Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tril, you're so LAME. And you make ME feel lame. LAME!

Oof.  I suppose there is a reason the word meaning "crippled or physically disabled" has come to have slang meaning of "stupid, boring, and/or ridiculous"--because apparently the reason why horses go lame is "stupid, boring, and/or ridiculous."  I mean, seriously.

I have frequently said (and always only partially in jest) that Tril is like having a third son.  He is sweet, gregarious, and endlessly curious, exploring and conquering his world in his constant, innocent, hands-on investigations.

However, there is also a lot of:

"No, don't put that in your mouth."
"That's not a toy."
"That's not a toy either."
"Well, what did you think was going to happen?!"
"What the hell is that?"
"What did you do to yourself now?"
"How the heck did you hurt yourself there?"

Within a few months of owning Tril, I stopped worrying about the lumps and cuts I'd find on his legs. If he was sound, I shrugged it off.  Whereas my pretty, dainty, feminine grey mare rarely had a mark from the knees down, Tril frequently looks like he's been running through briar patches while wrestling baseball bat-wielding weasels.

I used to document every lump and bump, like this small one on the outside of his right (photo left) front leg, worried that he'd done something akin to that hideous (but asymptomatic) splint on the same leg.  But he was sound, so sigh and move on.
Aw, look at how cutely worried I used to be about itty bitty lumps

Once, as best I could gather, he got the leg straps of his new fly sheet up in his groin and sliced some very delicate territory like a giant, painful paper cut. "How the heck did you hurt yourself there?" What do you do with that except Bute him and leave him alone?  It's not like he's going to let me put antibiotic ointment there.  Then, there was the big rubbed-gash-like thing behind his elbow that as best I could gather was created by kicking himself getting up.

Then there was this:


Ow ow!
"What did you think was going to happen?"

Trilogy had been enjoying some turn out and grazing on the property when some firecracker shot up his butt, ignited, and sent him wheeling and bolting around a corner for no reason in particular.  He scrambled, fell, and skidded upside down a good six feet or so before righting himself, popping up and trotting away snorting and tail flagging like no one saw that, and if they did, he meant to do it.

Ow ow ow!
I had been cleaning his stall and saw the skid and was incredulous watching him slide, four limbs up in the air, and took all these photos for documentation.  Note the landing strip he created in the process:
I looked him over, cleaned and dressed his multiple wounds, gave him Bute, put his fly mask on to protect the scrapes on his face, snapped a final photo, shook my head, and went home for an adult beverage.

All.  Boy.  ALL boy.
Since then, he seemed to slowly learn his boundaries and how to not, oh, maim himself on his fly sheet/pipe corral poles/dirt/gravity/bubble wrap.

When I see his legs have marks, I check his soundness, shrug my shoulders, and move on.

His legs:

...look a bit like my 3yro son's legs:

Ask me where all those scrapes, bumps, rubs, and bruises came from.  On either of them.  Go ahead, ask.

I have NO idea.  But, they're not complaining, so...*shrug*

So, Monday when the farrier came and noticed Trilogy was lame at the walk when I led him out, I shrugged.  He was fine when I'd turned him out for a good run-off-the-crazies a few hours before, and figured he torqued something mid-yee-haw.  He was shod and trimmed and left to be.

Wednesday, I noticed he was still walking a bit off and asked a trusted friend with a damn keen eye to take a look (I always ask her, "Can I borrow your eyeballs?").  She noted he was slightly off on the same leg--the left front (white leg)--and helped me discover a little heat on the inside of that leg toward about midway down.  No noticeable swelling--well, nothing unusual for him--so I followed her suggestions of a little arnica on the heated area, wrapping his legs with bandages smothered in ichthammol to keep my mouthy boy from eating them, and of course...adding a little Bute to his grain bucket.

Tools of the trade
Be grateful this blog cannot capture the smell. It's like he slogged through the La Brea Tar Pits. 
His "I'm bored" face.  Too bad, Tril.  Deal.

"Hmm, wonder if I can somehow hurt myself WITH the wraps!"
I let him be then went back Friday to check on him, and I could not believe what I was seeing:

Yup.  He still had heat on the left front, but now he's lame on the right front.




I put in a call to the vet, who advised Bute, rest, and time. Of course. If it gets worse, doesn't improve, or comes back, it's probably time for me to have him come out and look a bit more thoroughly.  Of course.

And a little Quietex won't hurt in the meantime...of course.

Guess it's time to focus a bit more on Firefly's ground driving.
Never a lame step in the 8 years I've known her.
Of course.

Monday, February 4, 2013

F-you back surgeries, H1N1, busted ankle! I'm taking my body back!

As I respite on the couch following a long (but fulfilling) morning at the barn, I'm reflecting on how much my body has been through--and celebrating how much it can do, now.  

There are many, many others who have (and have had) it far worse, but admittedly, it's been a rough past three years or so physically. Hmm, past 7 years, really. I had back surgery in 2006 (shattered a disc giving birth to my first), then again in 2007.  That second time around was the most frightened I have ever been; the tough outer lining of the disc, all that was left of it, had herniated and had kinked the sacral nerve root like a garden hose.  

The pain was indescribable and incomparable.  I gave birth to my first with pitocin-augmented contractions and not a drop of pain medication of any sort, and I will do that every freakin' day over being in that sort of pain again.  

Surgery removed centimeter-sized chunks of material normally measured in millimeters--but unkinking that nerve provided immediate relief of the agony.  It took months of physical therapy to strengthen my atrophied body, but in time, I was riding again.  I have some arthritis and minor nerve damage, but it's nothing that even appears on my radar 95% of the time--and again, I will gladly take that in exchange for getting my life back.

Incidentally, an MRI of my spine appears in the book Shit My Kids Ruined, heh.  I'm under "V" for "vertebrae." 

Then in October 2009, I came down with H1N1 (the infamous "swine flu") while pregnant with my second.  Full disclosure: I was diagnosed, but not tested specifically for H1N1; they said it was the only flu that people were getting at the time, and they were treating everyone (especially pregnant ladies like me) with the assumption that that is what it was.  

This beast did the most lasting damage--I ran a fever for two weeks and my OB called me on a daily basis at home (!!!) to check on me.  I was still trying to go to work and actually tried to convince him to let me.  WTF, Laura??  He actually barked at me that old physician cliche, "No, you are NOT going to work--that is an ORDER!" <yes sir>

In the days after a c-section delivered my son (with my history, I was advised to avoid a vaginal birth, and they weren't about to give me a spinal; I was knocked out), I started coughing up nasty black stuff  that resembled contents of a dirty ash tray.  (Um, minus the cigarette butts.)  The specialist later said it was due to the medication I was given when I was intubated; all that gunk was sitting in the bottom of my lungs, and the medication--meant to dilate the respiratory tract--and intubation drudged it up.  YUMMY.  

I'd like to add, coughing that deeply and violently after abdominal surgery SUCKED.  Su-UCK-ed.

I was sent to a pulmonologist, amusingly yet appropriately named Dr. Leung, who had this peculiar way of interrupting me with active listening.   

"So what is going on?"

"Well, they think..."


"...I had H1N1 when I was..."

"Uh-huh, yeah..."

"...about 27 weeks pregnant with my son..."

"Yeah, okay..."

Oh...kay.  But hey, he was listening, and managed my case well, so...he can "uh huh, yeah, okay" in randomly timed non-pauses all he wants.

He warned at my first visit (uh huh) it would take 2 (yeah) years to recover (okay). I "Bah"-ed this--two years?  Psh, sure. Oh, but indeed--it was 2 years to the month after my diagnosis that he finally said my lungs were clear, and staying clear, and I could wean off the medication. A year into my recovery, I found myself in the ER; another time, I wound up in Leung's office getting a steroid shot in the "hip" (doctor speak for "butt") for an out-of-nowhere infection. A cold could send me from zero to bronchitis in 6 hours. 

Ugh. Wow, it sucked. I suppose it makes sense I was diagnosed with post partum depression in that phase, too.  But haven't I whined enough?  This is a bit uncomfortable for me--me, the over-sharer--because I've learned I need to just deal with what is given, and when need be, get some help with dealing.  Seriously, this is getting to be too  much.

(Um...well...I also busted my ankle last April, which put me in a cast for 6 weeks and a brace for 6 months.  It's stiff, but healing.  That story awaits another day; it involves a moment a supreme stupid with Trilogy, and it was alllllll my fault.)

Obviously, I cannot be trusted with gravity.  I'm like a horse that can impale themselves on bubble wrap.  "What the hell did you do to yourself NOW?"

All those years of medications (the steroids, in particular) and all that inactivity (I couldn't do anything because my lungs/back/whatever wouldn't allow it the majority of the time) meant the baby weight gained from baby #2 stuck. I'm only about 17lbs up from what I weighed on my wedding day, but I hate it.  Around November, I gave up, resigning myself to just being overweight and trying to make myself accept and own it. 

Then another epiphany came. We went to a campground this past Christmas, the same one we went to when youngest was barely one (and thus, I was just at the halfway point in my H1N1 recovery). I remembered going there that time and being winded--more than winded, just whole-body fatigued--walking up and down the main hill just to the kids' playground. Yet, this most recent visit, I realized I was able to walk everywhere. EVERYwhere. Up that hill, down that one, hiking that trail, going to that playground two times a day alone--PLUS all the other walking. 

It dawned one me, I can do this, and I couldn't before. It excited me to the point of tears.

So I've started 2013 using My Fitness Pal. I'm calorie counting and eating healthily, and prefer it. I've always had good eating habits; I just realized my portions were too large. 4.4lbs lost in the first 3 weeks.

Also helps that my riding horse is a hard mouth lazy boy. He makes me WORK to ride him--at least, to ride him so he's not just willy-nilly loosey goosey on the forehand. 

I hope to get down to my prepreggo-with-second-child weight, but more than anything, I just want to be healthy--and ENJOY being healthy. 

I feel like for the first time in years, I'  My neurosurgeon told me after my second back surgery to start physical therapy to "regain confidence in your body."  Yes, that was it completely.  My body had betrayed me, I'd felt.  In the years since, it has continued to confound, confuse, and frustrate me.

But now, now, I am exercising, walking, breathing, riding...I'm me.  Nice to have her back.