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Hens and Office Politics

My elbow hurts. It is officially tennis elbow. I do play tennis, although not recently due to my elbow's constant ache. It could be farmer's elbow. I do way too much with my right side -- tossing hay bales, moving manure, fixing my barn, muscling in on my garden's endless woes. And I tend to cram too much of it into one day. It could also be blogger's elbow. I don't think the trackpad is my friend. And I have been overdoing it a bit lately.

So I went to the tennis/farmer/blogger elbow specialist. Once I made it through the waiting room to the exam room, I was relieved. The two women who manage the office -- its appointments, cancellations, billing and operations -- were bickering. Loudly. One contradicted the other. One undid what the previous one did. It was stressful. Safely in the quiet exam room, I waited and forgot about them.

Enter the doctor. He shook his head. I thought he could see how bad my elbow was without even looking at it. He said to me, rubbing his bald head with both hands, "You have a farm. What do you do when the animals misbehave?" We had a laugh. Then, as he examined and prodded my elbow and the muscles, tendons and nerves that lead in and out of it, we talked about hens. When you get new hens, I told him, you lock them in the coop together so they can work out the pecking order. At the end of a few days (of course you check them and make sure they have food and water), they have their pecking order worked out. If not, more days. In my coop, it is obvious that one hen goes last. She picked the short straw.

On my next visit, the receptionists were better. Focused on the patients. Not bickering. I asked the doctor what he did. He said, "I took your advice and locked them in a room together to sort it out."

XOXO Farm Girl

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