Saturday, December 14, 2013

Friday the 13th

On Friday the 13th I was in school all morning, came home, ate lunch, and then took my son to the dental surgeon to have his wisdom teeth pulled.  I expected his appointment to be about two hours long, but the surgeon said he'd be done in 45 minutes to an hour.  We asked him to call in the prescriptions ahead of time, so that we could pick them up before we picked our son up.  My husband and I raced to the grocery store to buy some soft foods for our son first.

The parking lot was jammed and we couldn't move, so I jumped out of the car and ran into the store while my husband battled traffic.  All the carts were in use or out in the parking lot, so I grabbed a hand basket.  I ran through the crowded store from aisle to aisle collecting what I needed.  By the time my basket was full, I had found my husband, and he picked up a second basket.  We finished up our shopping and decided to take the food home to the refrigerator and freezer before going to the pharmacy.

On the way to the pharmacy, the nurse called us to inform us that our son was ready and waiting to be taken home.  We raced over to the dental office first.  Our son kept trying to reach into his mouth and the nurse wouldn't let him.  She said he was trying to take the gauze out.  Well, it turned out he was trying to take the gauze out, because it had started going down the back of his throat and he was choking on it, but he was still so woozy from the anesthesia that he couldn't tell us.

We drove through the pharmacy only to find out that someone recorded the phone order on paper, but never put it into the computer, so the prescriptions had not been filled.  Awesome.  That meant a third trip into town.  We got our son home, and I ran outside to clean up manure and feed the horses before it got dark.  Rock kept poking me in the back, and I noticed that he seemed to be hovering over Lostine, but it never occurred to me that he was trying to tell me something.

Then Lostine was standing on top of a pile of manure, so I shooed her away and she gave me the stink eye.  I said, "You are sure in a grumpy mood today.  Are you feeling alright?"

She swished her tail angrily.  A short time later I looked out the window to see Lostine laying on her side in the arena while all the other horses were eating.  My heart dropped.

With colic, she is usually rolling and pawing at the ground, so to see her just lying there with her legs stiff and straight out to the side baffled me.  I administered microbials to help with her digestion and a generous dose of pain killer, walked her around for an hour, groomed her to try to relax her, and tried to feed her some mash.  She did paw and stretch while standing, so it was definitely colic.

My husband had to go back to the pharmacy to pick up our son's pain killers and antibiotics and whatnot, and when he returned, he found me still working with Lostine in the dark, so he turned on all the floodlights.

I realized that I made two major mistakes that led to this episode.  I let my hay run out before ordering more, only to find out that my grass hay farmer was out as well.  This meant ordering completely different grass hay from a different source.  My alfalfa farmer's hay was just a different crop from what the horses ate before, but different enough to require an adjustment in their digestion.  Because I had no old hay, I couldn't gradually introduce the new hay.  Also, I wormed them at the same time I started the new hay.  I may as well have lit a stick of dynamite in their intestines.

I had done everything I could for Lostine, short of calling a vet on a Friday night.  I went out later in the dark to check on her and she was lying on her side again.  I put her head in my lap, petted and talked to her with tears streaming down my cheeks.  She's prone to colic, but this was different.  She didn't even have the energy to try to roll.  I knew that if I called the vet, we'd be talking about putting her down.

Gabbrielle left her food to come check on us.  She poked me to see if I was okay, and then she tried to poke Lostine, and Lostine pinned her ears back to let her know she wasn't interested in her sympathy.

Then I heard her intestines rumbling and remembered that she was pooping quite a bit when I walked her.  I felt like she had a chance.  I decided to keep her as comfortable as I could throughout the night, and if there was no improvement by morning, I'd call the vet.  I had intended to check on her throughout the night, but fell into a deep sleep, and when I awoke, Lostine was walking around complaining loudly about being hungry.  I was so stiff from running around the grocery store, walking Lostine, and sitting in the sand during the night that I staggered up to her and tried to give her a hug, but she just kept walking in circles to try to get away from me.  I caught her and made her endure my hug anyway.

No sooner did I wake up and I had to head out for another class.  Thankfully, my husband took care of our son, waking him up throughout the night to take his medications and making sure he wasn't choking on bloody gauze.  It sure would be nice if one of these days we could just take care of one person or animal at a time.  When it rains, it pours.


Cheryl Ann said...

Oh, gosh, Nuzz...that is SO SCARY! My heart was racing while reading this. I lost my beautiful Cali a year ago to colic. Scout had repeatedly chased her off her food and she was eating on the ground. The ranch owners didn't tell me this was happening, or I would have put her in a separate corral where she could have eaten at her own pace. Phew...I'm so glad she is okay.
~~Cheryl Ann~~

Brenda said...

Wow. I'm so sorry you had such a difficult Friday. I hope your son is doing well and Lostine, too. How scary to have to deal with that in one day.

Jess Schira said...

Glad to hear the mare was feeling better. Colic's always scary. Hope the upcoming week goes smoothly and everyone horse and human, stay healthy.

Cindy D. said...

Oh wow! I can just imagine how scared you were. That is an awful lot to go through at one time. I am so glad that she made it through ok.

fernvalley01 said...

Oh my how very frightening! Glad she is OK

achieve1dream said...

So scary!! I'm glad she's okay.

I remember how miserable I was getting my wisdom teeth out too... no fun. :(