Heat. Sick.

Feeling bad today. Stomach stress and literally falling asleep randomly. No COVID, so my social life didn’t kill me. Glad for those free test kits. I think I’ve just tried to do too much outside the past few days.

Me and Carlton. Zonked.

I’m sure I’ll be better tomorrow. At least I picked colors for our next renovation project and look forward to a bigger project coming soon. More details soon!

Why I couldn’t take a nap. Four howling dogs and one trying to escape. Look at Alfred!

It really needs to rain here. Even with the pool, it’s getting to us all. The horses just stand in the shade. The dogs lay around the house. The people do their best. I just feel icky. Sleep should do the trick, and electrolytes.


Creature of the Day. Large wolf spider. Now outdoors.

Horse Home but Not Happy

Drew’s stay in the equine ICU was not his idea of a good time. He was in a weird smelling place, though at least he had a buddy there. And oh, the indignity, they made him wear a muzzle that prevented him from eating the shavings on the floor. What’s a hungry boy to do?

I didn’t take pictures of his sad state, so here’s the lobby of the place.

The caregivers did great. His lungs look a bit worse, so he has to cone back next week. Glad it’s only 40 minutes away.

Here’s where he stayed. It’s a separate ICU and treatment building.

Drew was happy to get out of there. I was not surprised at the bill, but yow. We went home with stomach coating stuff in pill form that he is supposed to take 8 of, three times a day. He also has medication to keep him calm and antibiotics. I have to feed him probiotics, too. That I already had. Argh. This will be a learning curve!

At least we had a nice sunset, though it might have been caused by all the awful fires.

We got him home late, but I gave him some goopy food that he loved. He has to be in his pen for a week. He will not like that. Poor Droodles.

Pour me.

This morning was challenging. I tried to crush his pills in the food processor but I apparently don’t know how to work it. The blender worked, though, so I made it up and took it to his muddy pen.

Ta da.

My main learning is that I need to put a halter on him to hold his head, and that a helper would sure be useful. Too bad there isn’t one! I ended up sorta getting him to lick it off my hand. He’s so sweet. Sigh. I have to give that stuff, then feed an hour later. Moral: glad I work from home.

I’d prefer food. Even soupy food.

I’m sure I’ll get better at all this. And the sun is out after another stormy night. Rain is good!

Animals are hard.

Horses are expensive.

I love Drew.

Horses Can’t Vomit, Just Ask Drew

Sometimes being the guardian of a companion animal is scary as heck. One minute you’re admiring how healthy your animal is and the next minute you’re hoping they aren’t dying.

How healthy this horse looks! No more ribs sticking out.

Right after I took this picture, something startled him or he took too big of a mouthful and he started coughing. That got me concerned. I tried to get him to drink some water, which was hard because the hose was behind some stuff. I mentally berated myself for feeding him where there was no water available and for not wetting his food enough.

Breathe and enjoy the sunset reflected on the Tahoe on our way home.

Then his food started coming out of his nose. I was trying to figure out what it was he had, and all I could say was he was SICK! I texted Tarrin and asked if it could be choke, once I remembered the name of it, and she said to get him to the vet.

I called the Texas Equine vets, thrilled they have emergency service. Lee got me there really fast. I’m so grateful for his support and patience after I was crying and worried. But we got Drew there in time!

Thanks, Mom and Lee. The wet area is from his ultrasound.

The vets and assistant were great. So was Drew. He walked into the treatment room like he always does it. He stood quietly for all the treatments, which looked pretty icky. He was sedated, of course, which relaxed him.

See, I’m relaxed.

Lee had never seen some of the procedures, so he got quite an education. When they put the twitch on Drew’s nose he was surprised! Drew was fine with it. He was very good when they ultrasounded his lungs. He didn’t seem to have aspirated much, if any, good. That’s good, since pneumonia is a common consequence of choke.

Before any gross stuff came out.

And the procedure for clearing the blockage was fascinating but messy. They pumped water up a tube, which came out along with stuck food. The good news is that I got him there quickly, so the stuff was fresh.

Going in.

It seemed to take forever to get the blockage cleared. The tube went farther and farther down. Horses have very long esophaguses. Drew was a real trooper.

After they were sure he was clear, they put in some oil to test that things are going through. We decided to leave him there overnight in case he colics, which is another possible consequence of choke. I sure wish horses could barf. That would have solved the problem.

More sunset to recover with.

I was so worried. Drew looked miserable with all that stuff coming out of him. At least I figured out what it was and that it was serious. The vets said sometimes people wait a long time before bringing the horse in, which can be bad. I’m sure grateful for the kind and competent staff at the facility. I love this little guy so much and just want him healthy and happy.

Kathleen was telling me that when Mabel choked last year, it was on similar food. And Tarrin said she’s had horses get into cattle cubes recently. Luckily they cleared theirs. I guess this isn’t as uncommon as I thought. But wow, there went what had been a great day so far!

Lee and I enjoyed our sunset coming home, though. And I’m feeling better after the support of my horsey friends and neighbors. Y’all rock.

Am I Falling Apart?

Hmm, haven’t whined about things that aren’t really earth-shattering lately. I’ll fix that. And I’ll share random photos, because I don’t have a theme.

Distraction! These darling little guys are Inca doves. They hang out near our carport at the Hermit Haus.

Generally, I’m a pretty healthy person. I have the occasional ache or pain, thanks to having been alive for so many trips around the sun, but really, I’m pretty good. Even the doctor said I was healthy “for someone your age.”

Unhappy left hand.

I’m wondering, though, if perhaps dealing with the undercurrent of stress for the past couple of months is starting to take its toll on my physically. It’s nothing major, but a lot of my former stress-related physical symptoms have been quietly manifesting themselves.

For example, I have started to get these very itchy little fluid-filled bumps all over my hands and arms. I used to get them a LOT when I was in college, especially during the summers when I spent 8 hours a day sanding pieces of fiberglass (printed circuit boards) by hand, or breathing chemicals that plated metal to said pieces of fiberglass. Guess who had no mask or gloves? Me.

Unhappy right hand. Also with dewberry scratches.

I thought it was bits of fiberglass getting under my skin, but as I got older, I realized I broke out when dealing with long-term stress (bad relationships, bad jobs, deaths in the family, divorces). Here they are today, itching like mad.

And I suddenly can’t walk right! Out of the blue, when I was walking home from feeding the horses, my left foot began to hurt with every step. It feels like I strained a tendon or something. I kept waiting for it to go away all evening, but nope, it’s still hurting. This is NOT the foot upon which the large light fixture landed earlier in the week. That bruise is not bad. But, what the heck, I didn’t trip, fall, drop something…nothing.

Perhaps it’s the non-matching shoe/sock combo? But these shoes are the kindest ones to my feet.

And then there’s the twitching. My eye has been twitching since February, so I guess it’s not a virus issue. I think it has been the underlying stress from starting a new company and worrying about the company I already work for (I was really worried my boss would lose his job, with good reason). Eye twitches are so annoying. It feels like everyone on earth can SEE them, even though as far as I can tell, they can’t.

Distraction! this cool lizard lives in the wildflower bed.

One symptom I’m not having, thanks to my friends the anti-anxiety meds, is what used to be constant for me, which was a really strong tingling going down the back of my neck. It used to be worse when dealing with certain friends and family members, but hardly went away at all during the 80s and early 90s. Yay, I’m cured. Now my neck just stays tense. I miss the chiropractor!

Look who’s fitting right into our household! Gracie Lou is not intimidated by Penney.

I guess I should be glad I don’t have the symptom so many of my family have had, which is horrible digestive issues. (I only have MILD ones, thanks to all my probiotics, I guess.) And I’m not getting bad headaches, which is good. And of course I’d rather have annoying stress symptoms than get put on a ventilator or have a stroke, like people with COVID-19 have.

Distraction! Light fixtures I sorta helped Chris put together while we wait for the electricians to show up.

What’s going on with you? Any weird symptoms out of nowhere? Do you also have dozens of mosquito bites on your feet, because you were helping someone put together light fixtures while wearing sandals? (That’s another reason why I am wearing shoes and socks: scratching prevention.)

TMI? Hey, that’s how I roll.

Who, Me? Hypochondriac? Paranoid?

What in the world would lead me to say this? Well, things have just been a bit…unbalanced this week. I’ve felt a little “off” all week, and have done some really goofy things that aren’t like me.

This is the can of delicious water that didn’t want to go in my mouth.

The biggest example is suddenly forgetting how to drink a beverage. I was sitting in my living room, watching television or reading, and I was really thirsty for that cold, fresh lemon-flavored water I’d gotten out of the refrigerator. So, while still focused on my other task, I picked it up and briskly poured it into my lap.

That certainly surprised the dog. But, really, I forgot how to put a drink to my lips? It’s like my body had a glitch. Of course, once that happened, I’ve been alert to any other motor-skills issues, so when I trip and almost fall on a tiny raised part of a sidewalk, drop what I’m carrying, etc., I think, “Oh no, I’m getting some disease.”

Vlassic took to his (my) bed to recover from my oddness.
Continue reading “Who, Me? Hypochondriac? Paranoid?”

Guest Post: Donkey Mayhem

by Mandi Shuffield

All of you who are following the woes of Fiona the mini donk already know that she has been dealing with a list of ailments (one, I really wonder about as far as accuracy in diagnosis goes) for a couple of weeks now. I’m going to recap just a bit, and explain why I’m involved at all in this.

I worked on a horse farm with many horses all at once, from the time I was 14 until I was 28. Before that, I grew up in the saddle with my Pa. When you deal with that many horses at a time, someone is always injured. Sometimes it isn’t bad, other times, it can be severe. I’ve seen simple scrapes, bone breaks, one stallion who put a T post through his chest and had to have wound care for months, colic, mares struggling with birth, abscesses on all parts of the body, mild and severe hoof problems, etc. I sure haven’t seen it all, but I have seen a lot!

Here’s my horse, Ricci, who I nursed back from a long illness.

I learned how to make first aid items from scratch in the field to save a life and stop bleeding. I’m fairly confident in what I can do. I also know when I need more help, a second opinion, or I do not have the tools/gear/equipment to handle a situation. 

How I helped Fiona

I originally felt like Fiona’s foot was trimmed too short. With the gap that developed in the way that white line disease (hoof wall separation, seedy toe) does, I felt like she may have developed that.

There is no conclusive evidence as to what exactly causes white line disease. Theories go from poor diet, wet/humid climate, soft feet, trimming the toe too short, injury/abscesses, and the list goes on. What the veterinary world has seen is that there will be horses and donkeys that develop this disease that do not fall into one category, or it seems to come out of nowhere. It develops on healthy feet in dry climates as well, although it is not as common.

Fiona’s foot

It is characterized by the gap in the hoof wall that was shown in the picture, and the gray, crumbling of the soft tissue behind the outer wall. Fiona had that, but she also had a bulge under the foot that seemed like she couldn’t stand flat on it. The cold water treatment probably helped by relieving the inflammation. Horses and donkeys typically do not become lame from white line until it becomes severe and the cannon bone begins to shift down. 

Continue reading “Guest Post: Donkey Mayhem”
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