Thursday, August 22, 2013


Sensitivity #1:  Pain

Despite obtaining my arm injury on Sunday, the pain has been getting worse, rather than better.  Yesterday I developed a large enough knot on the outside of my forearm that it was visible.  Touching the knot resulted in more pain, and it was a hard mass of tissue about the size of a golf ball.  This perplexed me, because my forearm never took a blow.  I just simply pulled and twisted at the same time and something snapped internally.

It was difficult sleeping because I had to lay my arm down and all sides of it hurt.  The pain would shoot up and down between my elbow and fingertips.  Sometimes there was a buzzing sensation and then the hand and fingers went numb.  Other times it felt like someone was chiseling away at my elbow bone.  I was woken by the pain throughout the night and couldn't get comfortable, so I decided to see a doctor today.

However, by morning the knot had shrunk considerably, which usually means that whatever injury I have is on the mend.  I suspected the knot may have been a hematoma that burst and now the blood is getting absorbed into my system.  There is no discoloration of the skin, so the injury is fairly deep.  Anyway, I started thinking about how I would probably waste the rest of my week if I initiate professional medical care.  First, I'll have to see the doctor, then I'll have to get x-rays, then I'll have to return to the doctor, and he'll probably just tell me to take a couple of Tylenol or ibuprofen until the pain goes away.  Then I remembered that I had some prescription pain killers left over from my last surgery, so I took one of those.  I got numb in the head, a dry throat, and some cottonmouth, but the pain in my arm is still pretty sharp.

I doubt it is broken, because I would have less mobility if that were the case.  I doubt the metal plate got dislodged, because I vaguely remember having tennis elbow in the past and having to talk my doctor into giving me x-rays, because I was convinced that the metal plate was loose.  He just laughed at me and showed me that the plates were fine in the x-rays.  It's probably a torn tendon.  So, I'll just see how it goes.  If the pain is worse by morning, I'll go in rather than to suffer through the weekend.

Sensitivity #2:  Fear

I'm still doing barn chores, and today our new horse Rock was very jittery around me.  He wanted to be with me, because he followed me everywhere I went, but as soon as I'd look at him, he'd jump backwards and every muscle in his body would jerk and quiver.  I couldn't figure out why he was so terrified of me at first, so I just kept petting him, hugging him and praising him, hoping he'd get more comfortable with me.

Then I remembered there have been a few times recently when he walked up to me while I was shoveling manure, and brazenly took a bite out of me.  A couple of times he has reached around and bit me in the stomach.  Well, like any human being, I have my automatic reactions and I have my planned reactions, and unfortunately when I feel pain, my automatic reactions kick into gear.  In this case, I came out swinging and pounded on the poor horse.  He took off running, and then when I settled down, I approached him and baited him to bite me again, but he wouldn't do it, so I hugged and praised him.

Horses have strong memories, and he remembers those moments of my rage, and I don't think he has quite made the connection yet that my anger is triggered by him biting me, so he doesn't know which of my two personalities he is going to get when he approaches me.  Either that, or he was planning on biting me again, and was ready to bolt as soon as I turned toward him.

Once he realized that I was watching him closely, he knew he couldn't get away with biting, so he started licking and chewing, saying, "I surrender", and I got my second bath of the day because he would not stop licking me.  He followed me around going slurp, slurp, slurp.  I decided to practice moving his feet with hand signals, and he was amazingly responsive.  As soon as I beckoned him to come to me by wiggling my index finger, he came.  As soon as I put up the palm of my hand, he halted.  And as soon as I pushed with the palms of my hands, he backed up.

Nobody has been working with him lately, and when we do work with him, he usually is sticky and stubborn.  That fact that he was moving so fluidly and easily for me this morning without the help of halters, ropes or whips tells me that he knows exactly what people expect him to do.  The trick is to gain his respect and make him fear you a little bit.  With him, it seems you have to always be at one of two extremes.  Either he's downright disrespectful of you or he's terrified of you.  My hopes are to get him somewhere in the middle.  I want him to trust me and I want to be able to trust him so that we can work together.

I don't think that his biting is aggressive.  It's more of a carryover from the games he plays with Bombay.  They pretend to bite each other's faces until one of them actually gets a bite in, and then a fight breaks out.  Whichever horse runs away loses.  Thirty seconds later, they are friends again.  I need to teach Rock that those kinds of games may be appropriate between horses, but they should never be played between horses and humans.  Once the temperatures cool down, we'll be able to work with him more consistently, and I'm sure he'll learn the rules faster.

Just to give you an idea of Rock's personality, every time I see him, the same movie scene flashes through my mind as Tom Hanks says, "I'm Forrest.  Forrest Gu-ump."  And every time I see Rock cantering around, I yell, "Run, Forrest, run!"  My other favorite phrase to use with him is, "Handsome is as handsome does."

Sensitivity #3:  Extra Sensory Perception

For about a month now, a thought has been popping into my head.  I need to either call or drop by the saddlery shop and talk with the owner.  She's had my first saddle on consignment all summer, and I know she's got saddles stacked to the ceiling.  I wanted to make sure I wasn't wearing out my welcome by storing my saddle at her place, especially since it wasn't worth much.  I wanted to ask her if she'd be willing to hang on to it through the fall, because that's when people start buying, trading, and riding horses around here, and the saddle would more likely sell then.

Anyway, every time I drove past the saddlery shop on the way to some other store, I'd kick myself for driving past it before remembering to stop in.  This happened so many times that I was beginning to think that I was beyond senile.  So, I put it on my To Do List, but every time I checked my To Do List, it was after the store had closed, and I couldn't even call.

So, today I was determined to remember to call the owner during business hours.  Ironically, she called me.  I told her I'd been thinking about her and was planning on calling her today.  She said I have E.S.P.  She gave me the good news that she sold my saddle this morning, and it went to a lady who teaches equitation lessons to kids.  She said the saddle is perfect for her purposes, because it is lightweight with a small seat.  (I bought it back in the day when I was skinny.)

I'm relieved that the saddle found a good home since I had no use for it anymore, and happy that I made a little money on the side.  Now I am thinking that perhaps all of my forgetfulness was a good thing.  Had she expressed concern that she might not be able to sell my saddle, or had she said she no longer had room for it, I would have brought it home and had nowhere to store it because all of our other saddles are now occupying the saddle racks. Perhaps this experience will help me be more patient with myself when I am forgetful, knowing that sometimes being forgetful has positive results.


Ian H said...

I hope that you will get that arm looked at tomorrow! Better to waste a day than end up with something locked up.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Go get the arm looked at so you won't waste time healing if it gets worse.

Rock sounds like a sweet horse who might be a little confused interacting with humans;)

Great news on the saddle. I got rid of my "skinny" saddle too. It got a good home and I'm glad someone could use it.

fernvalley01 said...

Playing catch up here, sorry you are hurt, the rest seems to be good insights, congrats on the sale of your saddle