An Interview with Brunswick
by Karen Sota
Sota: Brunswick, do you
have a minute?
Brunswick: Do you have an appointment?
KS: No, but I have squid.
B: Then come on in!
KS: Uh – thanks but I’ll just stand. I was
here the day
you arrived last July – right in the middle of our open house. Talk
making a grand entrance.
B: And I thought all those people came to
It was a long, hot ride from the Brunswick power plant in the back of
Nelson’s truck. I really gave Mr. Chuck a hard time, but he sure knows
handle turtles. He calmed me down and got me here safely.
KS: He’s a very nice man who really cares
turtles. He’s made that long trip many times to bring us a patient,
recently Southport. What were you
doing at the power plant,
B: Just resting for a bit. My left rear
feel right. I thought I’d find a place to lie down so I could take a
look at it
and figure out why it hurt so much.
KS: It hurt because it was nearly severed,
fishing line or a propeller. But that didn’t stop you from thrashing
trying to kick me. I was afraid you’d kick the end of your flipper
B: I was really scared. If I had known
about all the
great care I was going to get here I would have been more cooperative.
KS: Your medical care has been exceptional.
I was at
the vet school with Bay a few weeks ago
when your surgeon, Dr.
tracked me down specifically to ask about you.
B: He’s a miracle worker! He really
reptiles, and he pulled out all the stops to save my flipper. As he was
explaining the whole procedure to Ms. Jean I was thinking, “wow, he did
that for me!”
KS: Explain “all that.”
B: After he debrided my wound he discovered
was still a blood supply running through a small tab of skin. That was
thing. Here’s the really cool part: he made me new tendons out of
material! He drilled holes in the
bones on both sides of my wound. Then he threaded my new “tendons”
holes and pulled the bones together.
B: The man is a genius. But he still had
lots of work
to do, suturing the edges of the wound back together, layer by layer,
inside out. I had so many sutures in me I was practically a
of a sea turtle.
KS: That many sutures can sometimes present
for you, and for us. Sutures don’t dissolve in sea turtles like they do
humans. That might have led to abscesses if we hadn’t been so vigilant
keeping your wound clean.
B: I know I wasn’t the most cooperative
turtle, but I really
did try not to bite and kick anybody during those endless months of
medication and cleanings. As I healed those sutures just kept popping
porcupine quills. I know how hard it was for you to find them with me
and pouting. I apologize for being such a pain.
KS: We apologize, as humans, for having
caused you all
that pain. It was a slow process, and at one point we were concerned
healing had stopped. We decided to leave you alone and let nature work
magic. Sure enough, a few weeks later the top of the flipper was about
healed and the bottom was 80% healed.
B: What a relief – I though you had all
because I had done something to make you mad at me.
KS: Well, now you’re 100%. As it turns out,
important that Dr. Grafinger’s cutting-edge skills saved your flipper.
have taken the easy way out and just amputated it.
B: But he didn’t, and now you tell me it’s
KS: We’ve noticed that your “feminine side”
dominant. A lady turtle will have a much easier time digging and
nest with two rear flippers. Did you know you’re in the books
only sea turtle to have this type of procedure?
B: Again – wow. I love Dr. Grafinger. I
feels the same way about him. He shows off his flipper all the time.
KS: Brunswick, any thoughts before you leave
B: I’m really grateful this hospital
exists; it gave
me a second chance at life. I’m going out there and make you all proud
having lots and lots of strong turtle babies. No offense, but I just
don’t have to come here.
KS: I understand. Thanks, Brunswick. You’re