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Shell Shocked: CROW is for wildlife, remember that

By Staff | Oct 8, 2019

Art Stevens

I sprained my ankle one day and my friends, who aren’t familiar with Sanibel, took me to CROW. They must have misread the website in their desire to get me immediate help. They thought CROW was a walk-in clinic for people.

I was in a lot of pain and didn’t take part in the decision. I was just happy they found somewhere to take me and alleviate my pain. I was wincing from pain during the drive and had my eyes shut. When I opened them, I was on a table with two young interns peering down at me. They looked puzzled. I looked around and saw turtles and birds in small cages covered with bandages.

What the hell, I thought, where exactly am I? My friends thought CROW stood for “Care and Relief Of Woe” instead of “Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife.” One of my friends was talking to an intern. “He’s got a terribly sprained ankle and needs instant care. He’s in a lot of pain. Please help him.”

The two interns looked nervously at each other. “Don’t you know that this is CROW?” one of the interns said to my friends.

“I don’t care if it’s EAGLE, just help my friend.”

The intern said, “If he had a broken wing, we could be of far greater help to your friend.”

“What in the world are you talking about?” my friend said. “What wing? Can’t you see that his ankle is severely sprained? He needs help.”

The intern stammered: “The veterinarian will be here any moment. He’ll know how to handle this.”

My friend said: “A veterinarian? Why would a walk-in clinic have a veterinarian on staff? I keep telling you that he has a sprained ankle and needs help. Do something.”

The two interns were perspiring through their white smocks. They walked around me and saw how much pain I was in. One said, “We’re trained in avian medicine.”

My friend said, “I don’t care if you received your medical degree from Witch Doctor University. Just help my friend.”

The intern said: “We’ll need to follow avian health procedures. So the first thing we need to do is to measure your friend’s foot span. Plus, we’ll need to get out a grinding tool, which is used for the grinding of beaks and nails.”

My friend said: “He’s got an average size nose. Why would you need to grind it? It’s his ankle, not his nose.”

There was something wrong. Rabbits, raccoons, birds and God knows what else were chirping, screaming, barking and hissing. My ankle was throbbing badly and I thought for a moment that I was hallucinating.

“Please,” I said. “I’m in a lot of pain. Can’t you give me something for the pain?”

One of the interns said, “We’ll need to do some basic hematology. Get out the microhematocrit tubes, both the heparinized one and the non-heparinized one. And get the incubator ready.”

My friend said: “What’s going on here? Incubators are for newborn babies, not a victim of a sprained ankle. Do you guys know what you’re doing? Isn’t this a walk-in clinic?”

The interns looked at each other. “Yes, but “

“No buts,” my friend said. “Just get on with it.”

One of the interns sighed deeply and said, “We’ll need Avicalm Calming Supplement, which we use for screamers, plucking your own feathers or for aggressive biting. And we may need to clip his toes.” He turned to face me. “Sir, you are a mammal, aren’t you?”

Before I could even venture a response to the most unlikely question I’d ever been asked, an elderly gentleman entered the room. The interns turned to him and said, “Dr. Smith, we have a dilemma. We’ve been trained to save the lives of wildlife, but we have no training for the visitor on the table.”

Wildlife, I thought to myself? Yes, I may have had a wild life but what bearing does that have on a sprained ankle.

The doctor scanned the room and a slight smile crossed his face. He bent over me and said, “Unless you’re a prince who turns into a frog, we can’t help you here.”