Category Archives: Mama Tess

MAMA TESS DID IT! SHE MADE IT… one hurdle gone. Onward – and thank you, thank you.


Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 | Filed under Mama Tess




First of all, THANK YOU for sending such lovely and heartfelt encouragements yesterday.

As I sat outside the surgery room, I read every one of those emails, FB posts and comments.  I felt supported and I knew MT was surrounded by your thoughts.  Thank you for caring.  Lovely.

SHE MADE IT!

Mama Tess held strong.  She did it!

I was so worried because she was so worried… bringing her back to the hospital was very stressful for our girl.  She was concerned.  I could see it in her eyes…

MT:  “Why am I here again?  Am I that sick?  I didn’t think I was that sick… will I have to stay here for another month?  I cannot bear it…!”

Me:  “No.  I promise.  This is an entirely different thing.  Dr. Errico is going to carve out the bad spot on your foot and make it sparkly again.  It will stop hurting.”

MT:  “OK.  If you say so… but I am nervous.”

Me:  “You’re alright, my girl.  Trust me.”

She did trust me, eventually…  And tonight, she is infection free!

At breakfast this morning, she DID NOT want to get onto the trailer.  She knew she was going back THERE.

At breakfast this morning, she DID NOT want to get onto the trailer. She knew she was going back THERE.

THE JOURNEY TODAY…

I rose early and prepped myself.  Then, in the morning darkness, I walked to the barn and called to her.

“It’s your big day!”

I had been telling her all about what was going to happen… and I had tried to send her mental imagery of the day…  But, I don’t think I did a very good job because as soon as she saw the trailer, her feet became concrete.

MT:  “I am not going into that thing because I am afraid that you will take me THERE again.”

Me:  “I am taking you there again.  But this is good.  You will be OK.  This is going to help, not hurt.”

MT:  “Yeah, well… Make me.”

Luckily, I had my friend, Leslie, come over just for this reason.  Leslie stood behind MT and tapped her side until she moved forward.  It took about 10 minutes to convince her to walk towards and get into the trailer.  But, once she resigned herself, she hopped in.

I had shavings knee deep.  I wanted the hour drive (on windy roads) to be as comfortable for her as possible.

We arrived to the hospital and she was drenched.  I had a difficult time keeping my emotions in check.  I was upset that she was so upset.

We arrived to the hospital and she was drenched. I had a difficult time keeping my emotions in check. I was upset that she was so upset.

ARRIVAL

We arrived at the hospital before anyone else.  I had prepared to drive slowly, and I did… but I still made very good time – even after pulling over 6 times to let the cars piled up behind me go around.

When I peered through the trailer window, I could see that MT was very alert and upset that she was HERE again.  The trailer was rocking because she kept circling inside.

So, one of the technicians ran around getting Tess’ stall ready so I could settle her.

But, there was no settling her.  She was drenched in sweat and filled with anticipation.

In a very telling move, Tess walked straight into her old stall that she had occupied for a month in August.  We had to re-direct her to the new stall.

(I wanted her in a different location so that she would not have as much association.  And the new stall gave her a view of the offices and more of the hustle-bustle, which I thought would be more interesting for her.)

She was very well mannered, but apprehensive.

Dr. Cindy Nielsen (The Founder Warrior) and Dr. Jason Errico look over her Xrays as they prepare the strategy for the day.

Dr. Cindy Nielsen (The Founder Warrior) and Dr. Jason Errico look over her Xrays as they prepare the strategy for the day.

PREP

The anesthesiologist came into her stall to start the catheter.  He mildly sedated her to take off the edge.

We walked into the Xray room and she stood for a few different shots.

When we left the Xray room Tess practically ran outta there.  She thought that was it…

But, then we headed into the surgery.

This was where her eyes got really big and she tried to remove herself.

The Anesthesiologist had to give her quite a bit to get past her adrenalin.

But, we did.

Getting prepped by the anesthesiologist.

Getting prepped by the anesthesiologist.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.37.10 PM

She had rolled to remove the perspiration. Here you can see that she was apprehensive but polite and mannered.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.37.45 PM

The final Xrays before surgery.

THE CHAINS

I had never watched a horse go under and then be hoisted onto a surgery table.

My advice:  If it is your horse, don’t watch.

I watched this part and it was too unsettling for me to continue.  I left and paced outside for the next 5 hours.

You see, what they do is push in the drugs that knock the horse out.  Then they all lean on her so she falls the right way.  While on the ground, they tie her head and tail with moveable constraints so that they can direct her when she wakes up.

Then, and this is the hard part, they put soft ties on the legs and hoist her up as if she was on a rendering truck (very tough to watch).

Yes, they support her head and she was intubated, etc…, but watching her go up in the chains was all I could take.

They have her against the padded wall... right after this, the meds were pushed and all the attendants leaned against her so she would fall appropriately.

They have her against the padded wall… right after this, the meds were pushed and all the attendants leaned against her so she would fall appropriately.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.38.10 PM

She is down and out here… the next phase I couldn’t handle. They took those green straps and placed them around her feet – and then hoisted her up, legs first, supporting her head and intubation. It was too much for me … I went outside.

SITTING OUTSIDE

I sat outside and tried to busy myself.  I read.  I walked around and visited the other patients… I worked some…

Luckily, Dr. Cindy (The Founder Warrior) was inside the surgery and she would text me every so often to let me know what was going on.

It was like a lifeline.

This was where I sat for the next 5 hours.  The surgery was in the rooms on the right.  I walked around but mostly sat on the bench with the most sun.

This was where I sat for the next 5 hours. The surgery was in the rooms on the right. I walked around and sat on the bench with the most sun.

RECOVERY

Once Dr. Errico was done, Tess had to recover – very carefully.

They had a huge wedge pillow against her and as she awakened, they moved the walls in so that she could only get up one way – underneath herself.

As the Founder Warrior said, “True to her form, she tried to get up before she was ready…” so they had a very wobbly but upright Tess inside the recovery room for another 2 hours.

I was very pleased that all the Doctors stood with her in there the entire time.  Dr. Errico and Cindy never left her side.  The entire time.  They were in there for 5 hours.  From start to recovery.

Dr. Cindy Nielsen (The Founder Warrior) was texting me from inside the surgery room.  Thank Horsegods.  She was my lifeline.

Dr. Cindy Nielsen (The Founder Warrior) was texting me from inside the surgery room. Thank Horsegods. She was my lifeline.  (My joke about the ‘surgical duct tape’ was because I saw Dr. Jason Errico rush out of the surgery room and then back in with a big roll of duct tape.)

BACK IN HER STALL

Tess trotted a slow motion, druggy Morgan trot back to her stall.  She was out of it, for sure, and feeling dopey.

Since I knew she was up and OK, I quickly left to get home because I had failed to bring her hay and special feeds with me.

Yikes!

By the time I got back, she was recovered but bleary.

She was up and back in her stall, but still sweaty from all the meds coming out of her system.  When she saw me, she showed me her butt.  Clearly she was sending me a message...

She was up and back in her stall, but still sweaty from all the meds coming out of her system. When she saw me, she showed me her butt. Clearly she was sending me a message…

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 6.39.17 PM

She was listening to me, but mad at me.

BONE PAIN

I don’t know about Tess’ pain, but I had a bunion removed once and that was the worst pain I had ever felt.

A bunion removal is carving bone.  Today, we carved Tess’ coffin bone.  So, I am guessing that this really hurts.

The good part is once this surgery pain goes away, she will hopefully not have chronic infection pain…

However, right now, she blames me.

When I arrived back with her special foods, she wouldn’t take any of it from me.

After a few moments of me saying, “Really?  You are not going to eat THIS??!!” – she finally took a mouthful.

I think it surprised her how food made her feel better… after the first swallow, she brightened and looked at me with surprise.

“Hey, that really did make me feel better!  I’ll take more, please!”

And with that, she was back!

I left knowing she was up, eating and back to herself.

OK, I guess I do want this food I spit out after all...

OK, I guess I do want this food I spit out after all…  Note the catcher’s mitt on her foot.

PROGNOSIS

Well, her prognosis after surgery is far better than if she hadn’t had surgery to remove the coffin bone infection.

The good news was that there was far less infection that they thought.  Much of what we saw on the Xray was actually scar tissue that had pushed against the bone to create the void.  This is also painful.  So, the surgery was a good thing for several reasons.

I am going to leave her at the hospital until her foot is stable.  Once she has her hospital plate on (a removable plate on her hoof that protects the sole), I will bring her home and follow all the Doctor directions to a “T”.

If she recuperates well with no complications, and has healthy attachment… as long as I keep her on her meds and feed her only what is on her strict diet, she should recover.

And tonight, she has no infection in her hoof.

YAHOO!  Happy Dance!  Praise HorseGods and St. Francy.  (I’ll tell you about St. Francy at a later date…)

I hated to leave her... but she had her food and the hospital was very busy... so I left.  I know they will take excellent care of her until I arrive in the morning.

I hated to leave her… but she had her food and the hospital was very busy… so I left. I know they will take excellent care of her until I arrive in the morning.

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Mama Tess Update: The Good, The Bad and the Surgery TODAY!


Monday, January 27th, 2014 | Filed under Mama Tess




MAMA TESS UPDATE!

MT has been very mobile this week!  The last round of maggots were able to mature very slowly and lasted 8 days!  That means that they had less necrotic tissue to feed them.  Finally!

I’ve been letting her roam the front lawn for a few minutes every other day.  She loves it!  As you can see by the pics, MT  has no issue putting full weight on her bad foot.

MT enjoying a stroll on the lawn.  She is bearing weight totally on her bad foot...

MT enjoying a stroll on the lawn. She is bearing weight totally on her bad foot…

 

She walks all over the front lawn...

She walks all over the front lawn…

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 5.41.33 PM
MT orbits around the lawn between the house and the pony pasture.

THE GOOD NEWS!

For the good news, I’ve attached a photo of her left foot.  You can see that it looks much better.  Her frog is visible and there is no more oozing from the toe area.

She once again grew mountains of sole – thank you Theraplate!  Here is her Xray comparison.  The Xray on the left is from December.  You can see that she again has huge sole growth, her angle is better and she is more attached at the coronet band!

This is the sole of her left foot.  you can see the hole the maggots created.  It is clean and not oozing.  We can also see her frog, finally!  (Doesn't her foot look like a face?  Two eyes, a nose, a  moustach and a mouth with one side more opened?!)
This is the sole of her left foot. you can see the hole the maggots created. It is clean and not oozing. We can also see her frog, finally! (Doesn’t her foot look like a face? Two eyes, a nose, a moustache and a mouth with one side more opened?!)
Comparison from Dec 19th to yesterday.  Ample sole growth (Thank you, Theraplate and Equion Supplements!), she has a better angle and more attachment at the coronet band.
Comparison from Dec 19th to yesterday. Ample sole growth (Thank you, Theraplate and Equion Supplements!), she has a better angle and more attachment at the coronet band.

THE BAD NEWS – plus some better news…

Bone infection.

She finally has started a small infection in her coffin bone.

Bone infections are common with bad founder.  Usually, surgery would be performed to cut out the infected bone.  And usually the surgery is successful.

The good news within the bad news is that previously, Tess was not a candidate for surgery because of her age and because there was so much damage to her good foot.  How could she recover if she had two bad front feet?

But… her right foot is now sound.

So, she could have the surgery… which is good news.

The dreaded bone infection.

The dreaded bone infection.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 5.24.28 PM

The image on the left is from November. No obvious infection. The image on the right is from January 23rd. Infection.

THE REASON FOR CELEBRATION!

Cindy Nielsen DVM (The Founder Warrior) and I were devastated when we saw the Xray that showed the bone infection.

We had spoken about this as a possible future scenario.  We both knew this was not ideal…  We knew she needed surgery.

But, we both also knew that I’m tapped out financially.  I could not afford surgery.

What a horrible reason to stop.

If Tess doesn’t have the surgery, her chances of clearing up a bone infection on her own would be about 5%.  This bone infection would eventually be her demise.

So, not willing to give up, Cindy very graciously offered to do the surgery here at my house.   She had never done it in the field with a horse standing, but she would try it for us – to give Tess a chance.

Hmmmmm.  Part of me agreed that we could do it.  Yes, we could do it here…

And another part of me wondered if doing it in the field, alone, just the two of us… was the best I could do for Tess.  I sensed that Cindy was doing this for me and MT, but would prefer a hospital setting…

So I took a chance and emailed Dr. Langdon Fielding at Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center.

I told him about how far Tess had come.  I enclosed all of the positive Xrays… and showed him the infection Xray.

And then, I told him the truth.

I had no money right now… but this was Tess’ only chance and she had come so far.

Could he defer payment until I was back on my feet?

…I waited overnight, knowing Langdon was considering my plea.

The next day, this was his response:

Hi Dawn,
   I talked with Jason (surgeon) a little bit and I guess I just need to clarify whether you are wanting Jason to do the surgery or whether Cindy would be doing the surgery. I think we are happy to help in either way though it seems like if Jason is going to be there that it would be better to just have him do it as he has the experience/training for it? We are pretty flexible but I just wanted to clarify this. Also, was the plan to do the surgery with her anesthetized or with her standing/awake? Doing a payment plan is fine — we have known you for a long time:-)

langdon  

 
Langdon Fielding DVM, DACVECC
Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center

Horsegods, bless that man!  He didn’t make me beg or barter or anything!
He simply extended his hand and played it forward.

Wow.

If any of you feel the appreciation I feel right now, feel free to extend a  thank-you to Dr. Fielding!

Knowing that she would soon be going into surgery, I gave her a beauty session today - starting with her winter beard...

Knowing that she would soon be going into surgery, I gave her a beauty session today – starting with her winter beard…

TESS IS HAVING SURGERY TODAY!

Like a lightswitch, all of a sudden, MT is  painful again on her left.  It must be the infection.

I asked Dr. Fielding how quickly we could do the surgery – not wanting her to stand on her right for too long and worsen her chances of recovery.

As you read this, I am either preparing to drive her down (thank you, Leslie, for helping me get her into the trailer), or I am driving her, or I am at the hospital with her, or I am waiting for results or she is out of surgery and I know.

HORSEGODS, and every other God, please be with us!

One day at a time… one day at a time.

MT freshly groomed and taking an afternoon stroll on the eve of her surgery.  Hopefully, this will be the turning point!

MT freshly groomed and taking an afternoon stroll on the eve of her surgery. Hopefully, this will be the turning point!

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