Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Junior Chronicles: Part 4

Junior battles on.  Yesterday he seemed more depressed, more listless.  But he'd been sedated just an hour before I saw him, so that could definitely account for some of what I saw.  He's not in pain, and he is not losing ground, systemically.  In other words, he's holding his own. 

Go, Junior!!!!

He had more acupuncture yesterday, and this time his body torqued the acupuncture needles so hard that they both broke off inside his loin.  Whoops.  It sounds bad/gross/worrisome, but it's not a big concern because it's really equivalent to having a sliver in your foot.  Not a worry right now.  So, there the needle pieces will stay until or unless they become a problem, which they probably won't.  Who knows- maybe they'll ultra-stimulate the right energy flow and he'll move his blockage.  Yes?  Maybe?  Ok, maybe not.  But I can pretend, right?

The plan for Junior today includes a heavy-duty stool softener.  He will also likely receive another acupuncture treatment (with a different type of needle, thankyouverymuch!).  He does continue to produce a little more manure, maintain his hydration, temperature, bloodflow to all extremities, etc etc.  All good news.

Here's how he looked yesterday: sleepy and listless, but upright, calm, and sweet.  Beep and I loved on him. 

I attribute a lot of his endurance to his fabulous physical condition when he fell ill.  A racehorse is an extreme athlete, so he was in top physical form when this all began.  He is now weak and thin, but hasn't "fallen apart" the way a fat or out of shape horse might have.

The catheter has been removed because it was causing irritation and inflammation at the incision site.  He has poultice on his neck to help ease the inflammation.

Hello, pretty boy.  You can do this.  Hang in there.


Through all of this, I have been worried about Cabbage.  We have been through a lot in the 5 1/2 years we've been together.  We've had highs: engagement, wedding, having Beep, and making a home together; and lows: the death of his mother, our baby in the NICU, and a number of medical scares and emergencies.  So although we approach this horse crisis with a real and solid perspective on our good, strong life together, it's still worth noting that this is the latest in a long string of horse illnesses.  We've buried three horses in less than four years.  It has been an emotional and financial drain. 

Cabbage is a strong and macho cowboy, which I love.  He is confident and assertive, opinionated and intense.  It is all tempered, though, by his deep devotion to his family and friends, an incredibly kind heart, and a defining sense of responsibility.  He is a lifelong horseman who manages his animals' care meticulously and expertly.  To have yet another horse fall ill like this is not only scary, expensive, sad, and nerve-wracking, it is also defeating.

Or it would be (sometimes is) to me.

Luckily, Cabbage is the more optimistic of the two of us.  To him, Junior's colic is another hurdle, a setback, and a challenge we will work through together.  He knows we will do the best we can and be able to live with the outcome.

Cabbage spends time every day with Junior, and doesn't leave him until he's scratched and rubbed every inch of our sick horse.  It takes time.  Junior stands quietly, and sometimes rests the full weight of his tired head on Joey's shoulder as Joey calls him Bub and says Hey, Brother.  So Cabbage scratches away their shared tension, and rubs out his own worry.  He eases the strain of sickness and replaces it with some comfort.  Away go the procedures, the sticks and pokes and stitches and tubes, and in their place through Cabbage's hands comes kindness, familiarity, and friendship.

When Cabbage leaves Junior's stall and walks away down the aisle of the vet clinic, his hands are black and gummy, and he bears the sweet and musky scent of a loved horse.

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