Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The pain of loving

I think that the pain of loving people and critters is immense. The pain that having that love opens you up to is beyond my capacity with these frail words to describe.

Spoiler alert - don't worry, so far as I know, everyone is fine. I just had a brush with the loss of my horse and need to talk about it with you.

My mare Kyra had a bout with colic about 3 months ago. It was a sudden onset colic and the vet just happened to be there taking care of one of the other horses at the barn. She gave her a pain killer and a sedative and said to call her if she didn't come right. It was her first time ever that I am aware of of her having colic and I missed most of it. But she came right and was eating and I chose not to call the vet back.

I've had her since she was about 9 months and she is now 11 years old. I spent most of that time recovering from the car accidents, so she is not gentled to saddle but has really great barn manners as the only thing I've been able to do with her is ground work.

So last night after work, we were planning on cleaning the house, then I was looking forward to a quiet night smiting monsters on the XBox 360. I get a call from Rick that Kyra has refused food and is laying down. Both of which are really unusual for her.

My body goes all over pins and needles and I feel like really light-headed. My stomach flips over and I feel sick. I have no idea how other people react to sudden bad news. I've had a fair amount of sudden bad news in my life and I don't have much capacity to deal with things anymore. I would like less bad news, please.

I get my husband and we drive out to the farm. I need to say at this time that prior to the colic a few months before, I have only one experience with colic and that was violent, horrible, and fatal to my gelding. I keep trying to be positive on the drive out.

I have always beat myself up for not calling the vet earlier with my gelding. I have promised myself to not let money get in the way of good care of my loved ones. So after we get to the farm and look at her, I call the vet. It's about an hour before dark. The on-call vet is about 45 minutes away so we sit and wait as the sun sets and it gets dark.

Kyra is laying down and resting for most of this time. I know the movies say to walk the horse with colic, but she is so tired that I don't want to bother her as long as she is quiet.

Once the vet gets there and examines her, we decide to proceed. Kyra gets the pain killer and sedation again. The vet puts on a plastic glove that goes all the way up to her armpit and does a rectal exam. Yikes. She then puts a tube up my horse's nose and checks her stomach for too much fluid. It's all pretty horrible. There's lots of various secretions and a very big unhappy horse.

Nothing comes back as a definitive type of colic.

So I need to watch her. Every 2 hours. When she poops, she gets to eat a bit of hay. If she gets worse I have to call the vet and we will decide what to do then. But that is most likely big $$.

So we drive home and pack a bag. My husband agrees to come with me. He is not horsey but is supportive. I could have done it alone, but I am better when I am with him. If it went really bad, I didn't want to face it alone. He was there all the way when my gelding died.

Rick had set up the little bunkhouse for us and we settled in. I set my phone alarm for every 2 hours and we went to bed. I am not a good sleeper in the best of situations so this was not a night I got any sleep. I checked on her and she eventually did poop a bit and got some hay which she was excited about. Then 2 hours later, she had poop a bit more and got more hay. And so on. She did pretty well through the night.

We came on home in the morning and started work. I talked with the vet and we decided that I should get some tests done. So I collected samples and drove them up to the vet college up north. We will know more tomorrow.

I haven't gotten any rest today but am looking forward to getting some tonight. If my stomach lets me. It keeps taking the brunt of my stress. And sometimes I am fine and other times I am very much less than fine.

She seems to be doing fine. Eating, having a normal roll and shake, hanging out. She doesn't look as alert as she normally does, but I can imagine last night was pretty awful for her as well.

But I am here to say that the pain of loving is worth it for the joy of having them in my life. I'm just really tired and not very brave right now.


Jester Jay: Jason Goldman said...

"Hang in there" is hollow advice, but sometimes it's all you can do. You'll be in my thoughts.

Jennwynn said...

Big HUGS, Spike! I'll be thinking of you -- and her. She's been my big experience with horsey beauty, and she's got a lot of that going for her.

Spike said...

Thanks, Jester. So far, so good. I am hoping to hear about the tests today. Thanks for the hugs, Jennwynn. I got some sleep and it's been raining which was really nice to sleep to. Hoping for another good day.

Monica said...

What is it, the weather this week? Bad week for colic so far. I'm pulling for you that the tests can show something definitive, but our experience with colic is that it is such a range of conditions some are never understood. That her appetite came back is a very good sign that's shes well on the mend.


Ted Manahan said...

I recently enjoyed the last bottle of the gruit you brewed a couple years ago. The wormwood (?) was still a bit strong, but overall it has mellowed into an enjoyable brew. Fun stuff!

I shared a bottle of your braggot with my son last week. It was delicious!