Oh, the things I learn at work. Yeah, those of you who know me, you read that right, WORK. As in, JOB. As in, what I haven’t had in 19 months. I finally got hired by a CRO (clinical research organization), as a...ahem...drug safety specialist for a big, posh company that shall go unnamed, but that is so big and posh it shuts down for a week at Christmas. It’s in Ft. Worth, which is over an hour’s commute each way for me, and it’s more than a little corporate...think Office Space...but I’m a contract worker, meaning if I don’t like it, I can simply not renew in 6 months, when my contract’s up, and go on to something else. In the meantime, I’ve plugged that ugly gap in my resume, and I’m doing something new and interesting.
I’m being trained by a pharmacist, one of many employed by this company. This one happens to be a zappy woman, just 2 years older than I am. She also happens to own a horse. Today, when I walked into her office to ask her something, she was on the phone. She waved me in, and as I stood there, waiting, I overheard her trying to talk her veterinarian into making a house call.
"Can’t you please come out?" she asked. "He really needs to be seen, and I just don’t know how I’d bring him in...yes...ah, yes, I see. I understand. Ok, I’ll think about it and try to figure something out. Thank you."
She hung up the phone and sighed. "I’ve got to bring my horse in," she said, "and I don’t know how I’m going to do it. He absolutely refuses to get into the horse trailer, but he needs to have his..." She stopped, and looked at me. "How much do you know about horses?" she asked.
"Nothing at all," I admitted.
Her eyes crinkled into a wicked smile. "Then you don’t know about Removing the Bean?" she asked.
"Haven't a clue," I said. "You’ve lost me, what’s the bean?"
She proceeded to tell me. Sheesh, and I thought I’d heard almost everything, working for 5 years in a department of psychiatry. I was so wrong.
It seems that male horses, almost all male horses, have a problem with...ahem...smegma. If you don’t know what smegma is, click on the link. Do I have your attention now? Ok, so here’s the thing...male horses have rather large, uh...parts...and apparently can produce prodigious amounts of smegma. Over time, it dries, and accumulates in various parts of the male horse’s rather vast and mysterious Male Horse Anatomy, including not only the outer and inner parts of his, uh...sheath...and also the top of his, uh, member...but also...and herein lies the problem, so to speak...the dried smegma accumulates in a small pouch just inside the urethra, and that small, smegma-filled pouch is known as "the Bean". I am not making this up! Ultimately, this causes problems for the horse, and ultimately, the Bean has to be removed.
This is the 21st century. It’s about a hundred degrees outside, but my house is pleasantly cool. I’m sitting comfortably in my gameroom, writing at a keyboard that transmits my words to a computer screen, and then on to my blog, where people whom I don’t know, from all over the world, can read them if they come across them. If I walk into my kitchen, I can get ice from the door of my refrigerator...well, that’s wishful thinking...actually I can’t, because the icemaker’s broken...but you get my point. To quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracles and wonders..."
And yet, when a male horse accumulates too much smegma in his nether parts, the solution is quite primitive. It involves a hose, water, a lubricant, some gloves, and a human hand. Uh-huh, that’s right. If you doubt me, you can read all about it, here. How often the bean has to be removed varies from horse to horse. With some horses it’s once a month, with other horses, once a year.
It turns out that although my friend loves horses, she didn’t know this. She found out about it last week, when a farrier, working on the horse’s hoofs, noticed that the horse was...letting it all hang out, so to speak. The farrier, a tiny woman of 70, asked, when was the last time the bean had been removed. It turns out my friend has owned the horse for over 5 years, and because she was unaware that this could even happen, in all that time, the horse has never had anyone get up close and personal with his parts, to Remove the Bean.
The farrier, experienced in performing this procedure and feeling sorry for the horse, offered to do the deed then and there. My friend watched, fascinated, as the farrier donned gloves, only to have her hand and part of her arm disappear from sight as she proceeded to soap and clean the horse’s inner and outer sheath. The bean, though, untouched for over 5 years, was too large to be removed by the farrier, who said it’s so big that she believes the horse will have to be anaesthetized for the procedure.
Thus the call to the vet, asking if he makes house calls.
Wow. Dunno what it is, but wherever I work, I always end up having the most interesting conversations.