Thursday, September 9, 2010

More Triage on the Ranch

I'm not kidding when I say I feel like I'm constantly performing triage around this house, prioritizing which person / pet has the most serious health concern and therefore gets my time and attention as well as what little money we have invested into their medical care. The deductibles are so high with health insurance that the only thing it buys is helping you out in a complete catastrophe.

This morning I was working in my home office when the Internet started its usual routine of cutting in and out every few seconds between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM. Since I couldn't complete my tasks without the Internet, I went outside to check on the horses. Normally, I just look out the window to see if everyone is behaving in an expected manner, but this time I felt compelled to go outside and physically examine each horse.

Sure enough, Bombay's knee and foreleg were swollen. I ran in the house to get some cold packs out of the freezer, looked at my computer, and sure enough, in that very same second my boss was calling me into a text conference regarding some emergency at work. I stood over the computer thinking of all the times I put emergencies at home on hold for these dang surprise meetings and decided that this time I was going to make my horse the priority. I told my boss my situation and he said he'd wait for me before starting the meeting. Great. Now I had to perform a quickie first aid job so as not to inconvenience everyone at the office. Sigh.

I ran outside and contemplated unrolling Vet Wrap around the ice packs to hold them in place, but I really didn't want to waste the materials. I decided to see if I could get a shipping boot to hold the ice packs in place. For some reason I couldn't get the correct shipping boot for the left leg closed while holding the ice packs in place, so I tried the wrong shipping boot for the right front leg on the left front leg, and that did the trick. My hands and fingers could manage to be in all the places they needed to be with that small change.

I left Bombay on the RV lane to graze, because I needed to keep him quiet and distracted by food. If I put him in the paddock with the horses, they'd rip off that shipping boot in no time. I ran into the house and told my boss that the horse should be okay for a few minutes, knowing I really should be supervising him. He started the meeting, but one person had left his desk so we had to wait for him. I kept running outside to check on Bombay to make sure he wasn't trying to rip or kick off the wrap. I was mostly concerned about the ice packs, because my husband and son need them on a fairly regular basis and the type we use is expensive and hard to find.

It turned out that the meeting had nothing to do with me, so I'm not sure why I had to be in it. Once it was over, I ran outside and sure enough, Bombay was starting to kick off the shipping boot and step on one of the ice packs. By then the ice had melted and wasn't doing him any good anyway, so I removed everything and put him back in the paddock. The swelling did go down a little and he's walking okay. I think we narrowly escaped a $500 vet bill this time around, but I'm not looking forward to what tomorrow might bring. There just seems to be no end to the injuries and illnesses around here.

Bombay is so used to people wrapping strange things around his legs now that he doesn't react anymore. I'm thinking of putting metal braces or shields on all four of his legs to prevent further mishaps. It's a wonder this horse isn't permanently crippled from all the accidents he's had just in the past six months.

I suspect he is losing his hearing, because there have been several times when I took him by surprise. Usually the second I open the door to walk outside, all three horses are on alert and looking at me. However, lately Bombay seems to be in his own world. As soon as he sees me approaching out of the corner of his eye, he spooks, so I have to come outdoors making noise and calling his name. He's only 12-years-old, so I don't think he should be losing his hearing due to old age. He could be losing his hearing for some other reason, but he doesn't have any other symptoms. If he is losing his hearing, that might explain why he's constantly getting hurt.


Sydney_bitless said...

I think it has something to do with him being a fleabitten grey. Indigo is the same way, can't help but maim herself on everything possible.

JanLou said...

Vet bills are a killer. Hope his leg improves and his hearing loss is only temporary. Sounds a nightmare trying to juggle everything

baystatebrumby said...

I used to think I really needed to marry a mechanic because I had a Volkswagen that was always falling apart and I was sick of paying the mechanic. Maybe when your partner is being naughty you can tell him you are trading him in for vet! hah! Wouldn't having a vet around be terrific?
I LOVE Bombay's speckles. They are sooooooo appealing

Anonymous said...

Perhaps his hearing loss and his trailer troubles are related? If something is wrong with his ears his balance could be affected.

Breathe said...

Some horses are injury magnets. Maybe he needs to have his chi rebalanced or something.

Hope he's feeling better. And maybe he's just a day dreamer. It's amazing what I can't hear.

Once Upon an Equine said...

I hope the swelling goes down and there are no lingering problems. Do you think he bumped it on something? Or was he playing around? Horses bang up those skinny legs so easily. Makes a horse owner want cover them in bubble wrap and duct tape.

fernvalley01 said...

He sure seems to be on a streak! Glad your boss was willing to wait, but silly that he wanted you at a meeting you didn't need to be there for