Seeing an old patient- Nicole Cummings

A series of posts from the 2009 trip, not published on the website before. Originally published at http://www.cbc.ca/pei/features/chinookproject/posts/seeing-an-old-patient.html

Thursday, May 21, 2009 | Posted by Nicole Cummings

We are just finishing up our second day at the clinic in Cambridge Bay, and so far it has been wonderful. The space we were given is large enough for us to run a surgery room and a separate wellness room.  Andy Traub and his wife, Millie, (Cambridge Bay organizers and hosts) have been great. They even bought us an entire case of Pepsi, which is better than gold up here (keep in mind thatone Diet Coke cost Dr. Carey $8.99)!

Amaroq, in 2007 discussing removing the large spindle cell tumour from her side.

Amaroq after surgery in 2007, and still doing well in 2009

The clinic here seems to be running pretty smoothly, with the majority of our patients stopping in for wellness appointments because it is nearly impossible to get vet care here. One owner told me she could only afford one trip to Yellowknife (the nearest big city, and a city with a vet) so she needed me to give her a list of things for her to discuss with a vet down there as far as dental work and diagnostic tests. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for this community to have to wait until a team of veterinarians can visit, in order to find help for a sick pet.  On a lighter note, we are getting pretty good at our surgery skills. Every day, I realize I am getting just a few seconds faster and more efficient in my techniques, and I know my fellow students feel the same. Hopefully our evaluators feel the same way too!

Last night, after a long day in the clinic, we made a house visit to vaccinate a dog team. There were five dogs, and one of the dogs, Amaroq, was seen last time the Chinook Project visited Cambridge Bay in 2007.  On that visit, Dr. Marti Hopson removed a large spindle cell tumor from the dog’s side.  Dr. Marti has heard reports that the dog was doing well, and we’ve now seen that for ourselves—Amaroq seems strong and healthy!   One of the other dogs was a large, muscular canine, which the owner said was half wolf—and I believe it.   Shawn cut the dog’s toenails, which means we will all be hearing him brag, “I cut the nails of a wolf!” for the rest of the trip!

We were all exhausted by the end of the day yesterday, but we wanted to treasure one of the last few nights we had together (cheesy, I know), so we stayed awake until 1am playing cards. Needless to say, it made for a rough 6am wake up call this morning!  Anyway, time to close up shop here at the clinic. Tomorrow is our last day here in Cambridge Bay, and it is hard to believe this trip is almost over.

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