Monday, February 18, 2019

Dickie's Hoof #2- Vet Verdict

When it became apparent Dickie wasn't going to recover on his own we called the vet back out to find out what our next steps were. I was a total mess. I had convinced myself that Dickie was done for. I know how dangerous an infection in the hoof is. I know horses that have been put down after suffering for months from hoof infections. The situation was made even more stressful because I wouldn't be able to be present when the vet was there. Both my wife and I couldn't be gone from our work that week and I wasn't about to put the vet visit off one more day.

Our vet is wonderful and we knew he would do a good job. Jennie worked as his assistant when she first moved to Oregon. He has an entirely mobile practice so he has all of the high resolution imaging in his truck. The news was both good and bad. Dickie didn't have a massive infection. He has what is called a coffin bone sequestrum. Apparently the object had damaged part of his coffin bone and caused it to die. The only option for full recovery was to remove that part of the coffin bone.

I had never heard of something like this. I did a lot of internet searching and found horses a lot of good outcomes. All of the official articles seemed to say that the prognosis for returning to 100% soundness was good. I was surprised to learn that a horse can lose up to 1/3 of their coffin bone without any affect on performance. However, I still found more than enough horror stories on message boards to make my blood pressure go through the roof. I also knew that there was a chance the vet would open up the hoof and things would be worse than expected.

We decided that there was no real choice in the matter. Either we did surgery and he had a chance of recovery or he continued in pain.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Hoof Puncture Post # 1

About two weeks before our annual weeklong beach horse camping trip I got a call from my barn owner that Dickie came in from the field three legged lame with a piece of metal sticking out the top of his hoof. I let her know my wife would be on her way and we would call the vet. I said she could rinse it off but to leave the object in place.

The red arrow is the track the mystery object followed. 

By the time the barn owner got back out to the barn from calling me, an idiot farrier (not my farrier) had gone into Dickie’s stall and pulled the metal object out. Jennie arrived shortly after and found out that not only had the farrier removed the object but he had thrown the object away. Not only was he a complete idiot but he also was appalled that anyone would question his reasoning. He said he would’t have removed it if it had been in the bone. Wow, a farrier with X-ray vision. That’s pretty handy. Spoiler alert: farrier does not have X-ray vision and the metal object WAS in the bone. I am still so mad that I’m not sure I can look at the guy without telling him what a loser he is.

Photo from previous beach trip. 

If your horse has a puncture wound in his hoof DO NOT REMOVE THE OBJECT. If you leave the object in the vet will be able to X-ray the hoof and find out exactly where the object is, if it’s affecting the bone or joint. It also ensures that you can follow the original puncture track when removing the object and avoid addtional damage by pulling it out at the wrong angle.

The vet came out and took an X-ray, gave home some long acting antibiotics and said he should be 100% in a week. The expectation was that he might continue to be theee legged lame for a day or two then the recovery would be swift from there. If he wasn’t then we needed to call back because the object may have damaged his coffin bone.

This is about a week after the incident. The slit at the top of the hoof is where the metal went in from the top towards the toe. 

Dickie was back on four legs in two days rather than one, but that wasn’t shocking because he’s a drama queen. Our beach trip was quickly approaching and we began to worry that he wouldn’t recover in time but I was still hopeful he would be back to normal soon. He continued to improve but at day ten he wasn’t close to 100% sound by any means. The puncture site was also continuing drain slightly and was not closing. We called our ever patient vet to have another look at Dickie.

Good article about emergency care for a hoof puncture:

Keywords: coffin bone sequestrum, hoof puncture

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Saga of Dickie’s Foot

Long time no see right? I was great at keeping up here when Dickie was young but about four years ago life took a detour when I had a death in the family. I added another horse, got married, bought a house, changed jobs, and I’m genral becaus busy with a wonderful life. My lack of blogging is a reflection of how busy I am with the horses rather than because I don’t have any fun horse stories. My trust Mac also does and blogger is very very unfriendly on the iPhone. I have multiple half finished blog posts that become obsolete before I get around to posting them.

Married to a Horse Girl!

This might have you wondering why I came back. Last August Dickie managed to shove a piece of metal down his coronary band between is hoof wall and his coffin bone. In the process he damaged his coffin bone and was diagnosed with a coffin bone sequestrum. . Don’t worry this isn’t a sad story. He’s doing amazing and is on track to be in shape by the time the mud dries in the spring.

Appy Number Two

The reason I wanted to share our story was because I couldn’t find a single story like ours documented from start to finish. I found several stories about horses right after surgery. And there were often updates about long term recovery. What I couldn’t find much about was what the hoof should like before it was healed and back to normal. I spend a lot of time making panicked calls to the vet because I was convinced Dickie was done for. It would have been great see pictures showing what I should be expecting throughout the process.

A few weeks before impalement

Now that he’s back to normal I thought I would share his story along with pictures to help someone else who might go through the same thing.
He takes good care of me when he isn't trying to kill himself in the pasture.

Keywords: coffin bone sequestrum, hoof puncture

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Life After.......

I don't know why but it has been hard to blog. It seems like too much is happening to even cover it all. Then the next second my life seems so boring (happily so) that I don't know what to write. I apologize if this post is a bit disjointed. It has been a long time!!

Since we last talked so much has happened. I started the new job and settled into my lovely house. Being a home owner has been both rewarding and daunting. It is truly my dream house. It is near parks, sidewalks, and small neighborhood stores. It is a bit of a drive from the stable but I am not ready to move to the country so it is as close as I could get without spending a fortune in board.

Loosing two family members at once to gun violence was shocking, traumatic, and in many ways freeing. I wouldn't wish it on anyone and I would bring them back in a second, but I am a better person than I was before they died. It made me take stock of my life and realize that many of the things we fixate on just don't matter. And life really is too short. It is too short to waste on people who stifle you. Too short to stay in jobs that drain your spirit. And far too short not to just ride the damned horse. 

One of the biggest changes I made was leaving a relationship that stifled the person I used to be. I looked back and realized I liked my old self and wanted her back. My childhood was often chaotic and at times abusive. It was so important to me that I didn't continue the cycle. I chose a person who never yelled, never picked fights, and abhorred conflict. I can be a spitfire in my work and riding life but it turns out I am not so much in my love life. Over time many compromises were made and when I looked back I realized they were mostly on my side. I put her needs first and in the end I didn't help either of us. I enabled her social anxiety to the point that my friend were pretty sure I had a phantom girlfriend. 

I was lonely desperately needed to be around people who challenged me to grow as a person. I need people who tell me what they are thinking. I also need people who are willing to take care of me. I looked around and realized that I had those people in my life. I needed someone to hug me when I had a case of the ugly cries, not someone who pretended like they didn't hear. I needed people to drive me to PT when I was recovering from a second hip surgery in less than six months (and a new herniated disc). The beautiful thing that came to light during this time was that I HAD those kind of people in my life. The heartbreaking part was that my partner wasn't one of those people. She was there for the weeks just following my parents death. Other than that getting help with a constant struggle. Getting help with home PT was like pulling teeth, it felt like a bother to ask for a glass of water when I was on crutches after surgery. And she would take the day off work for herself but say "I am not sure I can get you there on time" when I had a PT appointment. The surgeries I had are very PT intensive. If you don't go to PT three times a week and do home therapy 2-3x daily in the first three months you will never regain full range of motion. Luckily I had amazing people in my life who filled in the gaps. 

When I started to regain my physical and mental health I realized I couldn't do it anymore. I don't think she is a bad person and I think her own demons kept her from seeing what I needed. I think I enabled for years by protecting her every time she said "You know that stresses me out." When I said goodbye I felt terrible for her. I felt like I had abandoned her. I know that in the long run it will be better for her. She didn't love me like you should love a life partner. She may have loved me as a friend and for the support I gave her. However, I know if she finds someone she really loves, taking care of that person won't be stressful.

With the passing of time I no longer feel guilty. I actually feel more angry than anything. She knew me before we dated. She knew my passions, needs, wants, interests before she signed up for a relationship. Yet, she was still perfectly happy for me to move further and further away from those things. A year later I have more than moved on. I am happier than I ever thought I could be. I am not sure where to start with my blog because I don't know if I can keep it just to horses. Horses are still a huge part of my life but there are other even more exciting things that have happened over the last year. This post is at least a start.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The House

In my mom's goodbye letter she said she imagined me in the house I would buy with my inheritance. Looking at houses on Zillow kept my spirits up in the months right after they died. I had hip surgery six weeks after it happened so for months I could go far from the couch or bed. I watched Doctor Who and sobbed about Rose, the Pond's, and River Song. And I would look at houses imagining what mom might like.My mom loved to house shop and loved old Portland houses. My favorite childhood house was my step dad's old 1920s home with a big porch and white columns. Some of my best childhood memories are of holidays in my aunt's Craftsman and exploring my great aunts old Tudor.

My absolute dream home is a big craftsman bungalow with a porch. If it had living space in the attic and crawl spaces I would be in heaven. I've been lusting after big porches for as long as I can remember. I've often driven slowly through the older neighborhoods stalking my dream homes. 

Housing prices have shot up in the last year in Portland. My friend almost doubled his month on a house he purchased four years ago. I watched them creep up and figured that dream house would be my next house. I wanted to stay in my neighborhood because it was the last area in the city where houses are affordable and the investment is worth it. A year ago I would have easily afforded the dream home but people were listing (and selling them) for 50-100k higher than a year ago. 

I had my plan of a good investment I could be happy in. Maybe something newer so I didn't have to worry as much. Then I could pay off debt and sell the House later for a profit. I went on vacation and waited for private to close. I hoped there would be the right home once the dust settles. 

The day I came back from vacation I headed to the lawyer to sign the finals papers and said "I'm in no rush for the funds to transfer" then hopped on Zillow for the heck of it in my car before o drove home. I saw this and almost fainted:

It was beyond perfect. It was the absolute most I wanted to spend. I would
Need to hop on getting that new job (more on that later) so I could afford all the extras but I could make it happen. The only reason I could afford it was because the rest of the houses in the surrounding blocks haven't been remodeled so it was the first one going for that price. 

In a little over two weeks I made an offer, had an inspection, and closed. In three weeks I had that new job. All of the photos in this post have been of my house. I can't even believe I found it. She's 105 years old and has all original hard wood floors. The porch is huge and they are ten foot ceilings. My bedroom is a giant finished attic. There are secret doors under stairs and Eves. It has so many windows. So many windows. It hasn't been all smooth sailing. They remodeled and while they spent money on fixtures they also did bonehead things like dump concrete mix down the sink and forget to put Teflon tape in the shower so it leaked and I ended up with four holes in my walls. 

Home ownership is fucking stressful. I don't care though. I live with two amazing people who are keeping me from letting the place fall to ruins. And I figure if she has made it for 105 years she can handle some ineptitude on my part. If you're ever in town give me a ring, you might want to take a bath in my giant tub ;) 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Summer of Equines

The love of horses has saved me many times and last year was no different. When I could finally drive a car again I used my horse time as physical therapy. When you herniated a disc you should walk for 30 mins at a time (even if it is excruciating). That's where many people go awry in recovery. It's so painful that you don't want to move but being still only extends recovery. On the other hand I had months of strict motion restrictions for my hips. I wasn't supposed to walk for more than ten minutes at a time. What I needed for my back didn't line up with what my hips needed. 

So I hauled myself out to the barn and walked with the horses. I would wander until my hip disagreed then sit down and let them graze. I could lean on the boys when I got tired. They got used to my cane and crutches. When I could scramble into the saddle I would walk Dickie a few Laps at a time. It is the same motion as walking but without all the weight bearing. 

Pretty soon I realized I was getting through the day with minimal pain. I was trotting and cantering a half a lap here or there. Against my better judgement I decided to do a few horse trials that offered walk trot stuff. My horse was an angel for putting up with me. 

By the end of the summer I my strength was much better but my body still felt like a stark gee (still does). I'm flexible in ways I have never been and stiff in areas that were like spaghetti noodles. My riding might be shitty but I had a blast. I knew by the end of the summer I would have a job again. This was a rare chance to go to trail riding when I wanted, spend days at the beach, and camp out at shows. This year I will be tethered by a job, a house, a garden, and dogs. 

As spring approaches I'm still overweight and is worse shape than last summer. That said, last year I was on crutches and didn't get on a horse until June. Even with the current state of my waste line and lung capacity I'm ahead of last year. Bring it 2016!!!!!

Where Do I Begin?

My last post was over six months ago. If you've followed my blog you will know last year was a rough one. I wanted to start a post so many times but didn't know where to start. I touched on the fact my parents died but never went into details. I thought people lose their parents all the time so details don't matter. I've found over time that the circumstances really has made grieving unique and challenging. In 2014 my step dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.  I took three months off at the end of 2014 to have hip surgery and take him to chemo. We were close before and I will cherish the hours he spent imparting wisdom over apple cider while the poison that gave us another Christmas pumped into his veins. We talked about life, death, and diesel trucks. The cancer continued to take over and in January of 2015 he had reached the point where he would soon need help bathing and using the bathroom. Less than a year before the man could hike further than me (I was half his age) and still hunted with a long bow he made himself (he even cut down the yew tree)

We always meant to get around to looking into Oregon's right to die laws. We didn't. We were too busy cherishing every second. My mom had a long list of painful chronic illness and he was her caretaker until he got sick. On January 26th he had weeks or left on this earth. Rather than continue in pain that was untouched by the strongest medications on the market he chose to end his journey of life. My mom did so as well. They scheduled an email to arrive 12 hours after they were gone. They did not suffer. While I miss them dearly I also understand why they did it. 

It was quickly apparent they had been planning it for some time. My mom had collected a room full of boxes to help me pack the house. She packed up most of the valuables and hid keys to trunks so I could quickly take them out of the house. They knew the story would hit the media and were worried looters would show up. 

Media did in fact print the story with names and the street. The property is in the country with only a few houses on the street. My family and friends helped me pack the house in a matter of weeks. The house was on the market and closed quickly. In six weeks the house was sold and I was heading into surgery on my other hip. 

After my second hip surgery a bulging disk from a November 2014 car accident herniated and I found myself unable to walk,drive, or even sleep without pain. Through it I earned how many amazing people I had in my life. I was grateful for those people. Those who helped me pack the house, drove me to physical therapy, showed up with food, took care of my horses....... 

It's now over a year since they died. I own a house, I'm engaged, I have a new job, three gorgeous horses, a a sweet ride to haul them in. Life is by all accounts good. Despite all of that these positives, winter has been hard. I didn't have time to grieve last year. There was too much to do and I knew If I thought about it then the weight of it might crush me. You can't prepare yourself for being in the middle of a murder suicide scene. As the days get longer I'm figuring out how to face my new normal. 

Cheerful horse pictures: