Saline solution, iodine, packing material, pressure bandage, digging with a sharp object ... all that's missing is the duct tape. Holy hell, I just had an abscess.
Did I ever have a weird week. Have you ever woken up and immediately thought, ouch, what's that? I got out of bed to check my back and was horrified at the huge pimple that had popped up over night.
It was gross. It was gross the next day, the day after that, and the day after that. In fact, it stayed gross for more than a week. It hurt like hell, especially since it was just under my bra strap.
The damn thing would just not go away. By the second week, I was begging my husband to just stick a needle in it. He of course refused, loudly while swiftly getting the hell out of Dodge. It was planted right on my shoulder blade, so no amount of contortion would allow me to actually poke it with a sharp object. I tried.
Somewhere after the second week and maybe into the third week, I told my husband to look at it. And I meant REALLY look at it. He might have shrieked a bit. He definitely made a noise.
I mentioned that I should maybe go to the doctor. Uh ... yeah, you think? Was his immediate response. But really, who goes to the doctor for a pimple? What 49 year old woman even gets pimples? Setting my pride aside, I called during my lunch break and got an appointment for later that afternoon.
I couldn't see the doctor's face as she was examining my pimple, but I could hear her. THAT IS NOT A PIMPLE, was her diagnosis. It's not? I stupidly asked. Although she didn't come right out and say so, she must have thought me incredibly stupid. Um, no. It's an insect bite, probably a spider, and it looks as though it bit you THREE times. Oh, that must be why it hurts so damned bad.
I'll spare you the worst of the gory details, but she numbed it - that hurt like a mother forklift, and then she lanced it. Google how do you lance a wound if you really need to know. As a side note, I once had to have a sore on my eyelid lanced. This was nothing compared to that.
When the cutting was done, she sent me home with the wound zipped up tight with Steri Strips topped with a pressure bandage. She also loaded me up with a bottle of antibiotics and insisted I come back a few days later for a check up.
I was more than a little disappointed that I wouldn't be donning a mask and shooting webs from my wrists, but being told to NOT wear a bra for the next few days sort of made up for it. I spent most of the week babysitting my shoulder so that the knife wound on my back wouldn't break open and bleed all over my shirt.
I discovered that I must do a lot of talking with my hands as I was really sore at the end of my first work day. Oh, and we had our pest control guy out the very next day to spray the inside of our house. I made him do our bedroom twice.
Saline solution, iodine, packing material, pressure bandage, digging with a sharp object ... all that's missing is the duct tape. Holy hell, I just had an abscess.
Several things have happened since Speedy got his tooth pulled. The first thing was that he was immediately better about taking his daily Prascend tablet. The ranch owner reported that he was very relaxed and didn't do the my head is taller than you can reach dance. This is an enormous relief because it is the ranch owner who volunteers to administer the pill. Without her help, he probably wouldn't get it every single day.
As an aside, I don't remember how or where I found the baby tooth, but I thought it was cute, so I saved it. The adult tooth, an incisor, is interesting in its own way. If you'll look at the top quarter of the tooth, there is a chip out of the left side. That's the notch that Dr. Tolley carved to hold the wire in place so that it wouldn't slide down.
The rough edge at the bottom of the tooth shows where it fractured. The other side is completely smooth. The colors on top of both teeth show the enamel, cementum, and dentine. Remember, I geek out on this type of stuff!
But back to Speedy ...
Even though he was never in obvious pain, there must have been some discomfort having a fractured tooth. I had been able to carefully bridle him and ride while the tooth was wired to its neighbor. He never fussed more than normal, but since the tooth came out, he has been easier to bridle.
I've been able to rub my finger over the empty socket. He doesn't love it, but he's not a fan of me poking my fingers in his mouth as a general rule. Putting my fingers in his mouth typically means something unpleasant is coming. It's a Pavlovian response, for sure.
Dr. Tolley said it would take about three weeks to heal completely. It's been a week, and already it looks super healthy without any infection. He's eating better and has been grazing since the day the tooth was pulled. For now, it's healing well which is all I can ask for.
I am just glad it wasn't a middle tooth!
Speedy knocked a tooth loose. I told you that yesterday. The plan had been for Dr. Tolley to squeeze Speedy in between other appointments while I was at work. That didn't happen, for which I was secretly glad. I wonder if Dr. Tolley deliberately didn't squeeze him in knowing how much I love to be involved in my horses' treatment. Besides just being a concerned owner, I dig this kind of stuff. In the end, I got to watch.
Besides the standard IV tranquilizer/sedative, Dr. Tolley needed to block the nerves in Speedy's mouth much like your own dentist does when drilling out a cavity or creating a crown. For horses, this means blocking the ipsilateral mandibular nerve which is accessed through the mandibular foramen, an opening in the lower jaw.
To find the opening, Dr. Tolley followed some very specific measurements. He marked the location on Speedy's jaw with a Sharpie Marker much like a surgeon will do before cutting.
Then he used a very long needle which he injected into the mandibular foramen via Speedy's throat latch.
While Speedy "cooked" a bit, Dr. Tolley brought out an equine skull to show me what he had done.
You're looking down the skull toward the front teeth. You can see both mandibular foramen(s) - the two circular openings, almost in the center of each side of the jaw.
Dr. Tolley's purpose was to "flood" the canal with anesthesia, numbing the teeth along that side of the lower jaw.
Since I was fascinated by the procedure and because Dr. Tolley loves it when his clients are just as geeked out by this stuff as he is, he went and brought out his manual for doing these types of procedures. When I asked if the book was written for lay people such as myself or for veterinarians practicing medicine, he quickly assured me that this was literally his how-to guide.
Once Speedy's mouth was numb, the procedure was fairly simple. Dr. Tolley took a length of regular wire and threaded it through Speedy's undamaged teeth much like you would use dental floss.
Of course, nothing with Speedy is easy. Even though he was quite tipsy and numb, he still put up a fuss. Eventually Dr. Gonzalez joined in to help steady Speedy and keep his tongue out of the way.
Once the wire was through the front teeth, Dr. Tolley wrapped it around to "capture" the damaged tooth - the one on the far right. When the wire was wrapped around the teeth, Dr. Tolley twisted it tight, clipped off the extra bits, and smooshed it flat.
To support the tooth even more, Dr. Tolley wrapped a second layer of wire around the upper portion of Speedy's teeth. To ensure that the wire stayed up high, he used his Dremel tool to carve out a bit of Speedy's tooth to act as a guide, or a track, for the top row of wire. He secured that one exactly like the first.
And that was it. Dr. tolley finished off the whole job with a shot of penicillin. Speedy can go back to work at any time. Of course, I am to check his mouth for loose or broken wires and regular flushes with water won't hurt. In six weeks, Speedy goes back in to have the wires removed.
We opted not to take x-rays, but in the event that the tooth is fractured, I'll start to see signs of infection, and then we'll have to pull the tooth - a more expensive and less favorable option.
While Speedy should be fine, and I stress the should, I've taken all shows and clinics off the table. That means that I won't be going to the Lilo Fore clinic after all. I could take Izzy of course, but frankly, my wallet can't handle anything else right now.
I hope Speedy gets to show later this summer, but it was just stressing me out too much to try and get him ready for a clinic by mid-April. I felt an enormous weight lift from my shoulders with the decision. I've got some Izzy plans for May though, so you'll still see us out there.
Let's hope Speedy is done with the theatrics.
I had a rough last week. Fortunately it wasn't because of horses; they've given me enough gray hairs this winter. On Thursday, a friend tagged me in a Facebook post that pretty much saved the rest of the world from total annihilation as I was very close to going postal - how much crap can one person take?
It's Dwight's face that cracks me up the most. I know that's the look that Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, must have on her face when Izzy starts with his jackassery. I looked at that meme all weekend long, laughing harder each time. It's easy to get a little punchy though when you're on the edge.
Thankfully, while horses can drive us to the brink of insanity, they can also keep us standing squarely on our two feet. My own equine therapists, a Goddess and a Wild Card did their jobs well (sort of) over the weekend, leaving me mostly prepared to tackle Monday. My husband drew a name for last week's book give-away. Congrats to Mag for winning a copy of Is Your Horse a Rockstar.
Mag wrote, "I think mine would be the "mean girl" even though he's a gelding. He has to show everyone that he's in charge - pasture mates, stablehands, etc. I would love a copy to see if that's one of the choices!"
Mag's copy is in the mail, headed her way. And Mag, I'm wondering if your gelding might be The Macho Man, The Boss, or even The Prize Fighter. I hope you'll let me know!
I am sure that all of us think that our own horses are more sensitive (meaning "special") than others, but I am here to tell you that Speedy wins the "snowflake" of the year award. Right now, he is in the midst of tantrum that's been going on for a good month. Which brings me yet again to Dessa Hockley's book, Is your horse a Rockstar?
If you haven't bought it yet, do it. I promise you won't be disappointed. I don't get anything if you buy the book, but it really is that good. In fact, I love the book so much that I am going to buy a copy for someone who wants one. If you want the book, leave a comment, but make sure to fill in your website or email address so I can get your snail mail address. I'll do a random drawing on Saturday (March 16).
The reason I bring up the book is that Speedy is having a pretty rough winter. He's abscessed several times, been diagnosed with Cushing's Disease, and torn open both front legs. All of that means he isn't getting very much positive attention. To him, it feels as though all I do is poke him in sore places or jam weird tasting stuff in his mouth.
"Speedy is what Dessa Hockley refers to as The Goddess (Submissive, Energetic, Curious, Friendly). If he were a bit more dominate, he would be a Rock Star, and frankly, there are days when he does fall into that category. For The Goddess, the relationship is everything. Right now, Speedy's a bit pissed at me because he's not getting the saddle time he thinks he deserves. The ear pinning and tail swishing are dead give-aways that he's feeling slighted.
Speedy's mission in life is to be adored by me, and anyone else in his vicinity is welcome to jump on that band wagon as well. It doesn't matter what we do; he's happy to please as long as accolades and adoration are his reward. Cookies and candies are also expected. As The Goddess, he is, after all, a divinity."
I wrote that in January of 2017 - probably in the midst of some other injury. It is just as true today as it was two years ago. Speedy is so unhappy right now. Everything in his life sucks a big fat lemon. He now has to take a Prascend pill every morning which he hates. He hasn't been turned out in at least a month because I don't want him to re-injure his front legs or cause some new injury. And the worst thing to him is that he's no longer in regular work. I rode him last weekend, but then it rained all week, so I didn't get to ride again until this weekend.
While Speedy was happy to be out and being ridden, he was so resentful that everything I asked of him turned into a chore. Bandaging his legs caused drama. He didn't want to be bridled. He refused his peppermint candies. I was frustrated, and he was frustrated.
It's going to take some time to rebuild our relationship, and I have a feeling that I am going to be doing a lot of butt kissing over the next few weeks. And if Speedy has anything to say about it, there had better be some better treats involved.
Like I said, he's a Goddess. And a big fat "snowflake!"
'cause I am done.
Well, for a few days anyway. It might even be a couple of weeks - I am taking a PE class on Tuesday and Thursday night after work, and then next week I am taking another Tuesday/Thursday night class on the Professional Learning Community (PLC). Eventually, after taking five more of these class, I'll get bumped over to the next pay column which means a raise. In between classes, you can find me wrapping Speedy's legs.
This entire winter has been made up of me tackling one equine problem after another, so adding in these two classes while I bandage legs should feel like par for the course. Just how many problems have my boys had this winter? Let's review.
Sometime in the fall, Izzy abscessed, but I didn't take him to the vet right away as his body seemed to be taking care of it. It was still a giant worry though, and I poulticed it for the better part of a week until he was mostly sound. The problem with wrapping him is that he doesn't get ridden. And every day that he isn't ridden, his energy level goes through the roof guaranteeing a doozy of a ride once my butt is finally in the saddle.
I finally took him to the vet when Speedy abscessed. Yes, that's right. Both horses had an abscess at the same time. It was decided that Izzy was over his, but Speedy got a nice hole carved into his foot. The very same day that he seemed sound, Speedy abscessed on the other foot. We repeated the trip to the vet for a matching hole on the second foot. He improved, but then he got worse, a lot worse. I loaded him back up for yet another trip to the vet where he got an even bigger hole in his foot.
Somewhere during all of this, Izzy pulled a shoe while my farrier was in Arizona. We finally got it replaced, and then there were about three days where everybody was healthy and all shoes were where they were supposed to be, and I got to finally ride Speedy.
The Universe just can't leave well enough alone though. During all of the abscessing, it was determined that Speedy now has Cushing's Disease and will need to be medicated for the rest of his days. Big sigh.
And then of course, a few weeks ago, Speedy tore open the front of his fetlock requiring sutures. After we got home from the vet, I turned him out and rode Izzy. When I came back to put Izzy away, I saw that Speedy had sliced open the other leg. We'd only been home about an hour. All I can say is that boy has a thing for symmetry.
Over the weekend, both boys made another trip to the vet so that Speedy could get his sutures removed. Since I was making the trip, I decided to have Dr. Tolley give both horses their spring vaccinations and do their dentals. I've driven out there so many times this winter that it didn't make any sense to do it again in a few weeks.
When I unloaded Izzy from the trailer, I saw this.
Like I said, put a fork in me. Sheesh!
This is definitely not a topic I've ever covered here before. Why would I; who wants to talk about clippers? When I first had that thought, I realized the answer was just about every other equestrian in the normal world. Clipper land is just not some place I visit very often which makes me the abnormal one. Weird, but true.
While I could body clip, or at least do a trace clip, to make winter grooming easier, I prefer not to. I don't blanket because our winter weather is just way too mild. We rarely get temperatures that are both wet and cold. On top of that, it only rains about 10 times a year. If I were to blanket, they would have to be removed every morning and replaced every afternoon. The ranch owner doesn't really want to do that, and neither do I. So, my boys grow winter coats and shed them when they're ready.
Over the weekend, I finally got tired of wrestling my bridles over the jungle of hair that was growing behind both of my boys' ears. Bridle paths, jaw hair, fetlocks, and protruding ear hairs are all that I actually clip. During show season, I keep their bridle paths, and all other above mentioned areas, neatly trimmed. A messy bridle path is more than a little obvious against a sleek, summer coat. During the middle of winter though, it almost disappears, or is at least unobtrusive, when viewed through Speedy's polar bear coat. The same goes for fetlocks and jaw hair.
A month or so ago, I finally bought a new pair of clipper blades, but I hadn't yet used them. See above. With a three-day weekend, I had enough "extra" time to pull out my clippers and replace the old blades. As I was cracking the blades out of their hard plastic casing, I stopped to wonder at how old my clippers were. Pretty old I realized.
I did some quick googling and found that yes, Oster does still make these clippers and they even come with the same accessories that came with mine nearly 20 years ago. I count the age of something based on where we lived when I bought the thing. We've lived here just over 2 years. We lived at our last house for 11 years, the one before that for 2, and the one before that for 6. Add it all up and take away a year or 2 because I don't remember exactly when I bought them at that first house. That means that I bought these clippers somewhere around '99 or 2000.
I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I take terrible care of my clippers. I never clean them, unless you count blowing on the blades to remove stray hairs. I know there is a filter under the bottom cap that I have dusted off, but it's been years. I never oil anything, spray anything (except some cooling spray that is as old as the clippers), or get the blades sharpened. In fact, I use the blades until they literally cannot cut through a single hair. Gross, I know.
The only good thing I do for my clippers is to keep them in a storage bag. I also refrain from winding the cord around the clippers themselves. At this point, I am afraid to do anything other than replace the blades. I am pretty sure whatever dirt and hair are caked to the motor are what is holding everything together.
My clippers get stored at the bottom of my braiding box. Hey, that counts as another good thing I do to protect my clippers. As I dug through the pile of loose braiding bands and discarded candy wrappers (Speedy's not mine), I found an old pair of cordless clippers that never worked right. I realized that my braiding box was a jumbled up mess. I was inspired to do a thorough cleaning.
After attaching new blades and dumping everything out of my box and reorganizing it, I finally got to Speedy's bridle path; Izzy's too. And you know what? New, sharp blades actually cut straight through the hair! In one pass! Who knew?
Both boys started shedding in January. I can't decide if I want them to hurry up and shed the rest, or do I want them to slow down because February is turning out to be much colder and wetter than normal. Either way, I am now armed and ready to tackle this summer's bridle paths. And jaw hairs, old man ear hairs, and Speedy's fetlocks.
Anyone else out there living with old clippers and shaggy horses? We need to form a club.
Speaking of showing ... Just how do we afford all of these shows anyway? Well, if you're like me, you supervise the children's version of jail. Kidding, of course. Sort of.
You see, at my school (I teach 5th grade in case you're new here), we have lunch time detention. It runs for the 30 minutes of lunch recess. Students get approximately 30 minutes to eat followed by another 30 minutes to play.
Kiddos who get in trouble, either from our school principal or another staff member, serve noontime detention with whichever teacher has detention duty. Most often, that's me. I run detention every Monday and Friday. The other nine intermediate teachers rotate through weekly so that they serve Tuesday through Thursday about three times a year.
Why do I do it so frequently you ask? For the "money," of course. I make approximately $12 each time I serve as the detention teacher. During the course of the school year, I gave up my lunch twice a week, sometimes more if I "subbed" for another teacher. In June, I got my extra duty check for the second semester's detention as well as for serving as my school's Battle of the Books coordinator.
My check was a "whopping" $822. I used the money to pay my entries for both June shows, coaching at each show, and Izzy's new bridle. My husband was horrified that I would give up my lunch twice a week to supervise naughty children for $12. Looking back, It does seem like a lot of work for so little pay.
School starts again on August 16th. I have another month or so to consider whether missing my lunch hour two to three times a week is worth one or two shows during the summer. But you know, if Izzy doesn't break anything next spring, I could turn that check into three shows. My colleagues certainly hope that I'll continue with the Monday/Friday detention schedule as it means fewer days they have to serve.
It's worth it, right?
Sorry to drop off the planet like that, but I did warn you it might happen. Many thanks to those friends who checked in with me last week. I really appreciated it.
I have tons of stuff to share - the show, some super cool hot weather finds, and a photo of Izzy's sire. That will all have to wait a day or so. I may be alive, but I am still NQR (not quite right for all you non-horsey folks).
My MRI came back clear, so that was sort of a relief. I say sort of a relief because no brain tumor means we still don't know why the frequency of migraines has increased so suddenly.
I also had a thorough eye exam by my ophthalmologist which also revealed no issues. And she checked. She ran every eyeball to brain test that she could think of. Again, I was mostly happy to get a clean bill of health. It's not like I want a tumor or blood clot or something equally terrible, but it would sure be nice to land on some kind of a cause, preferably one that doesn't require surgery or me losing any part of my body.
As of today, I am mostly migraine free, but I still pack around a daily headache that ranges from a 1 - 3 on the pain scale. I am on a couple of medications that seem to be fixing things, most notably the weird sleep pattern and bizarre dreams. Yeah. Sleeping for an hour and a half at a time while the Cartoon Network loops over and over in your dreams is not okay. Just saying.
I see the neurologist again today. I have a long list of questions for him, some that are nuts and bolts type things while others are suggestions friends have made. I really hope that ear piercing thing gets a thumbs down because I really don't want yet another thing that I need to medicate and look after. The ER doctor gave a whatever eye roll to acupuncture (although he did say it wouldn't hurt me), so I am curious to hear what the neurologist thinks.
I'll be back. :0)
You might remember that I recently wrote about suffering from migraines. As of yesterday, I've had some form of a migraine for five straight weeks. To say my quality of life has suffered would be a massive understatement.
Some days, I've had to choose whether to ride for a few minutes, work on that stupid class I am taking, or cook dinner. I absolutely couldn't do more than one. And even choosing one of those things made my migraine worse. I've spent many nights huddled on the floor bawling my eyes out because my head hurt so bad.
I've been keeping a headache journal per the neurologist's recommendation, and Tuesday night was kind of the last straw. I hit a 9.0 on the headache scale - 10.0 is where I truly look for a permanent exit. Had I not been going to see the neurologist early Wednesday morning, we would have gone to the emergency room.
As it was, the neurologist had me admitted anyway. I spent the better part of Wednesday hooked up to various fluids and drugs as my husband hovered in the background alerting the nurse every time the machine beeped out a warning.
I went to work on Thursday mostly headache free, but it's still there hovering slightly. The neurologist doubled my meds, but there have been some side effects already. I see him again in a few weeks.
I tell you this story only to explain why I haven't been able to watch the videos of my lessons with Chemaine Hurtado from last Saturday. I took Izzy off the property and had a BRILLIANT ride on him. He was AMAZING. Not only that, but Speedy and I finally figured out how to ride the three loop serpentine while maintaining the canter lead. That's one of the trickier movements from Second Level Test 3. We've even done it at home without Chemaine coaching me!
So, forgive me if my blog posts get a little weird or if no post appears. I am trying to keep it all together, but it's been challenging. And of course, the whole time I was laying in the ER with needles jabbed in my arm everywhere, all I could think about was the show next weekend.
Migraine or not, I am going!