Sometimes life can be beyond ridiculous.
You may recall that I mentioned cleaning house weeks ahead of the holiday, and having a nagging feeling that something would come up that would prevent me from being able to clean at the last minute. A few little problems cropped up along the way, but I still had time to get around to sweeping and mopping before Thanksgiving.
My husband and I planned to go hiking Saturday morning to get our exercise, but (long story short) we ended up spending the morning at the dump. With my snow shovel, I moved manure out of the pile into the wagon, and dumped it into our trailer on Friday night. Saturday morning, I shoveled manure out of the trailer into a pile at the dump.
I felt good. I even considered taking a second load to the dump that same day. At one point, I took Rock for a jog and we stumbled upon a trail that was littered with cholla balls. I was trying to maneuver Rock's front end around one of these stickers when he stepped on another one with his hind leg. He was in so much pain that his knees buckled and he started to go down. I caught him and helped him back up. He was hopping on three legs.
We were a long ways from home and I didn't bring a saddle bag with us, so I had nothing with me to remove the cholla ball from his fetlock. I tried knocking it off with a stick, but he wouldn't let me near his leg. So, I led him through some bushes, hoping the branches would snag the sticker and pull it out. Nothing seemed to be working, so I considered calling my husband and asking him to bring us some needle-nosed pliers or scissors. Just then I noticed Rock looked a lot happier and was walking normal. The bush trick worked. It loosened the sticker enough that it fell off after walking a ways.
I took him back to the barn, and then hiked back out to the same trail with my walking stick to knock all the sticker balls off the trail. I swung the stick like a golf club, and barely hit the ground, but the vibration coming back up the stick sent an excruciating pain up my left arm, and it was just hanging there useless. I couldn't grip the stick with my left hand. I examined my arm, but didn't see any visible breaks. I figured the pain would go away in a little while, and I headed back home.
The pain got worse and worse. I didn't see any bruising or swelling, yet when I took Ibuprofen, which is for swelling, the pain eased up, which meant there was swelling. I researched the situation, and the only thing that made sense was a stress fracture from the repeated movement of shoveling. Often times, you don't feel any pain when the bone weakens and starts cracking, and then you do some mundane movement, and the crack gets worse, and then you feel the pain. This is definitely a bone pain, not a muscle or ligament.
So, I started the RICE regimen of rest, ice, compression and elevation. I can't lift anything or shovel, which means that barn chores are nearly impossible for me to do unless I can do them with one arm. I've figured out how to cook, wash dishes, and makes beds with just one arm, and I plan to spend the next couple of days sweeping and mopping with one arm. My husband and P.S. are helping with the barn chores. I'm hoping that if I give my arm a rest for a few days, then I'll be past the critical point where I have to worry about cracking the bone even further.
I don't even want to bother seeing a doctor, because I'm so frustrated with medical care. If I try to see my general practitioner, he'll tell me to go to the emergency room. My insurance won't cover all of it, so I'll have a huge bill, and emergency rooms are so stressed that I'd get better care from my G.P. They'll x-ray the bone and find nothing, because fractures rarely show up on x-rays. Then they'll send me home with instructions to do the RICE method and take Ibuprofen, which is exactly what I'm doing anyway.
I can't tell you how many times I've seen doctors or taken my pets to vets only to be given the wrong diagnosis and treatment. At this point, I trust my own medical knowledge more than I do that of a rushed and distracted professional.
I'm frustrated to have my plans ruined by an injury, but what can I do beyond just learning to roll with it? I'm thankful to have supportive relatives and friends who are helping out. The irony in all of this is that I wish I could say I broke my arm being thrown from a horse, but instead I cracked it shoveling too much manure. This is just more proof to me that I own too many horses, and I probably inherited osteoporosis from my mother, so it is time for me to start taking Calcium Citrate supplements more regularly and work harder to cut back on the size of my herd.
I keep telling myself that it's not that hard to take care of four horses, but then this happens and I watch other people do my barn chores, and I realize just how much work really is involved. Then I feel guilty because I'm taking time out of other people's busy schedules to have them take care of animals that are my responsibility.
I've spent a lot of time out of commission these past couple of years, so I need to face the fact that this isn't a fluke, and getting older means having more health struggles, so I need to be realistic about how much responsibility I can handle. This isn't the first time that I've had trouble with this arm, so I probably should cut back to only being responsible for what I can do with one arm, even when I have two functioning arms. Hopefully, someone will want a little gray Arabian mare for Christmas, so we all can have less poop to shovel.