Healthcare and Horses

I can’t tell you how nice it is to receive so many letters of care here at the Bureau for Horse Recovery Center Institution Office and Sledding Museum. Everyone is so worried about Barbaro (the horse known for winning the 2006 Kentucky Derby, also known for inventing a new hair removal therapy), that we have received literally tens of letters of support. I also want to express extreme appreciation to all who have sent in money to help provide for his health care. In your letters you all acknowledged that since Barbaro was a horse (and thus only slightly human), he might not have enough funds saved for expensive surgery and recovery. And it means so much to us that you decided to give your hard earned money to him instead of something unimportant and fleeting, such as world peace, a better mouse trap, or salary raises for Congress, etc…
It’s true that Barbaro went through a very difficult procedure. His surgery lasted over six hours, taking the expertise of fifteen well-trained surgeons, thus costing over fifty-seven million dollars to complete. And that was just Sunday. For the next several months, this poor horse will undergo a series of very intense and painful (thus expensive) therapy sessions where the end result will be the ability to walk again, or at least a gentle trot. No matter the result of his recuperation, Barbaro will never race again. He is now retired and the focus for the rest of his days is being put out to stud. His owners will sell him out to high bidders so that he can impregnate young mares (known as female horses or heavy metal bands). That doesn’t sound like much of a retirement. He’ll be working harder than he ever has before, keeping all those fillies happy.

And it’s for that very reason we are spending so much time and money to make sure Barbaro has a full and complete recovery. If he is going to be what we in the horse world call “a male escort”, then he is going to need all his strength. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that each of us in the Bureau (HoMu for short) stands to make about sixty-two thousand dollars per hour. Of course it may seem that the healthcare business is stringing you along with high-priced promises of a full recovery while actually keeping you ill so that they can collect kickbacks from the drug companies, but it’s just an illusion. We are actually more interested in getting money from the insurance companies, not the drug reps.

I’m sure you don’t want to hear about your doctors, though; who by the way, I totally admire and respect. That is one industry that knows how to keep their client base. And it’s so simple; at any time they might need to “run some more tests” on you, thus turning your retirement account into their vacation fund. And what are you going to do—say no? You can’t do that, because the doctors are probably right. Have you ever tried to outsmart a doctor? It doesn’t work; they’ll just give you two bills and tell you to pay them in the morning. And don’t ever tell a doctor that they are wrong. One slip up like that will follow you for the rest of your life (that’s what medical records are for), making your average waiting time go from the length of the Jurassic age to eternity twice over.

Thankfully, that’s not the way it works for us in the veterinary field. Since animals have no concept of time, we can make them wait forever and they are content sniffing each other’s behinds and rolling around on the floor while trying to eat their tail. But you’re not interested in the waiting room habits of animals; you want to hear the details of Barabro’s condition. In layman’s terms Barbaro suffered a severe fracture of the right-hind leg bones known as the lower leg bone and the other lower leg bone. He did this by running in a race that he was expected to win, and about an eighth of the way through it, he landed on his leg awkwardly, thus snapping it nearly in half and speeding his pace up to about zero miles per hour. I guess he thought that was a good strategy to win the Preakness. It’s a good thing I only bet my car on him.

Yes, Barbaro has been in a lot of pain recently, but take solace in knowing that he is being taken care of by the best vets available (only thirteen of the fifteen surgeons bet on Barbaro for the race). We are confident that even though his chances of survival are currently only twelve percent, Barbaro will pull through. Let’s just hope none of his doctors took out a second mortgage on the race. And during the recovery phase, he will be working very hard to heal. This will include an intense schedule of sleeping, eating, and pampering for at least twelve to fifteen weeks. After of which, assuming he fully heals, he will return to his pasture and begin a lucrative career as a stud.

Therefore, we at the HoMu want you to be reassured that Barbaro will be just fine. He was a joy to work with and could tell a joke better than most dental practitioners. Don’t forget to come by and visit him, and while you’re here be sure to check out the sledding wing of the museum; there is a great exhibit called “Anatomy of a Tree Trunk”. You should stop by. Let’s all just band together and hope for the recovery of a beloved horse. Anyway, it’s been fun, but I’m going to let you go because one of the other surgeons just invited me over to his house for a special steak dinner. He said it’s a delicacy.

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