just how tough they really are.
But recently, to my own cost, I found out that they are even tougher than I had ever imagined.
This time it was not a wild animal casualty but yours truly that had ‘come a cropper’ falling foul of an accident putting me to shame when it came to stoicness.
I was setting up to give an illustrated talk to a full house of supporters in our Red Kite Centre.
Perhaps stressed but decidedly careless I managed to slip on a wet path crashing ignominiously down in a flurry of bulk and gravity onto the camera always slung over my shoulder. Luckily there were no onlookers so I could silently express my predicament with a few chosen words.
If I had been a wild animal, I would have picked myself up, dusted myself off and carried on as if nothing had happened.
Even with severe injuries that has to be their strategy – to show no weakness.
But how do they cope with the pain? I know I couldn’t and got Sue on the phone to ‘One, one, one’ for their pain relief. “Estimate your pain 1 to 10,” they asked. “Ten plus!” I replied. I was a wimp.
The paramedics soon got the measure of my injury.
“Broken ribs,” they said.
“That’ll keep you out of action for some time.”
“Is that all,” I thought. My animals seem to dismiss broken ribs as a mere scratch. How on earth do they do it? I couldn’t move.
Then there was that talk and the people who had travelled far and wide to sit through my discourse. I need not have worried. My ‘team’ phoned, called and intercepted where possible. Any supporters that did arrive were given special treatment and, of course, hot tea. The team were great. The visitors were great. And, by the way, my camera came through totally unscathed.