Thursday, December 1, 2016

In-the-Saddle Satisfaction

I was anxious to get back in the saddle once I got the go ahead from my surgeon.  I showed up for my post-op appointment fully expecting to be told that I was good to go, and this was the last of my medical procedures.  Instead, I was told that this was one of two post-op appointments and I would not receive my physical exam until the next one.  As you can imagine, I flipped out.  I let the nurse and doctor know that I was done.  I've been feeling like a prisoner this entire month and now I'm going to spread my wings and fly whether they like it or not.

Then I was told the really irritating news.  The surgeon wasn't able to complete my surgery due to other issues, and we are still no closer to solving my problem.  Now the only way she can get rid of my symptoms and find out the cause of them is to completely remove the organ.  I said, "Maybe next summer after horseback riding season."

She laughed, and I informed her that I was serious.  I explained that I started having problems with my leg and am concerned that this may end up being my last year to be able to ride horses since arthritis is a degenerative disease that only gets worse with age.  As is, there are times when I can't mount or dismount or even walk.  I have to wait for good days to ride, and I don't want to be stuck on the couch for several weeks recovering from yet another surgery during the best horseback riding weather of the year.

Interestingly, she said that she can recognize horse people when she sees them, and I don't fit the mold.  I asked why, thinking that she was going to say that I weigh too much or I don't wear western garb or walk with bowed legs.  She said, "Horse people are aggressive and you are so low key."

I said, "Low key is what horses need."

She said, "Because horses are so aggressive themselves?"

"No.  Because horses want peace, and they respond well to low key riders."

John Lyons would have been proud of me.  (Love that guy.)

Anyway, I got the sense that the doctor would have liked to continue working toward a resolution, but I was stubborn.  I said I'd be back in her office when the temperatures rise above 100.  She said, "How about in 3 to 6 months?"

I agreed, but only if the temperatures rise above 100 in 3 to 6 months.

So, I thought I was home-free, and the very next day I joyfully pulled on my riding boots and skipped outside to catch a horse.  But gosh, there was so much manure to clean up.  I should do that first.

Once I was done with the cleaning, I had to go to the bathroom.  That turned into me realizing how hungry I was and that it was past my lunch time.  The dogs were begging for their lunch, so I fed all of us.  Then I had to use the restroom again, and before I knew it, I was flat on my back with the stomach flu.  I caught some virus being in all those dirty, germ-infested doctors' offices.  What's one more day without riding?

Well, it kind of feels like a lifetime to me.  I guess it was a fluke that the fever I had on Monday went away after I was touched by an angel.  I was still sick, apparently.

Today I still felt cruddy but was determined to ride.  I thought I'd check my phone for messages before going.  Big mistake.  There was a message from the imaging place saying that the doctor put in an order for more tests.  WTH?  I thought I made it clear to her that I was DONE.  I called the imaging place back wanting to know what was going on.  It turned out that those mammogram results that they lost were now found, and the radiologist is calling me back in for additional x-rays and sonograms.  This happens to me once every couple of years.  I have cysts all over in my breasts and chest cavity, and they always think it might be cancer, so I have to keep going back for more imaging.  I do it, because one of these days it might be cancer, but I don't like doing it.

Oh yeah, and along the line of people losing my test results, the whole reason why my surgeon had me come into her office was so that she could show me the pictures of my surgery, but when she looked for them, she couldn't find them and had to draw a picture to show me what was going on.  Oh well.  Like she said, things happen for a reason.  I can't imagine how having so many of my test results and images misplaced or mixed up with someone else's, and having reports transcribed incorrectly, can be the work of a higher power, and that there is some good reason behind it all.  I think it's just human incompetence.

After I wrote yet another imaging appointment on my calendar, I was hesitant about riding because I was so angry.  But I knew that riding would put me in a better mood, so I went ahead and rode.

Rock was being a turd and kept taking nips at me while I was getting ready to mount.

At first I was annoyed, but then I thought perhaps he was trying to tell me something.  He's not cinchy or mean, so he had to be communicating something.  I had previously checked his pad for stickers and examined the tack, so I didn't think that was the problem.  He was walking fine, though I didn't take the time to pick out his hooves.  I was afraid I'd throw out my back and not be able to ride.  Then it hit me that he was saying that the cinch wasn't tight enough.  Sure enough, I was able to pull it through two more holes.

I did have to spend some time re-training him to hold still during the mount.  He kept walking off.  I just tried to stay calm and continue to correct him each time he walked off.  I'm quite fussy about mounting.  I want to make sure that I mount on a slope so that the mounting block is on higher ground than the horse since it is so difficult for me to swing my leg over, I want the horse's feet to be square so that I don't throw him off balance if I lose my own balance, and I want the horse to keep his head out of the weeds so that he's paying attention to me in case I fall.  I had to keep making corrections, which was making Rock impatient.

Eventually, I was able to get on.  I was listening for vehicles on the road, because I was expecting a delivery, but I didn't hear any engines, so I told him to go straight across.  He stopped while I was squeezing and clucking, so I grabbed the quirt and gently flopped it against his neck.  He did cross, and I instantly realized that once again Rock knew what he was talking about.  A very quiet car was coming right at us.  Gah!

I can identify which neighbors' vehicles and which delivery vehicles are coming up the road without seeing them because I'm so familiar with their engine noises.  Because we live in a rural area, people mostly drive trucks.  This was a little sedan that didn't belong on our street.  I figured it was a lost tourist, but it turned out to be my neighbor's real estate agent.  I was riding out just in time to avoid a showing of their house.  Just think, if I were still working for my neighbor, I would have had to forfeit my horseback ride to show the house myself.  Then I would have really been pissed.  These home shoppers always seem to book an appointment for a showing on the days we have the nicest weather.

I had to spend most of the ride reminding Rock to follow my cues and not do whatever the heck he wants.  I did a lot of steering, stopping, going, turning, correcting him for eating and gawking.

Oh well, at least he kept me busy.  He is a good boy.  He rarely flat-out refuses to follow instructions.  He had a little spook when a saguaro suddenly came into view from behind a bush.  It's about the height of a person.  Last year someone put sunglasses on that cactus, which gave it a comical look, but the glasses were now gone.  At one point we were coming up a trail and I saw either another horseback rider or a hiker or a bicyclist in the distance coming toward us.  Rock raised his head and hesitated.  He couldn't tell what it was from that distance either.  This happened on our last trail ride, but this time I had the quirt and I was determined to make him approach whoever it was.  He obeyed, but then the person turned and took a different trail.  I wasn't about to chase after him or her for training purposes, so I just resumed our scenic tour.

He got moving at a good pace on the way home, so I checked my brakes a few times and he was fine.  He stopped before crossing the road again, so I looked both ways.  No one was coming.  Stopping before crossing streets is always a good habit for horses to have, so I honored his automatic behavior.

Dismounting required some effort, but he was his usual sweet self while I accidentally kicked him in the butt and dragged my leg across his croup.

While I untacked him, the mail carrier arrived with some packages, and the home shopper showed up next door.  Rock just wanted his peppermints.  If he were actually as fat as his shadow, he wouldn't have gotten any.  Gotta love that winter sun.


Kathryn Little said...

I'm glad you were able to get a ride in!

Camryn said...

So glad you got out to ride. Rock is such a cutie. All that Dr. Stuff would annoy me to know end. I know I have to get some things taken care of. Having been my Moms Dr. chauffeur several years before her passing, I'm just sick of Dr offices.

lytha said...

I saw John Lyons with his stallion Zip at a clinic in the 90s and couldn't believe the connection between the man and his horse. It was like the horse understood English. He said, "Go play over there for a while" and the stallion did just that.

He had us pray before the session and I was sooo, soooo surprised and impressed. Why not ask God his blessing before a session?: )

Ian H said...

Glad you got a ride in, but gee, my wife calls me stubborn!

Linda said...

I like your mounting routine. I've never used a block until I read recently that it's easier on the horse's back to do so. So, now I'm starting to use one, too. Leah seems very happy that I made the change and eager to get positioned.