Saturday, July 23, 2016

Back in Triage

Every once in a while little things start going wrong, but because they are little, I easily forget about them.  Then, in time, everything little that had been going wrong comes to a head simultaneously and I find myself fighting more fires than I can manage alone.

A few days ago I was talking with a friend in my back yard when I heard a loud zapping noise coming from the front of my house.  I said, "What was that?"

She said, "A motor bike?"

I didn't think it sounded like a motor bike, and I intended to go investigate once we said our goodbyes, however we kept finding things to talk about and I instantly forgot about the strange noise... until I walked into the house.  We had a power outage, but the power had come back on.  There's a super tall agave plant in front of a house down the street from me, and it has grown up through the power lines for our neighborhood, and is now in the process of falling over.  Nobody lives on the property where it is growing, and every time we drive up or down the street, we say we are going to call the power company to report the problem, and every time we get home, we forget to call.  Now it is the weekend, so we are hoping the power lines will hold up until Monday.

Another issue that didn't seem quite right was that our drip system seemed to be watering too much.  It turned out that the sprinkler manifold broke and our well pump has been running non-stop for God knows how long.  My husband is trying to repair it before our well breaks.  It is in the habit of breaking down over holidays and weekends during the hottest weeks of the year.

Then there is Scrappy, who has been behaving oddly.  I thought it was just because I took his step away so that he could no longer jump up on the couch.  His breath is horrendous, and every time I sit down to eat in the living area, he has been jumping up next to me and panting on me so that my food tastes like his breath and I start gagging.  So, I removed the step he jumped on to get up there, and he's been lying on the tile floor all sprawled out instead of sleeping on the couch.  Now it turns out that either his bladder is failing him or he has yet another bladder stone, because he's been asking to go out every few minutes and has been peeing up a storm.  Only on a weekend when the vet clinics are closed do my pets get sick.

Then there's Gabbrielle.  She's been bitchier than normal toward the geldings, and I kept thinking that I have to separate her from the herd for their protection, but every time I go to the barn I forget and put all the horses together, except for Lostine, who is on stall rest.

When the farrier came out yesterday, he found a cut under Bombay's eye that I had not seen yet, because it must have happened during the night.  It was in a bad spot because the skin was spread wide and the eyelid muscle was popping out.  It probably could have used a couple of stitches, but I opted to just clean it and treat it myself because I have my limit to how many vet appointments I can handle in one month before having a nervous breakdown.

Tonight I went down to the barn to put liniment on Lostine's rump and do her stretching exercises before feeding the horses their dinner, and Gabbrielle met me at the gate.  She had herself pumped up big with this look of horror in her eyes.  I said, "What's going on?"

She stepped aside for me to see Bombay, whose front legs were covered in some kind of black substance.  Mind you, Bombay is a gray horse, so seeing his legs completely black baffled me.  I ran over to him and looked closer at the gunk, and it was as if his entire front end has fallen into a vat of tar.  I looked all around the horse paddock, but there was nothing he could have rolled in.  I wondered if this were some kind of prank the kids in the neighborhood pulled, painting my horse black, but not finishing the job.  My horses have been shot by someone with paintball guns in the past, but this looked like someone painted something on with a brush and it had dried and cracked.

Nothing was making sense.  So, I led Bombay to the hose and tried hosing down his legs, but the gunk wasn't coming off, and he was limping like he was injured.  I grabbed a scrub sponge and some soap and put some elbow grease into it, and then I saw a river of red flowing down his legs.  The black stuff was dried blood and I had just reopened his wounds.

I managed to get one front leg relatively clean, and spotted a cut on one hind leg, but the other front leg just kept bleeding and the dried blood was caked on so thick that no amount of scrubbing could get it off.  He also had blood all over his muzzle.  I ended up power washing him like one would a car, scrubbing every square inch of him with soap.  Despite all the blood, he did not have any swelling.

I found a puddle of dried blood in the barn aisle up against Lostine's gate.  I couldn't get all the dried chunks of blood off the bad leg to be able to determine where exactly it was coming from, but when I ran my hand down the length of that leg, it felt like there were cuts and abrasions all along the inside from the chest all the way down to the hoof.

It doesn't seem likely that Bombay would lie down in the barn aisle and get his legs caught in the railings.  The horses lie down in the arena where the sand is soft.  So, I suspect that Gabbrielle pinned him against Lostine's gate and kicked the shit out of him.  I've seen her do that to Rock before.  She's merciless, and the boys don't even have to do anything to trigger it.  I'm beginning to remember why I wanted to sell her last summer.  This is deja vu all over again.

I contemplated wrapping the bad leg, but knew it would require a full length dressing, and that would mean using up every square inch of materials in my first aid kit, and I'd consider myself lucky if the dressing made it through the night before Bombay shredded it.  The last time I dressed one of his leg injuries, my hour of hard work only lasted ten minutes.  I opted to take the minimalist approach and just spread ointment all over his leg.

I lost track of time, but I think it was an hour and a half later that I finally got to tending to Lostine's spinal and hip injuries.  The sun had set and I was running out of light, so I had to skip the stretching exercises.  When I got back in the house dripping with sweat and feeling dehydrated, I was greeted with dog crap on the carpet and three dogs who needed to pee immediately.  I literally cannot have one thing happen outside of my normal routine without all hell breaking loose in the dog department.  Someone has been having accidents on the carpet regularly ever since Independence Day.  One of my neighbors has been setting off firecrackers every night, even though we are now at July 23rd.  That's 19 nights of having to listen to explosions just outside my back door.  I'm sure there is a correlation between my neighbor's inconsiderate behavior and my dog's incontinence.  All I can do is hope that the a-hole blows his own hands off.

I attempted to steam vac the carpet the other day, but when I pushed the solution tank into the frame of the steam vac, my hand pushed right through the rotted plastic and solution spilled all over the floor.  I spent the next several hours mopping up the mess and researching the model number of the part I needed, then ordering it over the Internet.  I would have just bought a new steam vac, but we just replaced the scrub brushes, which also broke due to overheated and rotted plastic, and I hadn't used them yet.

I was feeling frustrated and tried to burn off some steam by working out on our rowing machine, but that broke too.  Nothing lasts very long in the desert heat.  It's best to just not touch anything until Fall arrives with cooler temperatures.

I've decided to deal with the horses by keeping everyone locked up in their stalls for the rest of the summer and only letting one horse out at a time.  It's just too hot for me to be living outdoors tending to all these injuries caused by irritable horses fighting.  When I do let them out to mingle, all they do is stand in the shade of the barn anyway.  The only thing I am taking away from them is their ability to come into physical contact with one another.  This is going to make my life easier in so many ways.  I hope those aren't my famous last words.  I'm sure the horses will figure out some way to make my life harder with this new routine, but I'm already one step ahead of them by locking bicycle chains around their stall gates.


lytha said...

Good that you had water to wash Bombay with, it would have been horrible to have no water at that moment. Yes I remember the incident where Gabrielle saw her bandage and broke free. I wonder if there is anyway to desensitize a horse for its first bandage experience. Probably just pretending to put it on and letting the horse kick it off? I'll have to think of something.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

lytha - I almost didn't have any water, because my husband had to turn if off the work on the manifold. You're right. It could have been worse.

I slept in yesterday's clothes, and when I got up this morning I walked past a mirror and spotted something on the back of my jeans. These were a new pair that I've only worn a couple of times, and they are such a light denim that they are almost white. It turned out that Bombay had been rubbing his muzzle on the back of my jeans while I was working on his legs before I saw that he had blood on his muzzle. So, now I'm working on getting dried blood stains out of whitish jeans.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Wow! My eyesight is getting so bad. Let's try that first sentence again without the misspellings:

"I almost didn't have any water, because my husband had to turn it off to work on the manifold."

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Oh yeah, and you know how I always say that every solution creates new problems? Well, now that I blocked Scrappy from getting up on the couch, Midge has been getting up there and shedding all over it. Scrappy didn't shed hair and his presence on the couch was keeping Midge at bay. So, now I have to block Midge from being able to get up there. It sure would be nice if just once I could solve a problem without being presented with new ones. I need a break.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Spray the blood with peroxide. It will foam like crazy as it breaks down the protien that usually causes it to stain. It may take spraying and a trip or two thru the wash on cold but it should come out pretty easy. Same peroxide you get at the $1 store...

As for everything else- I don't miss the heat anymore or envy you for that. It's hot here, if you can call it that (temps in the mid to high 90's) but the humidity is up there a bit more. Its a trade off

lytha said...

Funnily, my husband has Levis in all possible colors. Even white. I said, "Those would be fine in a place like Florida! Not here!" OK AZ too. I seem to recall a lot of white cars in AZ. I wonder if people in AZ die in their sleep if their AC fails.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

lytha - I know that has happened, especially with the elderly. Most often is it hikers who run out of water and try to make it back to their vehicles. Before I lived in AZ or knew anything about it, my daughter and I got lost while letterboxing / geocaching. The description of the location made it sound like it was in a city park that was no bigger than one block, but it turned out to be miles up a trail in a preserve. Because we thought it was a lot closer than that, we didn't bring any water. When we asked for directions to get back, people just kept chewing us out for not bringing a map, a compass and water, but they wouldn't help us. This was back before we had smart phones. By the time we found the trail back to the parking lot, it was dark. There's a man in the news who goes hiking every day in the summer and brings a ton of water bottles with him and passes them out to anyone who looks disoriented or is sweating too much. He's my hero. He understands that tourists don't always know how quickly they can be overcome by the heat. Add in that it's hard to find trees for shade around here, and hiking in the summer months is a recipe for disaster.