Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The News is Good

The news about my Corgi Midge's surgery is good.  The vet found no evidence of cancer in her x-rays, and her white blood cell count is normal.  She's sending off two tumors to the lab for testing, mainly because I'm interested in what exactly they were.  All of her blood work looked good except, like Scrappy, her kidneys are starting to fail.  The other new-to-us issue is that her heart is slightly enlarged.  They removed the mass on her back, the one in her breast, and another tiny one on her muzzle.  They extracted one tooth, saved another, and all the rest of her teeth looked good once she got the tartar off.  That's pretty amazing for a dog that is 14 years old.

Normally, I wouldn't put a dog that old through this kind of surgery, but the tumor on her back kept getting infected, breaking open and bleeding.  It was a maintenance nightmare.  I got tired of having to pull the other dogs off of Midge because they were obsessive about licking it.  I'm looking forward to not having to keep shaving the hair around it and cleaning it every day.

She has a cone of shame mainly to keep her from scratching and rubbing the incision that is on her muzzle, but she's too senile to figure out how to adapt to it.  She always has to sniff the ground before relieving herself, but the cone won't let her, so she just keeps smashing the cone into the ground repeatedly.  Our house is too small with too much furniture, so she can't navigate it with the cone on.  I had to rescue her at 2:00 in the morning because she managed to get herself trapped between the rowing machine and the piano.  I removed the cone this morning so that she could eat, and I'm leaving it off until she gives me reason to put it back on.  So far, so good.

The vet and her assistant did a really good job of taking care of Midge and me.  I had let them know that I had an appointment between 3:00 and 4:00 PM, so the vet called me around 2:30 to let me know how the surgery went.  When I got to the vet hospital, the vet tech went over the post-op instructions with me, and then the vet went over the x-rays with me, as well as covering post-op care a third time.  They wrote everything down for me, and kept asking if I had any questions.  I appreciated their thoroughness.  The vet tech even carried Midge to my truck for me, and was patient when I couldn't find my keys.  Midge hates being put in a kennel, so she was barking constantly from the moment she woke up, but everyone at the vet's office was patient with her.

As I suspected, all of the horses had thrush.  I spent some time the other day picking out all 12 hooves and treating them.  By the time I was done, I couldn't stand upright, so now I'm thinking that my spine is the main suspect in my cripplehood.  I had brought a bunch of grooming equipment into the barn in a bucket, because I wanted to work in the shade.  Rock grabbed a hold of the bucket and flipped it up five-feet into the air.  It spun, spilling all of the grooming products out onto the barn floor, and then the bucket itself hit the ground with a loud clatter.  Gabbrielle threw her head up and a became tense, but all three of the other horses ran toward the bucket as if it were a pinata spilling candy all over the place.

I thought, "That's amazing.  Just a few years ago all three of my Arabian horses would have bolted and trampled me in the process if something like that happened."

I believe that Rock has been teaching the Arabs how to be curious and have courage.  I suspected that might happen when we got Rock and I saw how relaxed and solid he is.  I knew there was a chance that it could rub off the other way, and the Arabs could teach Rock to be fearful.  Fortunately, that didn't happen.

Monday, August 14, 2017

No Relief Yet

The usual insanity has turned into even more insanity with no relief in sight.  August should be a month of hibernation because of the heat and the storms, but this year it has been turning out to be busier than I could have ever imagined.

That eye infection I developed on the day of all those appointments turned into the full blown stomach flu, and I had to work hard to avoid puking on the lady who gave me my pedicure.  I literally realized on my way out the door to my day spa appointment that I was sick, but I didn't know just how sick until I had been sitting in that pedicure chair for a while.  The lady kept asking me if I was too hot, because my face was red and I was sweating profusely from a fever.  I kept saying, "I'm fine," with a fake smile, and the whole time I was praying she'd wrap it up quick so I could get out of there before my red face turned green.  (Picture the bridal store scene with the Jordan almonds in the movie BRIDESMAIDS.)  I was so frustrated that the one activity I get to do once every six months or so to get away from the dogs and relax turned into an ordeal.  So much for relaxation. I really hope I didn't pass the virus onto the beautician.  My stubbornness about not being willing to cancel or postpone any more appointments, and my determination to not let anything knock me off my course, came back to bite both of us.

When I got home, I shivered violently for two hours.  At one point, I was so delirious that I thought I was having seizures.  Since I couldn't keep anything down, all those medications the doctor put me on to help control my various symptoms were completely ineffective.  So, thanks to the flu virus, all of my usual health problems came roaring back.  What are the chances?  I rarely catch colds and flus, because I'm super good about staying away from people who cough, and keeping my hands clean.  Fortunately, the flu symptoms passed quickly, but I've had to go back to square one in testing out this new mix of medicines.  I need to know what works and what doesn't work before taking the next step in getting a proper diagnosis, so this was just more time wasted.

On top of that, Bombay colicked.  Every time I give an older horse the end flake of a hay bale, he or she colics.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though.  I should be done with this batch of crappy hay within a couple of weeks, and then I can hunt down something of better quality.  I looked for better hay all summer, but apparently summer is the season of crappy hay.  All my options were bad.

I used to panic when the horses colicked, and I'd make them get up and walk around out of fear that they'd roll and twist a gut, but since I can't walk the horses anymore, I just lie down with them and commiserate.  I rocked Bombay until he laid his head down in the sand.  I had somewhere I needed to be, so I left him with the faith that he'd be fine when I got back home, and he was.  Of course, this happened on a day the vet offices were closed.  I find it to be so bizarre that my pets only get sick on weekends and holidays.

Both Midge and Scrappy have been a handful.  Scrappy's hyperactivity is getting worse.  We are now calling him "Mr. Obnoxious".  About two hours before dinner, he starts pestering me for food, chasing me everywhere I go, getting under my feet and tripping me.  Then for about three hours after he eats his dinner, he runs around the house in circles, stopping at the back door every few minutes to announce that he needs to go outside.  I cleaned up the dog's yard last night, and when I took the dogs out at 3:30 AM, there was nowhere we could walk without stepping in poop.  I asked my husband if he had been taking the dogs out all night, and he said yup.  It's inconceivable that they could poop that much, and all throughout the night instead of during the day when it's more convenient for us humans who like to get our sleep.  The dogs of my childhood just slept all night.  They only had accidents in the last week of their lives.  I guess what I'm experiencing is "the miracle of modern medicine".

The other day, after nearly falling on top of the dog, I locked him up in my office just so I could make dinner.  I had just taken him outside, so I thought he'd be fine in there for a few minutes, but when I opened the door, I got slapped in the face with poop stench.  He had crapped on my camera equipment.  He does that every single time I shut him in my office.  So, now I'm on the hunt for a cheap, used playpen.  I'm going to shove it up against my front door, which is the only space in the house big enough for one, and if anyone comes to the door, they are out of luck.  I need a space where Scrappy can poop and vomit to his heart's content, and I don't have to drop everything I'm doing to prevent it.

Last night I was talking with my son on the phone, having a grand old time, and my husband said, "This dog is getting sick over here!"  I said, "I don't care!"  Sometimes I just have to ignore it and try to complete a conversation in order to keep my sanity.

Midge is starting to exhibit signs of pain.  She jumps up from a deep sleep, runs to a different location, and then passes out for a few minutes.  Then her eyes shoot open and she runs to the next spot.  She's obviously having problems getting comfortable because of her tumors.  I'm glad the vet has finally agreed to remove them.  I keep waiting for both dogs to lose their appetites, but they are eating well.  Their illnesses aren't stopping them from enjoying their food.

I was hoping to be able to focus on Midge's surgery and my daughter's birthday this week, but already I'm having unexpected appointments cropping up.  I need a remote control to the world so that I can pause it and hold everyone at bay while I try to tackle my own priorities.

A lady wanted me to make a duplicate of a rock I painted, and to give it to her.  I put her off for several weeks since I was doing her a favor and not being paid to do the job.  I happened to finish it this weekend and posted a picture of the rock to her on Facebook, asking her to PM me to work out a time and place where she can pick it up.  I walked away from my computer to do chores, and when I returned, she and a bunch of other people had already decided on a time and place to meet that was convenient for them, and the time they chose was when I needed to pick up Midge from the hospital.

I'm not sure why these other people wanted to be involved, but if they ask me to paint rocks for them, they're out of luck.  I'm trying to lighten my load -- not add to it.  I'm assuming that they are trying to turn my quick delivery into a social event.  Boy, won't they be disappointed to find out how inaccessible I am.  I suspect they are also trying to horn in on getting some free unpainted rocks out of the other lady, because I asked if she would bring me some in exchange for the rock I painted.  That's my way of trying to train people that it's always nice to give something in return when taking from someone.  Unfortunately, my effort backfired, because now there are all these other ladies who want freebies.

Anyway, I had to tell the vet that I couldn't pick up Midge until late, but I'll still be cutting it close.  If this lady is late in picking up her artwork, I'm not going to stick around and wait.  I've got places to go and things to do.

Then another lady sent me an email bugging me for some old photographs I took years ago.  I'm totally losing patience with past customers who misplace their photos.  It takes up a lot of my time and energy to keep having to re-burn DVDs for flaky people.  They all just expect me to do it for free, and I resent that.  My time is valuable, and I'm not even in business anymore.  Also, those DVDs don't grow on trees.  They cost me money, but I have yet to meet someone who is willing to pay for a replacement DVD.  They all act like I owe it to them to fix a problem that they created.  This particular lady's situation is a little more complicated in that she never even viewed the photos when I gave them to her three years ago!  Her excuse is that she was "too busy".  But she's not busy now, so I guess I have to drop everything I'm doing to give them to her again at a time that is more convenient for her.  I don't like this.  I'm the kind of person who needs to be done with a project when I'm done with it, so that I can get on with my life.  I don't want old projects coming back to haunt me.

Then there's the challenge of getting the DVD to her once it is burned and packaged.  If I mail it to her, I'll have to risk having the disc get damaged in transit, and give up an hour of my time to stand in line at the post office -- not to mention spend my own money on postage.  If I drive to her house, that's an hour also.  If she comes to me to pick it up, or if I go to her, I'll probably lose several hours because she's a talker.  Add in half a day to locate and organize the photos, and burn them onto the DVD, and that's almost an entire day that I've lost.  I want that day back already, and I haven't even lost it yet.

As I was driving back from the barn to the house this morning, I was shocked to see that a ridiculous amount of gypsum weed is taking over our back yard after that last rain storm.  I dig that up every summer, and it just comes right back.  It's poisonous for horses.  So now I'm thinking about hiring a gardening crew to rip it all out and poison the soil.  Thinking about hiring gardeners reminded me that I still haven't found a contractor who is willing to replace the broken fence.  So, that's another hassle I get to deal with this week.

With all of that happening and this only being Monday, I'm not sure I want to know what the rest of the week has in store for me.

Here are some old pictures I took of one of our rainy days...

Can't escape the hail.

Thrush?  I don't know why my horses keep getting thrush.

Ride the river to the round pen.

Lake-front property.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


My husband and I have been joking around about what we want written on our epitaphs.  He wants his tombstone to say, "Stop it.  Just stop it."

He says that a lot because today's society is so obnoxious and in your face about everything.

I've had a few sayings I want on my grave.  One is, "Don't even start.  I don't have time for this."

That one is especially funny because once I'm dead, I'll have eternity.

Another one is, "I couldn't have made that happen if I tried."

I have no doubt I will die from some freak accident, and it'll be something mundane that I've been trying to make happen for a while, but have failed miserably to do so.  It'll be like I spend twenty minutes trying to get this one horse turd onto my manure fork, but can't because it keeps rolling out or jumping and flying out, and then as soon as I give up, a horse will take off running and kick the turd up into my chest so hard that it stops my heart, and then the turd will land in the manure fork and stay there.  Ha ha!

"Seriously?" also sums up my life.

"Next!" is perfect too, because I never get a break from problems.

Just when Rock was recovering from his hoof abscess, Lostine came up lame.  She had a bad case of thrush, and I was almost out of thrush treatment.  I figured if she had thrush, so did all the other horses, so it was imperative that I get my hands on another bottle of the stuff.  But I didn't have time to go to the feed store, so I tried to quickly order some stuff online.  However, then I remembered that my manure fork broke, so I ordered two new fork heads.  I also remembered that I was out of Cowboy Magic, so I ordered a bottle of that.  I then remembered that I was short one tube of Ivermectin, so I added that to my cart.

Instinct was telling me that I was forgetting something, and that I should get two bottles of Cowboy Magic, but for whatever reason I did not heed those feelings.  I was driving around town taking care of errands and appointments when it hit me that I never ordered the thrush treatment, and that was the whole reason why I had gone online in the first place.  So, I raced over to the feed store to pick up a bottle, despite not having the time to do so, and I decided to pick up another bottle of Cowboy Magic while I was at it.

However, I stopped dead in my tracks to see that they only had the larger bottle and they wanted $50 for it!  The smaller bottle I had ordered online was only about $15 and it was at least half the size of the bigger bottle, so logic would tell us that the bigger bottle should cost about $30.  There was no way I was going to pay $50 just to get tangles out of my horses' manes.  I was standing there staring at the price in disbelief when two salesclerks asked if they could help me find something.  I said, "No.  You don't have it."

They looked puzzled, and I realized that was stupid response, because they could have it in a different location or in the warehouse, so I said, "I want the smaller, affordable bottle of Cowboy Magic.  Not the fifty dollar bottle."

One lady said, "Well, let me help you."  And she came over to look right where I was already looking.

I was about to protest, because I knew what I needed was not on that shelf.  The lady picked up the big bottle and started pushing on each end of it.  I said, "No, that's the fifty dollar bottle.  I don't want that."

She said, "I know.  I'm trying to shrink it for you."

Ha ha!  She got me.  Her joke diffused my general annoyance.  So, I just bought the thrush treatment, and kicked myself for not buying a second bottle of Cowboy Magic online.

I was relieved when the barn aisle finally started drying out after all the rain and flooding we had.  That meant I could wear normal shoes down to the barn instead of rain boots.  The next time I went to the barn, I found a dead rock squirrel floating in the 100 gallon tank, which of course was full of water.  After disposing of the squirrel, I had to bail out 100 gallons of water, clean the trough with bleach, and refill it.  I went back in the house for lunch and totally forgot about the water running.  I have that floater device that stops the water from flowing out the hose as soon as the trough is full, but I never use it, because it takes an extra 5 to 10 minutes to attach and detach it.  Before I knew it, the barn aisle was flooded again.

By evening, there was one small strip of the aisle that had dried up, and I figured I'd just walk there.  But when I drove up, Lostine made a beeline for the one dry strip of land and released her own flood onto it.  Gah!  I really don't like wearing those rain boots.  They have no support, so it's like walking around on rocks in bare feet, and they aren't the kind of rain boots that are roomy enough for me to wear shoes on the inside.  I decided to just wear my shoes and then wash them once they get too much mud on them.

In the meantime, yesterday I set up two appointments for today to get my hair done and get a pedicure.  I had found a place that would do both in one appointment, but then the hair stylist quit and moved to a different salon, so now I have to go to two different locations to get all that done.  I don't know what is up with this, but every time I have either a hair appointment or a pedicure set up, I always get sick on the days of my appointments and have to reschedule. I don't like doing that, because it's hard for the cosmetologists to fill that time slot on such short notice, so it's like I'm taking food out of the mouths of their babes.  This time was no different.  I woke up with an eye infection and sinus trouble, but I'm not canceling these appointments.  I'll put a patch over my eye if I have to.

I would love to get to a point where I can actually do what I plan to do each day without getting blocked by some unexpected problem.  I hear other people say, "I'm going to do such and such," and I'm like, "Are you really?'

But other people don't seem to have the same problems as I do.  Other people just say, "I'm going to the store," and they get in their vehicle and go.  With me, it's like, "I'm going to the store," and then on my way out the door I slip in a puddle of dog urine and injure myself.  I clean up the urine, only to step in a pile of dog poop.  I clean up the dog poop, only to have the phone ring.  I answer the phone, only to have someone knock on the door.  I answer the door, and it turns out to be a package delivery.  I open the package, only to discover that they sent the wrong item, so I have to get on the phone right away to correct it.  Then I look out the window and see a horse limping, so I have to get in my Mule and drive down the the barn to investigate.  After treating the horse injury, either my day is over and it's time to feed and clean up after all the animals, or I'm just too exhausted to go to the store.

If there's any advice I can give to the younger generations, it would be to take it easy in the pet ownership department.  You're not always going to have your health and the same level of energy throughout your life.  You have to take into consideration that you are going to slow down at some point, and what you were once able to do without giving a second thought may someday be very difficult to do under changing circumstances.  I didn't think about the fact that by the year 2017 I would have two super old and sick dogs, and two senior horses who can never be fed and exercised enough to get their ribs to stop showing, and I'd have to take care of them plus one younger dog and two younger horses while I'm handicapped by a variety and pains and illnesses.

Now I understand why so many people find new homes for their pets.  I'm not going to do that, but I understand.  People just get to a point where they can't continue to take care of them.  I could pull this off if everyone pooped less or cleaned up after themselves.  I'm racing to get all my appointments handled this week because once Midge has her surgery, I'm going to have to be catering to her every minute of the day.  As is, I can't leave the house for more than an hour because of all these bathroom breaks that the dogs require and all the medications I have to administer throughout the day at specific times.  Post-op recovery can be ten times more time consuming.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Midge's Turn

Last fall I tried getting Midge in for surgery to remove two tumors and a cracked tooth, but the vet and I couldn't stabilize her diabetes.  She just kept swinging back and forth between diabetic symptoms and hypoglycemic symptoms.  This went on for months, so I gave up.  It was time for me to focus on some of my own health problems.

But before I could do that, Scrappy took a turn for the worse and I spent a lot of time taking him in to see the vet for a variety of tests and medications.  Once he was on the correct dosage, I was then able to get myself in for a few medical appointments.  However, when one doctor informed me that the previous diagnosis I've had for the past year was wrong, I got discouraged and thought, "What's the point?  Why even try to get answers?"

So, I decided to turn my attention back to the dogs, because now Stewie was having problems with constipation.  He was constantly waking us up at night saying he needed to go, and then doing nothing.  So, I shopped around for new dog food for him.  I bought a bunch of sample sizes of both wet and dry high fiber food to see what works and what he likes.  The first one I opened was a resounding success.  He loved the food, and his digestive tract became regular again.

However, I stupidly decided to let Scrappy have some of this new food too, and that led to one super embarrassing moment and a lot of sloppy messes to clean up.  So, I had to return him to his old lunch snack.

Around the same time all this was going on, I kept noticing a disgusting smell around the house that reminded me of a dirty dishrag with bacteria on it.  I detest that smell.  If I go into a restaurant and smell dirty dishrag on the table, I will leave.  I looked around and realized it was emanating off of Midge.  At first, I thought it was her breath.  I thought that cracked tooth had abscessed, so I made a mental note to get her in to see the vet.

As the weekend passed, the smell got worse and worse to the point where I was gagging if she was within ten feet of me.  My husband said the smell was coming from the sore on her back.  He said that each time he took her outside, flies would flock to the bandage over the sore.  I remembered my husband telling me that he had to put a bandage on it, because it was bleeding again.  I had meant to clean it, but forgot.

By now the smell was so bad that it was impossible to pinpoint its origin, so I drew a bath to wash Midge.  Only nothing is ever that simple for me.  I discovered that our bath water handle was broken, and we couldn't get any hot water, so I had to bathe the poor dog in cold water.  I did it quickly and immediately took her out into the sun on the porch to dry off.  Then I cautiously brought my nose closer to her sore, and yeah, the smell was definitely coming from the sore.  It was infected with a capital I.  So, I called the vet first thing Monday morning, along with a plumber to fix the bath water problem.

I called a new plumber, because the last three plumbers I used totally ripped me off.  This guy was no different.  He told me he was going to have to charge me the maximum because Moen plumbing fixtures are a pain in his ass, and he's been known to take three and half hours to repair one, and he had to break a bunch of other parts along the way in order to fix it.  I was like, "Whatever.  At least you're experienced with the brand."

He fixed it in 15 minutes and charged me the full amount of the estimate for three and half hours of labor and extra parts.  Jerk.  This is what I hate about repairmen who come to my house.  The first thing they do is look around and say, "Are those your horses?"


Next thing they do is overcharge me, because if I can afford horses, then I can afford to pay them triple or quadruple what they'd charge anyone else.  If my husband is home, I usually try to hide our Cadillac, because that's the other trigger that gets these men salivating.  I miss living in a small town where everyone knows each other, and reputation is everything.  Here in the city, everyone is a con artist.

Anyway, while I was begrudgingly paying the jerk, I opened the door to the office where I had locked up Scrappy to keep him separated from Midge in order to prevent him from licking her sore, and the plumber and I got slapped in the face by the hot, disgusting stench of fresh dog crap.  I had taken him out just twenty minutes before and he didn't need to go then.  That was when I knew I had made a mistake in changing his diet.  Then later that night Scrappy and Stewie came racing out of the master bedroom like their pants were on fire.  I said, "I'll bet Scrappy just took a dump in my closet."

Right again.

So, on the morning of Midge's vet appointment I was contemplating taking Scrappy in too, but didn't.  It's almost like every time that I make the decision to get the vet's help in fixing one dog's problem, another dog always has to get sick.  I was expecting to receive a lecture on not doing a good enough job taking care of Midge, so I admitted right off that bat that this infection was totally my fault for not keeping the area shaved and clean.  Much to my surprise, the vet said that we were doing a really good job because we managed to stabilize Midge's diabetes, so now she can perform the surgery on Midge's back, breast, and teeth.

She warned me, though, that the tumor in her breast may be cancer, so the first thing they will do is take a chest x-ray, and if it is cancer, she won't do the surgery.  We'll just have to decide whether to put her to sleep or keep applying bandages a little longer.  I appreciated that she wouldn't do the surgery, because a lot of vets would do it anyway just to make a buck, knowing that the dog doesn't have much longer to live.

So, next week is Midge's week.  In the meantime, I'm giving her antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.  I started myself on the medications that the latest specialist recommended, and amazingly my leg has been feeling much better.  I felt well enough that I probably could have gone for a short horseback ride yesterday and today if I didn't have these appointments in the mornings.  I'm also trying to get a contractor to install a new, stronger, and longer fence up on the hill to replace the one that the storm blew down.  I'm hoping there might be some option that allows me more privacy as well as serving the purpose of halting trespassers in their tracks.  So far no one has returned my calls.  I suspect no one wants to work in this heat, but I'm not going to wait until all the snowbirds get here to start this project, because then all the contractors will be too busy.

Next on my list is to get a pedicure and get my hair done.  I also have to decide if I want to renew my gym membership.  I enjoy working out there once I get there, but the stress of having to find a free hour or two during the day to get to the gym makes me question if it is worth it.  Plus, there's this old guy who has been harassing me lately, and that puts a damper on my fun.

I had sat down for a few seconds on one piece of equipment, only to discover that it was causing me too much pain, so I moved to a different piece of equipment.  I had just gotten there, so I wasn't even sweaty, but this guy gave me the evil eye, grabbed a washcloth and cleaning fluid, and wiped down the equipment I had just been sitting on for only a few seconds.  So, when I finished using the second piece of equipment, I made a point of wiping down the seat and back while this guy watched me closely.  He then interrupted his own workout to grab the washcloth and sprayer again, and he wiped down the roller that I had placed my ankles against!

I was like, "Seriously, dude?  You think I'm that dirty and disgusting?"

But I kept my cool, because I know some people have OCD when it comes to cleanliness.  It annoyed me that he was following me around re-cleaning equipment that I had just used even though he had no intention of using that equipment himself.  So, the next time I went to the gym, the same guy was there, and it was obvious that he was zeroed in on me.  There were all these pimply-faced, sweaty teenage boys working out on the same equipment, but he wasn't concerned about them.  He was totally focused on me.  So, I wiped down everything, and still he tried to sneak in a few swipes as he walked past equipment I just used.

So, as a result, I've kind of lost my enthusiasm for going to the gym.  I'll probably just workout at home and train myself to lock up the dogs somewhere before I begin.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Little Enlightened

First off, sorry for changing this horse blog into a lameness blog, but until I get my mobility back, there will be no horseback riding.  In the meantime, there's not much horse-related to write about other than flies and mud and thrush and hoof abscesses, and that's boring too.

I believe I did get a little enlightenment out of my last doctor visit.  We left off with me firing my general practitioner and planning on seeing a "back" doctor... whatever that is.  I guess I'm supposed to start with a chiropractor, and he'll refer me to a neurologist if I need one?  The shot in my knee helped in an odd way.  I have moments when I feel no pain, and I get my hopes up that I'm cured, and then the pain comes back worse than before.  I went from being in pain all the time to swinging between the extremes.

Then I saw a different specialist about a completely different health problem not related to my leg... or so I thought.  I just wanted her to give me some medication to get that issue under control so that I could focus on fixing my leg without constantly being blocked or distracted by this other health challenge.  I was skeptical when she told me that she thought I had one of three diseases, and I would have to go on the operating table in order to find out which one.  To me, this was just another hassle that would turn out to be a stab in the dark with inconclusive results.  I didn't want anymore of my time and money wasted, so I said, "No thanks," and went on my merry way.

Later that day I started looking at the big picture.  I have now had three specialists want to operate on me, and I've turned all three of them down, because I like to avoid getting staph infections.  I also like to avoid having months of my life taken away from me while I answer phone calls, fill out paperwork, and visit laboratories leading up to the day of my surgery, and then spend weeks recovering from that surgery.  Our country is surgery-happy.  That's how doctors make their money.

I don't have a single doctor who is looking at the big picture.  Why are three of my bodily systems breaking down simultaneously?  This has to be related.  What do all of these health problems have in common?  Inflammation and pain.

So, I did some googling, and lo and behold, what pops up in my search results?  Two of the three diseases that this last doctor wanted to investigate.  35% of the people with these two diseases also have secondary inflammation in their joints and other organs.  She didn't mention that.  Also, there is a correlation between these diseases and a vitamin D deficiency, which I have.  Also, there is a correlation between these diseases and eye infections, which I've been getting my entire life, and not even one ophthalmologist has ever been able to diagnose.  Also, there is a correlation between these diseases and some of the hormonal issues I've been having all these years.

I have a lot of repetitive, inconvenient health problems that I have just learned to live with because apparently, I am a medical mystery worthy of Dr. House's attention.  There was information on the types of joints that get inflamed, and then I remembered the times when I lost the use of my arms several years ago.  I thought I had just injured myself shoveling manure, and my doctors just had me wear braces for tennis elbow.  The problem eventually went away, so I forgot all about it.  However, now I am realizing that what is happening with my leg is the same thing as what happened to my arms.

That gives me hope, because if I could regain the use of my arms, then I could regain the use of my leg.  The doctor did say that there are ways to treat these diseases, we just have to narrow down which one I have.  So, I was all ready to dismiss the back doctor and go in for this surgical procedure, and then I threw out my back while shoveling manure!  Damn it!  I was so sure that my back was not the problem.  The universe sure likes to mess with me.

I just want to take the route that offers the most promise for a resolution, because I'm tired of having my time and money wasted.  My husband is currently seeing a chiropractor for his back, and he has to go in three times a week and spends hours each day wearing contraptions and doing assigned exercises.  I don't have time for that.  I'm thinking I'll start with the surgical procedure.  My only hesitation is that I had this same procedure just three years ago, and was told I was perfectly healthy.  Could things have really changed that much in three years?  I had all the same symptoms three years ago minus the leg pain, and I was so sure the test was going to tell me I had cancer back then.  Instead, they said everything looked great and sent me home without any resolution.  It's funny how the symptoms get ignored when the test results don't back them up.

At any rate, there is a definite correlation between stress and pain in my limbs.  Stress can trigger the inflammation.  I remember at the time I lost the use of my arms, I was being put under a tremendous amount of pressure to get an impossible amount of work done by impossible deadlines at my job, and everyone in my department had the threat of layoffs hanging over our heads.  We worked our asses off round the clock for months, and we still all got fired.  Now, with the loss of the use of my right leg, I'm dealing with extreme heat and humidity, very old and sick dogs, stuff breaking down all the time, an endless slew of repairman appointments, an endless slew of pointless medical appointments, demanding ex-neighbors, a difficult relative who has an endless slew of emergencies that only I can fix, people who keep hacking into my accounts so I have to spend time changing passwords and increasing security settings, and I'm having to deal with all of this while in pain.

So, before I do anything, I have to get control of my stress level.  Most of those things that are causing me stress are out of my control, so I'll have to teach myself to respond to stress in a different way.   I took Tai-chi a while back and found that it made me more nervous, because all I could do was think about all the stuff I had to get done while this lady was asking us to move in slow motion.  I suspect that yoga would have the same result.  I plan to keep exercising, because that will help in the long run, but the trick is to not let those stress factors keep getting in the way of my exercise sessions.  I have to remember to turn off my phone when I workout, limit myself to just one appointment every other day, put diapers on and lock up all the dogs before I start my workout session, and take all of my medications so that my health problems don't stop me cold in my tracks.  Easier said than done, but I have to train my mind before I can train my body.  Ultimately, I suspect my stress level will lessen when I can start trail riding again.

Off topic, but it may interest you to find out that the USPS does not deliver all of our mail despite being paid to do so.  A while back, another blogger who had to travel a long distance to her mailbox wrote a post letting us know that we can sign up to receive emails that provide pictures of our first class mail that we can expect to receive each day.  That way, if we weren't expecting anything important, we can save ourselves a trip to the mailbox.  I don't have a long distance to go to my mailbox, but with my leg pain, I want to conserve on the number of steps I take each day, so I signed up for those emails.

Amazingly, I discovered that I only get about 60% of my mail delivered!  Apparently, my mail carrier will not bother to come to my house if all she has for me is junk mail.  At first, I thought, "That's okay.  She'll probably deliver it the next time she actually has something important for me."

However, that junk mail never showed up in my box.  She just threw it in the trash.  I think it's kind of funny, because I would just throw it in the trash too, but still, it bothers me to know that a postal carrier is making decisions on which mail I should and should not receive.  Considering that someone paid to have that junk mail delivered, it would be morally correct for her to deliver it.  Right?

I've  been enlightened in more ways than one recently.  What a world we live in.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Usual Insanity

My main goals this week were to go to all of my medical appointments and clean house.  I decided that if anyone contacted me wanting favors, he or she would be out of luck, because I've waited way too long to make progress in these two areas.  I got that one doctor appointment under my belt and then, as usual, all hell broke loose.

I used to carry my mobile phone with me down to the barn, because I wore jeans and could attach it to my belt loop.  However, since being put on a physical therapy regimen, my main wardrobe has been yoga pants, track pants, and sweat pants, so I leave my phone in the house when I do chores.  When I returned to my phone after doing chores one day this week, I found several calls and messages waiting for my attention.  That's never a good sign.  It means that someone is having an "emergency" and needs my assistance.  "Who is it this time?" I wondered.

It turned out to be my ex-neighbor.  Her house, which has been on the market for three years now, is in escrow for the third time.  She needed me to set up an appointment with a home inspector, let him into her house, and show him where everything is.  I specifically told her and her husband that because of my leg problems, I was only willing to do little tasks like closing gates and turning off lights.  I was not going to orchestrate the sale of their home, I was not going to be their property manager anymore, and I was not going to handle their appointments like a personal assistant.

My pain is too unpredictable for me to be reliable when it comes to following through on appointments.  Plus, it's just a big hassle.  I almost always have to cancel my own plans to make room for theirs.  It takes me so long to get things done on my own list that I never reach a point where I have a blank slate and some free time to help out other people.  I don't mind making sacrifices every once in a while, but these ex-neighbors have been imposing on me for way too long now.  I need to live my own life, and they need to stop taking on more projects than they can chew and then expecting everyone around them to handle what they cannot.  They do offer to pay me, but I don't need the money.  What I need is rest and less stress.

They currently have two houses for sale on opposite ends of the country, and they are shopping for a new home up north.  They moved to where they are now three years ago because they missed their friends, only to discover that their friends weren't there anymore.  Now they are lonely, so they want to move to where most of their family is located.  They can't seem to make up their minds over what they want.  A few months ago they said they were going to move back here.

Anyway, the house next door is under contract with the same people who had it under contract the first two times.  The buyers kept making unreasonable demands, which pissed off the sellers.  The sellers refused to pay for all of it, which pissed off the buyers, and they both kept canceling the contract.  The last thing I'd been told by the sellers was that if those buyers showed up on their property again, I was to call the police and have them arrested for trespassing.

The real estate agent got so frustrated with everyone arguing and changing their minds that he canceled his contract as well, saying that he just wanted out of the deal so he could wash his hands of the whole thing.  So, it must have been an unpleasant experience for everyone.

However, the seller had a change of heart, fixed up the house some more, and then offered to sell it herself (without a real estate agent) to the buyers without any increase in price.  They accepted.  However, both the sellers and the buyers are on the road traveling this month, so neither of them can physically be at the house while it is going through the escrow process.  That means that I or another friend or neighbor has to handle all of that.

Fortunately, the seller wasn't willing to wait for me to call back, so she called someone else and got them to do it.  I'm sure there will be other appointments they'll want me to handle in the future.  The home inspector will find new problems, the buyers will demand that they get fixed, the sellers will put up a stink, the buyers will threaten to back out of the contract, the sellers will begrudgingly agree to fix the stuff, and I'll be contacted to handle all those appointments.

The people who are buying the house next door are the ones who I called "squatters" because they trespassed and loitered around the property several times a week when they were camping in our area.  I got tired of them always hanging out around my barn and riding arena, because they were distracting my horses and dogs and preventing me from being able to get stuff done.  I need my animals to focus on me when I'm working with them.  It's a lot different having neighbors who have a routine vs. having strangers hanging out on a piece of land that doesn't belong to them.  The horses and dogs know they don't belong there, so they react more strongly to the strangers' presence.

Anyway, now there are people coming and going from the house next door again, so I have to work around them.  My daughter helped me clean house all day.  It stayed clean throughout the night until morning when I stepped in a puddle of dog urine, slipped, and nearly lost my other leg.  I still need help grooming the horses.  The high winds have tangled their manes, and it takes a lot longer to comb out those tangles than I can stand on one leg, so she's coming over again to help with that.

Yesterday we had some crazy weather.  It was hailing horizontally.  I thought my windows were going to break.  Then everything that wasn't anchored down got picked up and blown away.  I found one of my chairs in my neighbor's yard, smashed beyond repair.  The horses got pinned in a huddle against the barn gate.  There was nowhere they could stand to avoid getting pelted by the hurricane force winds, hail and rain.  Then the barn flooded and Lostine was too afraid to walk through the water, so she stayed by the gate all night long.  My husband came home from work and said he saw a tornado.  Sure enough, the news reported that there was touch down of a land funnel.  It's supposed to start drying out soon, which will be a welcome relief.  I like water -- just not in the form of macrobursts and flash floods.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

One Big Step Forward, One Big Swipe Back

I had high hopes that the orthopedist would get down to the meat of the matter when it comes to my crippling leg pain.  Just like I hoped, he had his own x-ray machine in his office, so I didn't have to deal with those bumbling buffoons at the imaging place who mixed up my x-rays with someone else's last year.  The orthopedist's nurse took x-rays of my right knee before I could even finish filling in my paperwork.   I explained to the lady that I probably needed x-rays of my hip and back too, but she said she couldn't do that because the insurance company would get suspicious.  Seriously?  The doctors are going to let the insurance companies dictate how they diagnose their patients?  We have a serious health care problem in this country... but we already knew that.

An hour later, the doctor sat down in front of me with a puzzled expression and said, "What can I do for you?"

I got half a sentence in to explaining my symptoms and history, and he cut me off to begin the examination.  I knew he knew something I didn't, so I wasn't too put off by his inability to listen.  It seems that not being able to listen is an epidemic among doctors these days.  Although, I did hear him out in the hall flirting on a social level with a female patient while she rambled on about how old she was.  I figured he was a talker, and that's why I had to wait an hour past my appointment time.  I'm sure it was his charm that won him all those "Best Doctor in the Valley" awards he had in the waiting room.

He manipulated my knee multiple ways, and nothing he did hurt me, which was baffling because each step I take is painful, and I can never get into a comfortable position when I sit and lie down.  How can I be in pain all the time, but not feel any pain when he pushed, twisted, and pulled on my knee?  Once again I was coming across as a perfectly healthy patient.  My hopes for a diagnosis were dwindling by the second.

He said, "Well, your x-rays show a perfectly healthy knee.  There is no arthritis, no cysts, no tumors, no bone spurs, no cracks, no chips, no muscle tears...  Your choices are that we can dig deeper and do an MRI on the knee to see if there is a muscle tear deep down in there that the x-ray can't pick up, or I can give you a corticosteroid shot and see if that helps."

I opted for the shot.  I wasn't going back to that imaging place from hell.  I told him that I was so sure that my knee was the culprit of all this leg pain, because physical therapy had treated mostly my hip and nothing improved, and when I lie on my side at night, the bones in my knee feel loose and feel like they are cascading down in a pile on top of each other, pinching my nerves.

He said, "That's back pain masquerading as knee pain.  You'll have to see a doctor who treats backs."

So, it's back to the drawing board if I want a diagnosis, and the original diagnosis, the one my general practitioner has been treating me for this past year, is wrong.  Just as I suspected, the knee and back x-rays were of some other patient's body.  My G.P. thought that only the hip x-ray had been mixed up, which is why he's been treating me for osteoarthritis of the knee and back.  Now I have to go back to him and tell him to get those x-rays and results out of my records, and ask, "Where the hell are my prescriptions?"  I want to get the bad data out before I find a new doctor, because I don't want to risk getting another doctor who just goes by what he sees in my records and doesn't listen.  The last thing I need is more misunderstandings, more misdiagnoses, and more of my time wasted.

The good news is that the shot in the knee helped considerably.  It has helped improve my mobility during the day, but I still have that bone crushing sensation in my knee that keeps me awake at night.  I'm hoping now that all I need is another corticosteroid shot in my back, and I'll be good as new.

Time is of the essence with this, because not only will horseback riding season be upon me in a couple of months, but my photography mentor has arranged a wildlife photo shoot class, and even went so far as to hire a driver so that I don't have to walk the entire day.  She didn't know that getting in and out of vehicles is a major problem for me too, and that I suffer from motion sickness when other people drive me in unfamiliar vehicles.  I'm hoping I can get enough of the pain resolved soon so that I can sign up for her class, and if I can get my G.P. to renew my prescription, then I can take the edge off the motion sickness.  It's pathetic that my whole life revolves around medications right now, but that's the way it is.  I wish it were different.

Right now I'm just happy that I can sit in a chair without having to shift my position every few seconds to avoid pain, and I can walk upright with just a slight limp, as opposed to whimpering and keeling over with each bad step.

I've managed to lose most of my sleep tonight thanks to the dogs.  Stewie was jumping on and off the bed telling me he needed to go outside.   I got up, put a leash on him, and thought I'd better get the other two dogs now, or I'll end up making three trips.  I carried Scrappy to the door -- something I wouldn't have been able to do the night before -- and put a leash on him.  Midge was nowhere to be found.  I thought I'd just take out two this time, because a coyote had been hassling my husband in the dark and our floodlight was broken again.  Midge was still nowhere to be found when we came back in, so I returned to bed.

Just as I was falling asleep, Scrappy woke me by squealing and whimpering.  He was running around the house looking for me.  He's never done that before at night.  I couldn't sleep after that, so I got up and poured some milk on a bowl of cereal, and blammo!  Here came Midge ready to go outside.  That dog has the worst timing on earth.  I walked quickly toward her, trying to expedite the process before my cereal got soggy, and Stewie misinterpreted my intentions.  He thought I was rushing toward Midge because she was peeing on the carpet, so he charged her while barking, which woke up my husband.  I had to get Stewie under control, race Midge outside, and of course she just stood there sniffing the air and not getting down to business, because that's what she does best.  I quickly walked her over to a different spot and she finally went to the bathroom.  Now I have to take an antihistamine to get back to sleep, because my doctor didn't refill the pills that help me sleep.

I've been having to spend a lot of time disciplining Gabbrielle, because she's been chasing Rock around despite his hoof pain.  The poor horse limps everywhere.  Sometimes she forces him to gallop out to the end of the arena, and then he hurts so bad that he can't get back to the barn for a while.  I don't know why horses are so mean to each other.  Instead of protecting their injured, they make them be predator meat.  I'm planning on either locking Gabbrielle up on Exile Island tomorrow, or keeping Rock in his stall.  I'd prefer him to have the freedom to lie down in the soft arena sand, so it's better to just get Gabbrielle out of the picture.

Exile Island is at the end of the rainbow.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Almost Out of Limbo

This is the week I've been waiting a long time for.  I finally get to see a couple of specialists about my two most crippling health problems.  I feel like I've been in limbo these past few months, not being able to make any solid decisions on how to solve my physical challenges, not knowing exactly what is wrong and if there are cures.  I'm hoping to get more information so that I can make educated decisions on a day to day basis having a better idea about my future.

I'm angry with my general practitioner right now because he has blown off all of my messages and the pharmacy's messages to prescribe two of my medications that have no refills left.  I just saw him last month in person, and two times the month before that, so it's not like I'm due for a physical.  He knows I don't have time to see him again between all the physical therapy and specialists I'm supposed to be utilizing.  I don't know what his problem is, but I've decided to get a new doctor because of this.  I don't need this kind of stress, and any doctor who causes his patients more pain and stress isn't any doctor in my book.

My husband has been cleaning up the manure for me recently, and I'm thankful for that because Rock developed a nasty hoof abscess, and me not having to shovel manure has provided me enough energy to work on his hoof.  Rock has been a bit of a jerk, though.  He's not the world's best patient.  Each time I put together a soaking solution for him and affix the soaking boot, he waits for me to get distracted, and then he kicks the boot right off his foot.  So, I told him he's on his own.  I can't bend over and cradle his leg in between my legs long enough to apply a poultice wrap.  I could barely do that when I was strong and healthy.

My husband injured his hand doing chores, so it got inflamed.  We were debating whether it would be worse for me to drive us on our errands with me being in pain and my leg shaking uncontrollably each time I step on the brake, or with his hand being in pain when he steered.  The physical therapist told me to only drive and ride in trucks since it hurts so much to get in and out of cars, but now I can't get in the passenger side of the truck without someone pushing on my butt to give me a boost.  I can get in the driver's side by myself, though.  I need to get running boards installed or keep a folding step ladder in the truck.  It seems that with every passing week, I have to make some kind of adjustment in my routine to make up for the uselessness of my leg.

At the same time that I have been struggling to walk with my leg pain and Rock has been struggling to walk with an abscess, Stewie has been sick with digestive issues.  It's obvious that he's in pain.  Of course it all started over the weekend when the vet's office is closed.  I'm not sure what's up with these animals only getting sick and injured on weekends, but I'm sick of having to play vet because the vets aren't available.  By the time Monday gets here, they usually show signs of improvement.  I figure if I call to set up an appointment, we'd be lucky to see the vet by Wednesday, and by then the animal will be recovered.

I'm always looking for ways to lessen my pain, which means cutting down on the number of steps I have to take when I walk.  One problem I had was wasting a lot of time and energy having to hunt around for a pair of shoes when the dogs needed to go outside, so I bought a bunch of slip on shoes and stationed a pair next to each door.  That worked great until all this rain and flooding started, and now I have to walk around in rain boots.  They are covered in mud, so I have to leave them in the garage, which means that each time I need to put them on again, I have to turn them upside down and shake out the scorpions, spiders, and toads.  Oh yeah, and we get to sweep all the mud out of the garage that I track in with both those boots and my Mule's tires.

I did the same thing with reading glasses that I did with shoes... bought a pair for each room in the house to cut back on the searching.

Another problem spot I had was that I would have to hunt around for the dogs' leashes.  We have hooks by each door, but sometimes the leashes were by one door, but not the other, or there was only one leash by one door and all three dogs wanted to go outside.  What's the big deal, right?  Well, don't be so quick to judge.  One day you too might have the pleasure of feeling like your leg is broken with each step you take, and have two blind and deaf dogs who are impossible to wrangle up to take outside before they lose control of their incontinent bladders all over your freshly laundered carpet.  Anyway, Walmart helped me fix that problem today by selling me three very affordable 96 cent leashes, so now I have a set of three to hang by each door of the house that leads outside.  That way if I've got all the dogs waiting by one door, chaos doesn't have to break out while I limp to the other door to search for leashes.

I've been avoiding shopping at Walmart until either I can get a handicapped parking sticker or find something to relieve my pain.  It's too big of a parking lot and too big of a store for me at the moment, but I risked it today because my leg was feeling better than usual.  By the time I got inside, the inflammation from simply walking through the parking lot was enough to knock the breath out of me.  I kept going and pretended like nothing was wrong, but people were staring at me like they expected to see a bullet hole in my leg.

After I paid for my purchases, I parked my cart just inside Subway and got in line to order my lunch.  I had a thought that I should pull the cart further into the store, but I was trying to be considerate and not have my cart take up space where Subway customers needed to stand.  Then a little voice told me that someone was going to steal a bag out of my cart, so I kept my eyes on it all the time I was telling the lady what I wanted on my sandwich.  Sure enough, this teenage boy walked up looked inside my cart, peeked at the items in the bag closest to him, and then looked around to see if anyone was watching him.  His eyes met mine and I gave him a look that said, "Go ahead.  Make my day."

He stumbled backward and took off in the direction he just came from.  I wasn't fooled, though.  I continued to keep my eyes on my cart, and he came right back, paused by my cart, looked at me, and quickly walked off again.  He was smart enough not to come back a third time.

The only problem with getting a handicapped sticker is that I'll never get to use it.  Since so many seniors and veterans live in my community, a huge number of people are physically handicapped.  I rarely see available handicapped parking spaces.  Markets are extra difficult to traverse here, because of all the people on scooters.

I still haven't hired a house cleaning service.  I desperately need to mop my floors, but I have to sweep them before I can mop because there are chunks of mud and dog hair all over the place.  Vacuuming the tile doesn't work so well, because the vacuum cleaner somehow always breaks down when I do that.  I'm usually in too much pain to sweep more than a couple of rooms at a time, so by the time I'm done with sweeping all the floors in the house, I have to start over sweeping where I started because all the mud and dog hair has come back, and I never get to mop.  So, I offered to pay my daughter to help me get all the floors finished in one day.  I figure if two of us work together, we'd have a better chance of actually completing the project.

Because of the flooding, we now have a mosquito problem.  The poor horses are covered in bites and rubbing themselves on anything they can find.  Thank God I got their West Nile Virus vaccines this spring.  I considered holding off on their shots until fall this year, but instinct was telling me to get it done before summer.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Who's Been Pooping in My Sandbox?

I noticed Gabbrielle alerting on something up the driveway.  It turned out to be a coyote chasing a squirrel down a hole.  The coyote dug up the ground a bit, gave up on the squirrel, wandered over to my wildlife water bowls, drank the rest of the water out of them, and then crawled under the arena fence to help itself to the horse's water trough.  I thought its intrusiveness would end there, but then it walked around the horse barn and laid down in the shade against the water trough in Rock's stall.

I tried to sneak up on it to take a picture, and I caught it just as it ran beside Rock and under the barn railing on its way out of town...

That explains why I've been finding dog poop in the riding arena.  At least it didn't make off with a Jolly Ball this time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

In the News

That Phoenix suburb that experienced flooding mentioned in national news is where I live.  The video of the flooding was about a mile or two upstream from our backyard.  It had rained a lot during the previous night and in the morning.  It's unusual for monsoon rains to arrive in the morning, but this storm seemed cooler.  When there was a break in the rain, I went down to the arroyo to take pictures.  The water was lower than it was the day before.

The rescued chair from the previous flash flood is now sitting up higher on the bank.

A short time after I took these pictures I went outside and heard a roar.  I thought it was raining, but when I came out from under the overhang, I did not get hit by rain.  I realized that I was hearing the roar of a flood.  It sounded like it was running through my neighbor's lower pasture, but my leg was in too much pain to allow me to hike down there and slog through the mud to find out.

A short time after that, my husband called and said that the flooding was in the news.  He wanted to know what was happening at our house.  I went outside again, but now the roar was gone and it was relatively quiet.  The flash flood had passed.

But I smelled smoke.  I looked around, but didn't see smoke.  I doubted anyone was barbecuing, so I suspected that the flood or lightning caused a fire somewhere.  While I was limping around trying to sniff out the source of the smoke, some home shopper drove up the street to look at my neighbor's house.  It was raining and I was hoping they wouldn't stop me to ask questions.  I wasn't in the mood to sell their house while the neighborhood was being flooded and possibly on fire.  I managed to get back inside before they approached me.  Who shops for homes in a monsoon?  I'm surprised they were able to traverse the neighborhood, because most roads are blocked when it floods.

Then this morning I took the dogs outside and smelled smoke again.  I turned on the news only to find out that our best local restaurant is engulfed in flames.  This was the only place my upscale neighbors were willing to eat at in town.  Otherwise, they made us drive all the way to Scottsdale for dinner when we dined together to the tune of $100 a plate, and all we usually got was one pea.  That drive up and down the 101 didn't do much to improve my anxiety issues, so I stopped going out to dinner with them unless they were willing to eat locally.  This restaurant that is now on fire was the only place we could agree upon.

I haven't been able to clean up manure in two days, because there is a muddy pond in the middle of the barn and everything is mush.  I can't tell the difference between the manure and the mud, so I wouldn't know what to clean up.  I'm praying the horses won't get thrush and hoof abscesses, but it seems inevitable under the circumstances.  I'm loving the rain, but we need to dry out every once in a while too.

I've been tossing just hay to the horses most feeding times, because it's always pouring rain.  As a result, the wild rabbits haven't been getting any grain droppings.  So, last night, after I fed the horses some grain during a dry spell, a wild rabbit cautiously tip-toed up to me and tried to climb into the tack room while I was in there because it was so hungry.  It looked on the skinny side, so I scooped a bit of grain up and set it on the ground for the rabbit to feast on.  It was very appreciative.