Today has been a whirlwind.
My initial thought is that Tess is where she needs to be in order for any chance of recovery. She is in the very best place.
The rest of me is very upset that she is this sick and I waited this long to get her to the ER.
It is bad. It could be worse – which is what I am hanging onto – but it is bad.
The morning started well. MT was happy to see me and eager to eat her breakfast. I was very excited and I think she felt that…
After feeding, I ran into the house so I would be ready for the call from the equine nutritionist.
She called as I was getting out of the shower.
So, I took the call in my underwear.
And of course, as I was sitting there in my underwear, there was a knock on the door.
I grabbed whatever was closeby and threw on my ‘100 degree pants’ and a top. My 100 degree pants are the pants that I wear to feed when it is 100 degrees or more outside. They are very lightweight, flowery, cotton, boxy (ugly but comfortable) capris. I think they cost about $5.
The top was a tshirt I happen to have just washed. I didn’t even know the color but it was sitting on my bed, waiting to be put away. So I grabbed it.
Oh yeah, and I put on my plastic slip on clogs.
Voila! I was dressed.
The knock on the door was as gentle as he was.
As soon as I saw him, I felt relaxed – as if I had the best hands available before me.
Dr. Eduardo de la Cruz hails from Puerto Rico. And lucky for me, he delighted in my ‘festive’ outfit…
We walked down to the barn to meet the patient.
Immediately, Dr.E slipped into her stall and whispered in her ear while she had her back purposefully turned as she gazed out her window.
Dr. E was asking her (not me) if he could take her vitals.
She was fine with it.
Throughout the process, he kept asking her, not me, for permission.
She liked him.
I liked him.
As Dr.E proceeded with his workup, he often exclaimed how good she was and how stoic and kind she was… MamaTess was working her magic – in spite of her pain – the old girl still had it!
It was time to take the Xrays so I walked her out of her stall. Hard to watch. She wasn’t in the founder pose, but you could tell that every step – hurt.
I asked Dr. E if he knew her history.
He said that he did… but he wanted to hear it again. So, I told him.
Dr. E listened and when I told him about the ‘traumatic trim’ he almost fell over. He clenched his fists and said that he battles these kinds of trims so often he just wanted to scream.
I asked Dr.E to explain what happened after the trim.
He showed me a diagram of how the coffin bone sits and where the blood flows in the hoof. Basically, when the sole is the lowest part of the hoof on the ground and not supported by walls, the bone constantly pushes down on that center sole which (besides adding to the cascade of pain, inflammation, infection…) pinches the major blood vessel that runs along the bottom of the foot and therefore creates a lack of bloodflow which kills the sole.
While this trim style is supposed to stimulate and promote blood flow, in MT’s case, it did the opposite.
I knew it. He knew it.
I cried a little and told him how desperately angry I was with myself for not being there when the trim happened and for not preventing it.
He pointed his finger at me and told me to STOP IT. “We do our best. Let’s move forward.”
Dr. E took the Xrays like a Ninja! This is the third set she has had in 6 weeks so I had a fresh memory to compare.
Silently he whipped the plates up and cajoled her into placing her feet properly.
Whhhhhip and “stay there girl, you’re doing great”, whip and trigger and Done!
He was awesome.
While others struggled and seemed clunky in comparison, watching Dr. E was like watching an Xray ballet.
She was relaxed.
The Xrays were not good. She has severe rotation and some sinkage on her left. Her right, which was never compromised, is now rotated – but not severely.
She has lost a quarter of her sole on her left.
Her biggest issue is the dead sole. Without much blood flow, it will be difficult for her to heal and grow more sole.
Without some sort of wall support, her sunken coffin bone will press against the frog and continue to kill off her sole.
If they cannot stop the inflammation, infection and pressure, she has no chance.
He felt the only way to save her would be to treat her 24/7. So, he asked if I could take her down to the hospital.
AS HE LEFT
As he left, Dr. E told me how bad this was… but also said the he has some hope because she is ‘still standing’ and because her digital pulses are not high. He feels she has an incredible attitude and is able to withstand pain well enough that she will not collapse under pressure.
He feels that if he could monitor her 24/7, he may be able to find the underlying issue (he feels metabolic), arrest it, and continue to work on hardening her sole and promoting blood flow.
She knew we were leaving and she was ready – sort of.
I mean, she let me put on her Soft Ride boots and she came out of her stall – and the barn – like gangbusters (for her).
But midway, she stopped. She wanted to go eat some green grass. She wanted to look around. She wanted to go up to the house and eat apples off the tree.
So she took a few steps up a hill (relative) and then her boot went wonky.
I told her to HO! She did. I immediately removed her boots. The last thing I needed was for her to break her ankle.
We gingerly walked towards the trailer. And then she stopped again.
Nothing I could do would make her go. I couldn’t leave her there because there was nothing to tie her to. I didn’t have any treats. I only had her leadrope and my will.
I tried everything in my bag of tricks. I even begged her.
She wouldn’t budge.
Finally, I sat in a heap and let loose my tears. “YOU HAVE TO GET IN. PLEASE.”
MT raised her head, stood very proudly and whinnied.
The entire ranch erupted in return calls. Every single one of them called back.
Me (through clenched teeth and tears): OH NO YOU DON’T. YOU BETTER NOT BE SAYING GOOD BYE. I SWEAR TO HORSEGODS I WILL BRING YOU BACK. YOU CANNOT GIVE UP ON US NOW. GET IN THE TRAILER AND LET’S GET TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE.
She pooped and propelled herself up into the trailer and settled, ready to be tied.
Once a show horse, always a show horse. That’s my girl.
THE TRAILER RIDE
I threw closed her door and ran to pilot my precious cargo the hour and a half to the hospital – with one stop for gas.
(We have a rule in this house to never leave the truck with less than a half tank of gas – for emergency situations just like this one. Yup. The tank was on empty.)
I yelled out to all the angels, “Clear our path, please, make this easy!”
And they did. The gas station, which is right next to the only Starbucks for miles that is generally overwhelmed by cars sticking out from the badly engineered drive thru window, was clear.
From that point forward all was good. No traffic. No issues. She remained standing.
THE NEW HOSPITAL.
I knew exactly where the old hospital was since I had been there a bazillion times. However, I wasn’t quite sure where they had just built their new facility.
…I found it… Huge. Impressive. Easy to see from … far.
It is state of the art and beautiful.
Good. It would do nicely.
Except, I am a lousy trailer parker under pressure and the trailer drivway was not wide enough for me to do my clumsy backing because another distraught owner had parked her trailer haphazardly, too.
So, poor MT had to hoof it across gravel into her huge and freshly bedded stall, which she did.
MT was at the Ritz and she fit right in, regally.
I was hoping that the First Class bedroom would translate across her entire visit.
TIME TO LEAVE
I left my girl in her fancy stall.
She had rolled and gotten up. She had done her business.
She looked contented, not frightened. She knew she was there to be helped.
I studied her carefully and told her what Dr. E had said as he was leaving her side today.
Me: “Tessa, do you know what that very nice and handsome Doctor said about you today?”
Tess: “No, what? And, he is very handsome, isn’t he… I especially liked his accent. Very exotic.”
Me: He said:
“I really like her – a lot. She is very special and now I’m in trouble.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I have to save her.”
Tess: “Good. I’m glad he understands”
Me: “Yup”, I said to myself, “I’m counting on it.”
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