Saturday, April 16, 2011

Confined to Stall Rest

Winter in Eastern Washington is usually a hit and miss when it comes to riding. We normally have 5 to 7 foot snow totals for the season and some pretty good days here and there to go riding. Last winter we were riding the mountains in January because there just wasn't any snow to speak of.

And the two winters before that we were inundated with snow! Non-stop snow, eight and ten foot snow totals. Snow so "BIG" and heavy we lost 8 of the local riding arenas that winter. So planning to keep your horses tuned up over winter is spotty at best! But most of us diehards try our best to keep working our horses. When the snow isn't blowing sideways with a howling wind that turns your trailer into a sail, we meander over to the indoor arena all bundled up in our wintery warm riding gear and do our best to stay in shape!

This winter was a far different story for this rider, in fact it has been a long long winter for me. You know when you just have that inkling that something is wrong but you can't quite put your finger on it and you stupidly don't want to admit that it might get worse? Well, that's what I did. I knew my foot was having issues, but I was busy, it was show season, who wants to stop in the middle of showing and have a doctor tell you that you need surgery?? THAT just ain't gonna happen. So I pushed myself to my limit of pain and grumpily accepted that I needed to have my foot looked at. My family doctor sent me to a "special" doctor, a podiatrist and he stated I had a neuroma. Basically an irritated nerve. Now for us horse people, we call that navicular and there are all kinds of ways of dealing with navicular in our horses. For us people, there are a couple of options, injections with cortizone steroids, injection with a nerve killing sumptin-or-other or surgical removal of the nerve. I opted for the first treatment and hoped for the best. I got three days of relief after suffering that spine wretching injection in which I saw white light and tore the upholstery off of the exam table! Yeah...that hurt!

So, after two months of no relief, it was a mutual decision by myself and the podiatrist to "nerve" me. On February 24, I went into surgery and they removed my contorted nerve, I got 10 stitches, some happy drug injections and a ride home. Thus began my confinement.

Now for those of you who know me....I am a very very very busy girl. I am either outside buzzing around or I am inside buzzing around. I rarely, if at all, ever watch television and I usually am so busy that when I do crash for the night, I am out like a light. Well, things change is all I can say....and not for the better. I tried to NOT do anything...HA!! I was bored out of my mind after the first couple of days. The foot HAD to stay elevated to reduce swelling and pain, which meant I had to stay put! My first visit to the doctor was exactly one week later and I was so very excited to go outside of my house!! I was heading for a bandage change, but I didn't care....I wasn't stuck in my bed!

Now...I am a squeamish sort. I do NOT like oozy, bloody, or goopy. My stomach churns even now just thinking about my anticipation of how that incision would look when the doctor removed my bandaging. But to my wasn't too bad to look at!

"Looks pretty good" exclaimed my Podiatrist. He said my neuroma was the largest he had ever seen!! The photo does NOT show just how red the skin was and to my surprise I had not been administered any antibiotics. Doctor Podiatrist said they don't usually do that anymore. The incision was a bit oozy still, so he re-bandaged me and I was sent home for another week of sitting on my butt doing nothing. I know all the History channel specials, watched about as much of the Horse TV that I can stand without trying to debate methodology! Tried not to call and bug all my friends. Grew irritated about the carpet, the toilets, the kitchen and the laundry. Oh, I am so bad about sitting still!!

Finally, the day to re-visit the doctor came...Yippee!! Maybe today was the day I could put a shoe on? Maybe I could take a walk outside and see my horses, walk my dogs, do a bit of my chores. Maybe....sigh.

Doctor Podiatrist removed the stitches, it was still oozy and red, but he said I was good to go. I had to keep it bandaged and vet wrapped, no soaking in a tub, showers only. I could wear a shoe if I wanted. WOW! OK...I felt like a million when I left that office! I got home, tried on my muck boots....wasn't easy, but got them on anyway and headed outside. I did all my own chores that night and I was making plans in my head for the next couple of weeks. Horses needed to be seriously groomed, sheep were lambing and the spring calves would be coming soon. Four days later I was in the ER, my foot the size of a melon and throbbing, the incision had split wide open and was bleeding. Infection had set in. Too much too soon!!

That was 5 weeks ago. I can now tell you which channel you can find "Bones" on, I am up to date on the Political scene. I can make a whole new plethora of stews and soups. My horses don't remember me. My dogs are out of shape. I am FAT from sitting on my butt for 5 weeks taking multiple antibiotics to fight off infection that irritate my stomach so I have to eat lots of little meals...ugh! What a mess! And I have breedings coming up.....(heavy sigh). All my horses are fat, hairy and dirty. My husband, bless him, has done a great job at keeping them fed, watered and the salt licks replaced. My new Wound Specialist doctor is in repeat mode now...."another week"...I am not healing as fast as I guess I should be.

I hear about all my horsey buddies having great adventures already this spring and I am envious!! A few days of great weather have allowed a few hours of being outside. I did attend a wonderful clinic in Pasco, WA for three days of auditing (again sitting on my butt!) I am chomping at the bit here just knowing how much I have to do when I get the go ahead from the new Wound Specialist I see every week.

My Appaloosa Adventures of backing Andy, Driving Casper, Xtreme Trail with Misty and more Dressage testing for Casper are all ON HOLD and in delay mode! I beg of you all to please share with me your horsey adventures so that I may revel in your joyful celebration of being back in the saddle!!!