Monday, August 28, 2017

Knee Deep in It

We're knee deep in manure -- both the real kind and the figurative kind.  The trailer we use to haul manure to the dump was falling apart, so my husband has spent the past few days replacing the floorboards, which is no easy feat.  It requires a lot of strength.  Though he parked it in the garage so that he could work in the shade, it was still hovering around 110 degrees in the garage.  I was worried that he was going to die of heat stroke.  In the meantime, the manure has been piling up and we're running out of places to put it.  What's that saying about death and taxes?  I think we can add manure to that list.

In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes and manure.

One morning I was knocked off my feet by a health problem, and I asked my husband if he could go throw the horses some hay.  I didn't mean for him to do all of my chores.  I just wanted the horses to get their breakfast, and I would do the rest when I felt better.  But he was out there for a super long time.  When he returned to the house, he told me that when he walked past the horse trailer, something jumped out at him from between the tires.  It turned out to be a rattlesnake.  Fortunately, it didn't bite him.  Maybe he startled it and it jumped.  He ran to get his snake stick and trash bin, but the snake was gone by the time he got back.

It scared me to think that he almost took one for the team.  I always worry that whenever I ask someone to help with the barn chores, he or she will get hurt in the process.  It's dangerous working around my barn.  I seriously feel like I'm sending people into the lion's den.  Since my leg has been getting progressively worse, I've been toying with the idea of hiring a ranch hand until I can get the horses sold, but I don't want to give up just yet.  Until some doctor figures out what is wrong with me and tells me there is no cure, I want to try to keep the horses.  I'd hate to sell them only to find out that there is some easy fix for my leg.  My refusal to let go means dealing with a lot of pain while I haul hay and shovel manure.

That night I took the dogs out to do their business and spotted a baby rattlesnake in front of the garage bay on the driveway.  It had its head up and was observing us.  I quickly dragged the dogs in and shut the bay before it could get into the garage.  The next night I walked down to the barn in the dark with a head lamp guiding my way.  On the way back up the driveway I realized that one strip of landscaping plastic on the ground was not shiny.  I took a closer look and saw that it was the baby rattlesnake.  I probably stepped right over it on my way down to the barn, which tells you how easy it is to not see them.  I had my head lamp pointed at the ground and was carefully scanning from side to side in search of snakes.  So now I'm afraid to go out at night.  The sudden appearance of snakes is because our nights are cooling off as we head into fall.

We've been having some fairly intense monsoon storms in the late afternoons.  One microburst of wind blew our furniture around on our porch and knocked down our neighbor's saguaro.  Still, that's much better than what's happening in Texas.

When Midge came home from her surgery, there were two little lumps at each end of her incision on her back.  I was told they would be puffy, and it was nothing to worry about.  So, when those two lumps joined as one in the middle of the incision, I didn't think much about it.  Then over the weekend, that lump grew to the size of a golf ball.  I took her in on Monday for her follow up, thinking that she had a hematoma and that maybe the vet could drain it.  However, the vet thinks that lump is her cancer coming back.

"It can come back ten days after it was surgically removed?" I asked.

She nodded.  "There are no rules when it comes to cancer," she said.

I was floored.  The vet said she wanted me to take Midge into the city to see an oncologist.  I resisted and explained that my leg has been causing me a lot of pain and it's really difficult for me to drive, so I'm trying to limit my driving to just short trips around town.  She said it's not that far.

I realized once again that there is no point in trying to get others to understand my predicament, especially since there is no name for it.  I can't even describe to my own doctors what is going on with my leg, because so many different things are going on with it.  Today when I stood up quickly to try to catch Scrappy before he crapped on the floor, my leg cracked loudly multiple times and then locked up so that I couldn't move.  Sometimes I can't lift it to move it between the brake and gas pedals, so I have to drive with my left foot, which is unnatural and uncomfortable.  I can't always get other people to drive me places, and I don't want to have to pay for cab fares.  I just want some control over my schedule.  I want other people to stop setting up appointments for me in far away places.

The vet began describing the type of care my dog would need if she received both cancer treatment and insulin for diabetes simultaneously.  I would basically have to be drawing blood throughout the day and babysit her glucose levels.  I'd have to be testing her urine and giving her both injections and pills.  Her diseases already take up the majority of my day, and I was being told that now they will completely consume me.

I almost cried.  I shook my head and told the vet that we can't take care of her anymore.  I have my leg problems and my husband has his back problems and it's painful for us to simply bend over to put leashes on the dogs to take them outside.  Now I'll have to be getting down on my hands and knees to prick her ears and paws and gums.  I can't do it.  Every move I make causes me so much pain.  I told her I'd have to put her to sleep.  That's when the vet told me that she doesn't "do that".  She said I'd have to take her to the oncologist.

So, I don't know what I'm going to do.  I keep thinking that one of these issues I've been struggling with over this past year will resolve itself, and then some of my time will be freed up so that I can focus on finding out what is wrong with my leg.  When I got my dog's surgery handled, I thought my time would be freed up when she healed and her pills ran out, but the vet gave me another round of pills to give her and another doctor to take her to.  I thought I was fixing the problem of removing some masses that wouldn't stop bleeding, but instead I opened up a can of worms, drained my pocketbook, and forced myself into an even bigger commitment than I had a few weeks ago when it came to my animal husbandry routine.

The air conditioning on my truck stopped working over the weekend.  It was just blowing hot air.  I didn't have time to get it fixed before Midge's veterinary appointment, so she and I were dying on the ride there and the ride home.  It had to be 125 degrees inside the cab.  My husband had a chiropractor appointment at the same time, so he couldn't drive us in his car.  After I got Midge home, I started to drive to the closest shop in town to get my air conditioning fixed.  My husband tried to stop me because he wanted me to take it into a shop in the city where it would get better care.  I told him I was in too much pain to drive into the city, and I wasn't willing to wait a week for an appointment, and leave my truck with them for several days.  I have places to go and things to do.  I stopped at the end of my driveway and started fiddling with the controls.  Magically, the air conditioning started working again, and cool air was blowing into the cabin.  So, apparently, there are some wires crossed somewhere.   Even though the dashboard was telling it to blow cold air, it was blowing hot air.

It turned out that my son's car completely broke down this week and he had to have it towed in for repairs.  He was unhappy about the timing of that, because he's trying to save up money to buy a house.

Sometimes, when I get hit with too many problems at once and feel overwhelmed, I think about hiring someone to handle everything for me, just so that I can spare myself the stress.  It seems like a win-win situation.  I can relax knowing that someone else is taking care of it, and "someone else" wouldn't be as emotionally invested in the problems so he or she can just be happy to have a paying job while he or she fixes my problems for me.  I'll just have to specify in my job description that the perfect candidate must be willing to handle manure.

Lots of it... of both the literal and figurative kind.


lytha said...

Sometimes I don't get around to picking up poop every day and I have such a tremendous amount at the 2nd is the amount produced at your house every day! Sometimes it's just too hot/humid to do it, and you have that problem all season.

Saiph said the people in Florida are the grouchiest people because of the heat. I think Arizona must be the same. You could die if you don't have AC, I think.

Mrs Shoes said...

WTH kind of vet will not "do that"? Does she mean she doesn't euthanize pets who are terminal? Does she mean she won't do it while you still have money in your wallet? Rhetorical questions -- the very idea of this bullshit has me riled up!
Damn Nuz, I can't imagine how you feel... I'm so sorry.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I think it would be a great idea to have someone do the barn and odd jobs around the place. Put up an ad at the tack stores and ask around at the hay guy etc. a couple hours a day would leave you free to take care of your leg and find out what the problem is. Have you had an MRI of your back and leg? It might help to pinpoint the problem. Sorry about Midge. And I never heard of a vet that doesn't put dogs down. Just go you another vet. I don't think an oncologist is the answer and it will cost you more to see a specialist, who will probably try to talk you into some bulls---t treatment that won't work. Hang in there.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

lytha - Oh yes. We have the worst drivers when it comes to road rage, and I know most of these people would probably be perfectly patient if their brains weren't boiling.

Mrs. Shoes - Thanks. I guess it is every vet's personal choice if they want to participate in euthanizing or not. I just assumed she would support me.

GHM - I haven't had any MRIs yet. I'm still trying to get all the x-rays I need after they mixed mine up with someone else's. The problem is that it takes one to two months just to get in to see doctors around here. I totally agree with you on the topic of seeing the oncologist. I'm thinking I'll just take care of her until it's obviously time to let her go, and then take her to a different vet who is willing to euthanize animals who have terminal illnesses. Back in the day, you didn't even need a reason. If you owned the animal, and you requested that it be euthanized, the vets provided the service. I'm kind of wondering if society is heading toward not allowing euthanization of animals since we don't allow it for humans. I'd actually like to see it go in the opposite direction... allowing humans to opt for being euthanized.

Crystal said...

Wow thats ridiculous. Although I do like your new take on the statement it seems appropriate. And I think hiring a part time barn person would be great, even could take your dogs out if you wanted would be nice to not have to stress over that untill you get everything figured out. Poor Midge seems like she gets no breaks either

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Crystal - Sadly, Midge's fate was sealed when her breeder did too much in-breeding. The majority of her siblings either died at birth or shortly thereafter. Those that grew into adulthood were riddled with diseases. I'm betting that Midge survived the longest out of the last three litters from the same parents. It's a miracle that she has reached the expected lifespan of a Pembroke Corgi. At some point people have to consider which is more important: The length of the lifespan or the quality of life. I suspect that with everything required to treat both the diabetes and cancer, she'd be pretty miserable. I've managed to keep all the poking and prodding down to a minimum over the years, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Linda said...

I know the feeling, and it's not a good place to be..emotionally or physically. You really do need to have some resolution--for your mind's sake. Maybe hiring a few things out so you can free up time to see the doc and get new X-rays.