November 13, 2010
Saint Augustine Amphitheater

St. Augustine, Florida

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Wildlife

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(ORGAN)

TR (ANNC): And now, Rainbow Motor Oil and the Rainbow family of automotive products brings you: Stanley Peterson Swamp Surgeon.

(ORGAN)

(VENTILATOR BREATHING, CLINK OF TOOLS)

GK: There it is, Maureen---- see ---- where the cartilage is all worn through in the gator's hip joint ---- give me the titanium joint, Maureen. The six-inch. I'm going to go in through the gluteus minimus and remove the krainis from the femur...

SS: Just a moment, Dr. Peterson. I'm trying to get the face mask a little tighter. It isn't really shaped for a gator's muzzle. 

GK: Take your time.

(GATOR MOAN)

SS:  We seem to be losing some of the anesthesia-----

GK: Well, we need him completely under, Maureen. Replacing the hip is going to be painful, even using minimally invasive techniques.

SS: Here you go doctor. The titanium joint. (CLINKS OF INSTRUMENTS, GATOR MOAN)

GK: This is going to be very delicate, Maureen. Just make sure the gator stays asleep.

SS: I am doing my best, Dr. Peterson.

GK: Antiseptic please, Maureen. I know you're doing your best. I just don't want to cause this animal any unnecessary pain.

(SQUIRT SQUIRT)

SS: The gator is not the only one experiencing pain, Dr. Peterson. There are many kinds of pain. A bad hip is one. I could mention others. The pain of a longing heart. A woman in love with a man oblivious to her very existence.

GK: I'll just turn on my head lamp here (CLICK, OWL HOOT, FLIES OFF). There. I can see the femoral stem ----- I'll put the replacement joint there ---- cement the polyethylene and this guy is going to be quicker than ever. Amazing creature, Maureen. The American alligator, a crocodilian, Alligator alligatoridae, from the Spanish word "el lagarto" which means lizard. A creature that has successfully adapted itself and so survived for 200 million years.

SS: Your knowledge of alligators is so vast, Dr. Peterson. Odd that you are clueless in so many other respects.

GK: I'll just make a small incision here.

SS: I used to date a veterinary podiatrist who trimmed the hooves of deer. I miss him. Somehow I wound up in the swamp.

GK: Orthopedic surgery has advanced so far in the past few years ---- now we seek to restore mobility to wild animals so they can escape from man... Make it possible for wild animals to be wild.  (INSTRUMENTS CLINK).

SS: Did you ever feel the urge to experience wildness yourself, Dr. Peterson?

GK: I don't know what you mean.

SS: We could find out.

GK: You mean, out in the swamp, with nobody else around.

SS:  ---except me. I'd be around. I'd be wild with you.

GK: I'm a swamp surgeon, Maureen. There's a clarity of purpose, a singularity of intent, that's so important in surgery. (SS SIGH, A BEAT) what are you looking at, Maureen?

SS (BREATHLESS): I was just looking at your hands. They're so purposeful. So—steady. 

(INSTRUMENTS CLINKING)
GK: I have to be very accurate in placing this titanium joint, otherwise this gator will walk with a pronounced limp. And I have to reduce the damage to soft tissue. Some surgeons use computer guidance systems, I like to have personal contact with the animal.

SS: I love it when you say "soft tissue". And "personal contact." I love it when you say "animal." Oh doctor-----

GK: What are you doing?

SS: What does it look like I'm doing? I'm holding your hand.

GK: Maureen, there's an alligator here in need of a new hip joint. I need to do surgery. I've got him all anesthetized...

SS: Doctor?

GK: Yes?

SS: It's not a him. It's a her — look.

GK: Oh, you're right, Maureen.

SS: What else don't you know?

GK: Please, Maureen.

SS: You're doing it wrong, Doctor Peterson. That articular interface doesn't go in there. It goes in there.

GK: You mean the ball and socket----

SS: You've got it turned around.

GK: Oh, you're right. I'm afraid you distracted me.

SS: I'll distract you even more later----- here, let me finish the operation for you. Scraper.

GK: Scraper.

SS: Polyethylene pad.

GK: Here you go.

SS:  You were about to attach the gator's leg to her butt, Doctor. Good I stepped in. Lucky for you there's no malpractice liability with alligators.

GK: I'm so embarrassed. A surgeon needing his nurse to do the operation for him.

SS: Happens all the time, Doctor.

GK: How humiliating. 

SS: You need me.

GK: Don't tell anybody about this. Promise?

SS: There. All done. Hip replaced. Let's go wash up and get to know each other.

GK: Maureen-----

(ORGAN)

TR (ANNC): Rainbow Motor Oil and the Rainbow family of automotive products has brought you: Curtis Fernhedge, Wildlife Podiatrist.

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