Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Sheet Hit the Fan

This whole week has been a complete mess.  First, I received an unhealthy looking block of very un-fresh hay for the horses.  I paid for it, thinking it was just brown on the outside, but would be green and nutritious on the inside.  Nope.  It's brown all the way throughout.  Technically, they gave me straw and called it Bermuda hay.  I wondered why the driver snatched my check away, slammed the truck door in my face and drove off without handing me my receipt.  I'll bet they were just looking for some sucker to dump that crap on.  I trusted this outfit, because they've always brought me great hay in the past.  So far it hasn't made my horses sick, but I'm definitely giving them more supplements to make sure they get the nutrition they need.

Then my Corgi Midge lost control of her hind end, which is a sign of diabetes being uncontrolled.  I adjusted her insulin, and next thing I knew she stopped eating and started vomiting.  She has an appointment for a blood test this week to see if her diabetes is under control, and I can easily tell them that it isn't.  Every evening she exhibits signs of being at one of the two blood-sugar extremes.  When she stopped eating, I couldn't give her any insulin at all, and the whole point of this upcoming blood test is to see if 5 units is the correct dosage over a period of 3 weeks.  Obviously, she hasn't been getting 5 units most days.

About that same time, Scrappy began gnawing on Midge's tumor.  I thought perhaps the tumor was infected, even though Midge just finished off another round of antibiotics, and it was emitting a scent that attracted Scrappy.  The vet had instructed me not to let the other dogs lick the tumor, because it could make them sick and cause an infection.  She said to keep a shirt on Midge, even though it is hot outside.  So, I've been cleaning the open wound, putting a bandage over it, and then putting a shirt over that, and Scrappy still chews right through the shirt and bandage.  If I leave the house, I come home to a bloody massacre.  So much of our furniture and rugs and carpet have blood stains on them.  I've given up on trying to get it all out.  I figure someday I'll replace it all with something clean and new.  At any rate, I have to keep pulling Scrappy off of Midge to protect both dogs.

Well, apparently one of these times when I pulled Scrappy off her, I injured him, because a short time later, he stopped eating, hunched up his back, and lost the use of his hind end.  So, I had two dogs who were partially paralyzed, who refused to eat, and who were vomiting.  Of course, this had to happen on a Saturday night when no vet would be available until Monday morning.

Then Stewie stopped eating.  My husband got suspicious that none of this had to do with Midge's diabetes or me accidentally hurting Scrappy, but that the dogs ate a bad can of dog food.  Well, each dog eats different food, and I have to stand over them to make sure they don't get to the other dogs' food, because I don't want them ingesting medication or a diet that does not fit their needs.  One dog needs high protein, another dog needs low protein...  and some of the bowls contain medications.  However, that doesn't mean that something didn't happen to distract me during one meal.  It's all I can do to stay focused at dog mealtimes because of all the chaos.  I've usually got one dog done eating and doing a pee-pee dance at the door, another dog refusing to eat and waiting for something better, and another dog trying to steal what is in the other bowls.  Add in annoying crap like the phone and doorbell ringing and an oven buzzer going off while the dryer buzzer is screaming, and I'm one hair shy of being a complete nutcase.  It's hard to multi-task and prioritize.

I decided that if they weren't eating within three days, I'd take them to the vet, even though I doubted she'd do anything except prescribe more antibiotics that give the dogs diarrhea.  They still weren't eating their prescribed dog foods, so I tried chicken and rice, which they devoured.  Now I'm slowly working their prescribed foods back into their diets, but I can see that part of Midge's problem is that she can't eat dry dog food anymore because her tooth hurts.

This is the Catch 22 that I'm in.  Midge is supposed to have a cracked tooth pulled and two tumors removed, but the vet won't schedule surgery until we get her diabetes under control.  So far, no luck.  Now her tooth is bothering her enough that she won't eat her prescribed dry dog food, and so she's ingesting foods that aren't totally in line with her diabetic diet, and insulin dosages are a guessing game even with the help of urine and blood tests.

The good news is that once the dogs started eating the chicken and rice, they could walk on all four legs again.  So, now I'm back to trying to keep Scrappy from gnawing on Midge's tumor, and having to constantly take the dogs outside to relieve themselves.  I'll admit that even though they were very sick, it was nice when they weren't eating because I got a break from all the potty walks.  I suspect that when they do pass away, I won't know what to do with myself because I'll have so much free time.

Currently, I can't even eat a complete meal, go to the bathroom, or sleep without being interrupted by dog problems.  I had to put off my lunch for two hours today while I dealt with the dogs.  When I finally sat down to eat, I took one bite and the doorbell rang.  The dogs charged the door barking, (all it takes is one dog to hear it), and I instantly got indigestion from having to wolf down my lunch.  Who was at the door?  A delivery of dog food.  I swear, my entire day revolves around taking care of these dogs.  I can't do anything for myself.

Despite what a pain in the butt they are, you can see why I don't jump at the idea of taking them to the vet to be euthanized, because they always recover from whatever is going on with them.  One minute they look like they are knocking on death's door, and the next minute it's like nothing ever happened.

Now that the dogs are eating, I'm having to deal with hyperactive bladders and lot of "sheet."  I sat down at the table to paint, but had to get up to get something.  When I returned, Midge had laid down right were I needed to put my feet to sit in that chair, so I pushed her aside with my foot (since she's deaf and cannot hear me telling her to move), and next thing I knew, I had dog sheet all over my bare foot!  Apparently, she had a turd stuck to her butt.  The simplest things turn into fiascoes so quick for me.

My 12-hour inflammation management routine hasn't been working too well, so I lose the use of my leg in the last few hours before I'm due to take another pill.  I've been taking my pills after the dogs have their breakfast and dinner, so that's right when they need to keep going outside every few minutes.  Old dogs can't control their bladders.  Anyway, it's been so hard to push through my pain and try to hobble around both with dogs on leashes and carrying crippled dogs in my arms.  It's like the crippled caring for the crippled.  My husband has back pain in the evenings, so he moans and groans whenever he has to deal with taking the dogs outside.  We almost have to talk it out and see who's in more pain each evening to figure out who has dog duty or whether we should take turns.  There isn't a single soul in our house who isn't in pain.  I'm just thankful that the horses are healthy.

Since riding horses has been impossible this week, I've decided to check in on some people in my life who I've been avoiding.  There are a few individuals who suck up too much of my time and who don't really treat me very well, so this past year I have been stingy about making myself accessible to them.  I even went so far as to tell them to leave me alone and to try to solve their own problems without me for a change.  I just didn't have anything left to give them, and I really didn't know why I was even giving them anything in the first place, because they are not good people.  However, every once in a while I feel bad for them and these predicaments they've gotten themselves into, and I want to help, forgetting what a pain in the butt they were in the past.

So, I called one person just to give her a chance to talk, and right off the bat she started saying disrespectful things that pissed me off.  Two hours later, I had heard her life story and still did not get to spit out the reason why I called.  Each time I tried to speak, she cut me off and changed the subject back to herself.  I hung up telling myself that I did my good deed for the day by listening, and hopefully it won't come back to bite me in the form of her calling me constantly to bend my ear further.

Then I called another difficult person to see how he was doing, only to find out that he's gone missing.  I had to do some detective work.  All I know is that he's not in the hospital, he's not in jail or prison, and he's not dead.  I feel bad because he was in trouble the last time we talked, and though I gave him some money, I told him I had my own problems to deal with and couldn't help him beyond that.  Quite honestly, I thought he was exaggerating or even lying about the trouble he was in.  Apparently, he was telling the truth, so he probably could have used my moral support back when I was building a wall between us.  Now I have to go to bed at night wondering where he is and if he's okay.  I was literally his last hope, but I was too overwhelmed with my own health problems at the time to help him.   The timing of his problems is always atrocious.  On one hand, I'm relieved to not have to deal with him now that he's missing.  On the other hand, my imagination is going wild thinking about what could have happened to him.

He's a person who, like my dogs, needs special care from others and can't take care of himself.  All I can say is that when I'm completely crippled because of this arthritis, I'm going to be so kind and appreciative of those who help me.  I'm not going to be an ass like him.  It's hard enough for people to try to find time to help others, so why make it harder on them by being a jerk?

I've been working on ground manners with the horses, because I know that once the summer heat sets in, we all get grumpy.  I have ten minutes to be outside doing barn chores before my skin gets burned and my brain boils, and I can't afford to lose a few seconds to pushing horses out of my way or chasing them off.  They are really bad about getting into my space while I'm cleaning, and snatching hay out of my arms, knocking it all over the ground.  So, I've been taking a whip with me into the barn any time I do anything.  The horses respect that and instantly get their ducks all in a row.

It's amazing how horses will show you that they understand exactly what you want once you make it clear that you are in a zero tolerance for B.S. mood.  I always get mad when I clean all their stalls only to have them run past me into a clean stall to poop, so I've been keeping them out of the barn until I'm done.  Last night I let them into the barn while I finished up cleaning the last pile of the manure in the arena.  I pulled the wagon all the way down the barn aisle and out the gate.

Next thing I knew, Lostine was chasing Bombay out of his stall into the arena.  It turned out that he was going to poop in his stall and Lostine stopped him.  He pooped in the arena instead, and then returned to his stall.  I couldn't chastise him for that, because I'm always telling them not to poop in the clean stalls, and he didn't.  Unfortunately, because he waited until I was done cleaning, he pooped as far away from my manure wagon as possible, and I had to limp all the way through the barn and across the arena to clean it up.  I'm always having to decipher the lesser of two evils -- pulling a full, heavy wagon all that distance, or making two or three trips with just the fork while every muscle and bone in my body aches.  (I know I should just leave it, but I'm too OCD.  I need a sense of accomplishment, and I can't feel that unless everything is actually clean for more than 30 seconds.)

It astounds me how much and how often horses poop.  It takes two to three forks to clean up one pile.  Also, the horses literally poop faster than I can clean it up.  Usually, within five minutes of me getting a section totally clean, I turn around and find four more piles of manure in that location.  I know that I should just be glad that they are pooping at all with the cruddy hay they've been eating.

So, that's where I'm at this week.  Hopefully, things will settle down soon so I can get back to dealing with something other than sick dogs and whatever the fan sprays my way.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

After all that, it turned out that they delivered the wrong dog food! So now I get to spend what little free time I don't have correcting someone else's mistake.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Well, all I can say is none of this sounds good. I hope things start going your way very soon.

Crystal said...

What a nusiance, you have enough trouble without others messing stuff up. Sucks about the hay hope no one gets sick off it and the next batch is better.
You are a saint with your dogs, not sure I could handle all that, pretty sure there would be some kennels used so I could have a break

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Crystal - In the case of my dogs, putting them in kennels causes more problems because they bite and scratch the bars to try to break out and sometimes rip their own teeth and toenails out in the process. I can't put them in separate rooms either, because they'll scratch at the doors until they dig holes in the wood. There are no simple solutions.

Linda said...

What a bad week. I've received crappy hay many times and it makes me so angry!! I don't know how to combat it except maybe to warn them, in writing, that if the hay is not as advertised, we're turning it away. Then, cut a bale or two open on the spot.

Difficult friends are tough. You're wise to limit your time. Time is precious.

TeresaA said...

It is a tough week. Do you think that they are tyring to dump last years hay? I woud call the place and demand discount.

Camryn said...

I feel for you. Odd that they all show such odd and similar symptoms at the same time! Would Midge eat her food better if soaked perhaps? Corgis, especially overweight are sadly prone to back problems. Hope they & you all feel better very soon.