Thursday, October 1, 2009

Time Warp

This is Northern Nevada's one week of fall, which is actually a generous amount of time. Usually, we go straight from summer right into winter and skip fall all together. Last night I blanketed the horses, because it dropped down to 25-degrees, which was just too large of a drop in temperature from something in the 50's or 60's that we were seeing at night the previous week. This week it has been in the 50's, 60's, and 70's during the day. There was snow on the mountaintops yesterday morning, and snow is expected at the end of the weekend.

I was happy to discover that I didn't have to retrain or desensitize any of the horses to blankets. They remembered the routine as soon as I brought the blankets out of the tack room and started shaking them out. I really appreciate not having to get a halter to hold the horses still while I attach and detach their blankets. They know that as soon as I reach for that blanket, they have to hold stock still and wait until I'm done.

I've been under a huge amount of stress lately. You're thinking, "What else is new?" in your sarcastic voice. "Nuz Muz is always under stress." I agree. What makes this unusual is that people have been commenting that they can visibly see that my body is reacting to the stress. I was worried that it might weaken my immune system. Then a coworker came around to everyone's desks to forewarn us that his son had the H1N1 virus, which means we've probably all come into contact with it since he took care of his son while he was sick. His son actually came down with it ten weeks ago and is fine now, so we figured we were safe.

Then this morning I woke up with a raging cold. It's already into my lungs. How can that happen that fast? I was fine yesterday. I made sure I closed the windows so that cold air didn't blow on us during the night. I think this turn in the weather was enough to take advantage of my body in its weakened state. I'm borderline as far as how I feel. Since I work from home most days I don't have to worry about infecting others, so what decides whether I take a sick day or not is how I feel. I'd kind of like to just crawl back under the covers, but I made it through a week of work with the flu not so long ago. It's funny how I can tolerate the flu, but a common cold kicks my butt.

I'm hoping that I won't see a single fly again until next summer. Yesterday a fly kept dive-bombing me while I was trying to work. It was too fast for the fly swatter, so I sprayed flying insect killer all over the place and like a monster in the movies, that fly just would not die. Normally, we don't use fly poison indoors, because everyone can't stand the smell and I don't want the dogs or us breathing it in, but I was desperate. I figured what's a little poison on top of all the sawdust and brick dust? I don't even want to know how many weeks of work it is going to take to get this house clean after the kitchen remodel.

Oh, I spoke too soon. It looks like the indoor flies survived the cold night. Oh well, you can win 'em all.

In other news, Gabbrielle began ripping off her bandages within 12 hours of me putting them on, so I decided to just protect her with Swat and antibacterial ointment. I stopped using the cayenne pepper and Vaseline mix because it wasn't exactly working. You're supposed to rub that on the wrap to keep the horse from biting off its wrap, however, the Vaseline was so wet that it dissolved the sticky part of the bandaging, and the bandaging just started unrolling on its own. The funny thing is that I could tell that Gabbrielle did not like that cayenne pepper, because she got to the point where she would push my hand away with her nose when I'd try to apply the mix. If that didn't work, she'd move her leg around to evade my hand.

I'm pretty sure that the pink bleeding bubble that was sticking out of her knee was a blister from me leaving that particular set of bandages on too long, because once I started changing the bandages every day, it looked like it was healing better. Sometimes I think that good clean air is the best bandage after all. It's just that the flies were so bad that I kept the gauze, Elastikon and Vet Wrap on for two weeks to prevent infection and offer knee support. The hole in her knee still bleeds when she lies down in her stall at night, so I find shavings glued onto it in the morning. She has to bend that knee, so I suspect she'll be breaking the scab for several weeks to come.

With the cold weather arriving, my evening strollers (i.e. trespassers) seem to have gone into hibernation. However, the horse boarders brought their horses down from the mountains to board them at the house next door for the winter. The horses usually stay next door from October through May or June, which means less privacy for me, more traffic on my drive (last night we couldn't even get out of our driveway because the boarders were coming and going every few seconds), and disruptions in my routine with my horses. The boarders are nice people, but they have some downright inconsiderate behaviors, such as honking their horn for hours on end when they drag the paddock with their truck and chain. They are honking at their horses to get them to move out of the way, and not considering that other people in the neighborhood are trying to ride or work with their horses amongst all the noise pollution. How hard is it to just tie your horses to a rail out of the way while you drag the paddock?

Horses next door also means that every time I come outside to feed my horses, my nosy neighbor does the same. She uses those horses as an excuse to be out and about every time I'm out and about. It's almost like she doesn't even think of taking care of those horses until she sees me doing it. Sometimes I wonder if those horses would starve and go without water if it weren't for me reminding her by coming into her line of vision. It's been nice being able to let my horses out of the stalls in the morning and put them away at night without company.

The other thing that has changed with the weather is that it is getting darker earlier in the evening, which means that I have to return to giving up my lunch breaks to clean stalls. I can always use night lights and flash lights, but who wants to be cleaning stalls in this cold weather at night? Plus if I clean stalls over my lunch break, then I can get the horses into their stalls, blanketed and fed before it gets too dark outside.  Each time we have a change in the weather or the length of daylight that triggers a change in my routine, I always wonder how I managed my chores the previous year.  Between getting older and having more responsibility at the office, I'm losing the time and strength I once had to do all the work needed at home.  Also, my kids have always been a big help, and with one kid away in college and the other busy with his own extracurricular activities and interests, I'm on my own.  One thing is for sure... I'm not going to be buying any more horses, and even if something changes and I do end up in the market for a horse, I'm not buying anything under 10 years old that hasn't been thoroughly trained.  I need horses who can take care of me for a change.

Yeah, who's going to wrap up my knee when I get injured, Gabbrielle?


baystatebrumby said...

Swat is my most favorite thing in the barn medicine cabinet! The stuff is like a magic healing cream!

Sydney said...

Swat is great but if you want that scab to not rip invest in a little miracle called bag balm. Stops scabs from splitting.

OH and omg. That flu you have, thats how that swine flu starts, very sudden without warning. My sisters floor at her work has it and it's some serious stuff. They recommend you to get into emerg ASAP.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

baystatebrumby - Swat is one product I can confidently say keeps the flies away.

Sydney - Thanks for the tip. I do have Bag Balm at home all the time, because my dog has a dried, crusty nose. I didn't think about using it on the horse's scab, but I'll start doing that. I've learned to never go to an urgent care clinic or emergency room with a cold or flu, because they just tell me that there's no treatment for a virus and then give me a huge bill. However, I did read that there are such tings as anti-viral drugs, but they are using them only in extreme cases. I'll see what course my illness takes and stay in quarantine.

fernvalley01 said...

Gabrielle wrapping your knee? well you are training her! (lol) Take it easy on yourself when you can girl!

manker said...

yup .. your time warp sounds like ours... went from 74 to 34.. and 3 inches of snow!!! good thing i brought alle's winter blanket to the barn

good idea about getting older horses... for the next go.
happy warmer trails all

Katharine Swan said...

I'm pretty sure that when I was sick last month, it was swine flu. It started very quickly with severe cold symptoms, just like that, and at the tack store (where everyone was sick and I'm pretty sure I got it) one of the employees' daughters tested positive for H1N1. I didn't go to the doctor or anything, just slept lots and lots, and after a few days I felt much better.

Paint Girl said...

Hope you are feeling better soon!
I have never tried Swat. I might have to pick some of that up.
You had me cracking up about the dive-bombing fly that you just can't kill! Just last week I had one of those. I swear that thing was trying to kill me. I think it finally died. I haven't seen it in a few days. It better not show up tomorrow!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I hear ya, NM. With my hubby only being able to come home once every month or two, and only for a few hours at that, I've been basically on my own for several months. My sons and daughter are able to help, and I do let them, but it's often quicker and easier to just get it done myself. I do find myself asking them to pitch in more around the house because, well, I'm just exhausted. lol!
Last week was so busy, that I took a couple days this week and just rested in bed, reading, watching TV, hanging out with my kidlets, etc. I feel a lot better now.
It sounds like you could benefit from that, too. Especially now that you're getting sick. Not good when you get run-down.
Get some Zicam right away. It will stop the symptoms and make the cold go away much faster, and it's homeopathic. It's good stuff!

Sounds like our weather is a lot alike, too. We've been down in the 20's-30's at night and into the 50's-70's during the day. For the past couple days we had to endure those wintry gusty winds, too. With Fall and winter comes our winds and I don't look forward to that at all. Do you also get those fierce winds, too?

We didn't have many flies this summer and the fly season only lasted a couple weeks, thank goodness.

Feel better, NM. Take good care of yourself, ok?


Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, we have a flu down here in So. Calif that DOES goes directly into the lungs! BAM! One day you are fine, two days later you are hacking away. Not sure if it is H1N1. KNOCK ON WOOD, I haven't got it yet...having had pneumonia 3x in my lifetime, I DO NOT want it! Take care and get well soon!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - Thanks for reminding me of Zicam. I keep a spray bottle around, but can never remember to use it as soon as the symptoms start. I'm taking a sick day today. I couldn't even concentrate on my job yesterday and went without dinner.

Andrea said...

Oh the flu is horrible!! I hate it, and when ever the weather goes from warm to cold to warm to cold again, you can expect that one of the members of our family will get sick.

Fall hasn't really fallen here yet. It's still in the 80's. We still have flies too. But ours have gotten a lot better. We got the fly predictors and it works!! We haven't had nearly the amount of flies.

And I think Gabbrielle would love to wrap you knee!! LOL

Grey Horse Matters said...

Whew! Well that's a nice picture anyway. Feel better.