Lived Through This

My Family’s Tender Language of Blood and Gore

Thanks to my dad’s profession, the unmentionables were part of regular conversation

Courtney Christine Woods, LSW
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readMar 21, 2021

--

Microscopic view of human cancer cells.
Photo: PansLaos/Getty Images

I had to get used to unmentionable subjects as a kid, because body fluids and odd animal injuries were discussed over dinner the way some people talk about weather or distant relatives.

My dad is a country veterinarian and took emergency calls in the kitchen; pretty much everything was on the proverbial table. I have a distinct memory of my dad cutting his steak while assessing a client’s cow’s prolapsed uterus, the long, twisty phone cord draped around two of his children’s chair backs. We kids kept eating, kept up our chatter, but Mom put her fork down in disgust. And protest. She’d heard it all a million times — they’d been married since before vet school — but she continued to pull faces in hopes that civility would someday reign.

We did talk about the weather, especially as it related to growing crops, and about relatives too, especially their medical maladies. My family is a veterinarian family. My dad’s brother and his wife are vets too, as will be my younger brother when he graduates. The rest of the family on that side are doctors and nurses, but probably they wanted to be vets first. After all, the saying goes…

--

--

Courtney Christine Woods, LSW
Human Parts

Storyteller, social worker, solo parent. Fan of triads and alliteration. Believer that we’re all out here doing our best. Find me on FB @courtneycwrites