James Herriot, a British veterinarian of the last century, tells a story about a cow that had ingested some wire, which would have to be removed. The vet performing the operation was on a big kick about cleanliness and presentation, so he arrives at the farm in new, sharp clothes and then dons a “brilliantly white smock.” He has his assistants lay out all the polished tools of surgery on brand new metal trays. The farmer asks if he can watch, and the vet is only too glad to show off for an audience.
He cuts through skin and muscle and arrives at the cow’s first stomach (they have four). Before he can cut open the stomach, it bulges out through the opening in the skin. He presses it back in, but it comes out again, bigger! The vet suspects gas is causing the stomach to expand. They go back and forth several times, with more stomach coming out each time, until finally it is so large outside the cow that he can barely hold it with both arms wrapped around it, and it’s at his eye level! It takes two men to wrestle the thing down, at which point the vet quickly makes his cut.