Tuesday, August 02, 2005

$1,000,000 and Climbing.....

....the amount of money you need to support your horse habit.

I'm finally recovering from my weekend, which theoretically started on Friday with a vacation day. I had the day off so that I could ride in a clinic with Tom Valter, an expensive clinician who comes to our area periodically. My ride was scheduled for 11 AM at a barn about 45 minutes away.

The phone rang at 7:50 AM, right after my husband left for work. It was the owner of my boarding barn. Zoe had a bad cut on her leg and he thought I should call a vet right away. I know it's bad when Sam says to call a vet; he's not usually one to call a vet immediately. I get on the phone with my vet's office. Doc is on barn calls on Fridays, but they said if I could get Zoe there this morning that he could come back to the clinic to look at her. They didn't know when he would be able to get to my barn to check on her otherwise. I knew she needed stitches, so I wanted to get her to the clinic soon; however, I didn't want to lose my lesson with Tom (I'd still have to pay the clinic fee!). I asked whether I could bring her in at 3 PM instead of this morning, but they insisted no, bring her in this morning.

At first, while still at home, I thought I might need to leave Zoe at the barn and let Doc make the barn call when he could. When I got to the barn and actually saw the injury I knew I had to get her some medical attention right away and forget worrying about missing the clinic. So I made several calls around and got the clinic organizer to let me change my ride time to the afternoon. One problem solved at least. Hey, I wouldn't be losing my $110!

The next thing I had to do was prepare Zoe to take to the vet clinic, which happens to be about an hour away. She was walking fine on the injury -- a deep cut to her right front heel. The blood had clotted and there was very little bleeding, but there was also a lot of dirt and debris around the wound. So I very gently washed it off, cleaning it with soap and betadine. Zoe was patient with this and didn't move around a lot or protest. I got the the outside of the wound and surrounding area cleaned off as best as I could. I didn't attempt to lift the flap of her heel and clean the inside of the wound, which appeared to have much more debris in it. But I am not a vet, so I didn't attempt to do anything that had the potential to cause more harm than good. I covered the wound with a sterile pad and wrapped the foot and ankle with vet wrap to hold it on. It took about an hour and a half to do all of this, but I was finally ready to put on the shipping boots and get on the road.

Do I really want to go into details about getting to the vet clinic?? I guess I have to. I called my friend who was just at the clinic recently to get directions. There was road construction on the way and a bridge was out, so I needed an alternate route. She gave me very good directions. I followed them, but at a crucial point convinced myself I was wrong and got on the highway -- going the wrong way! I went 14 miles out of my way, but got back to the point where I made the error. Now I still wasn't convinced I was on the right road, so I called my husband who very gratiously looked up the area on mapquest. I told him the road I was on and the crossroads and after 10 minutes of thinking I must be going the wrong way, he confirmed that this was right! Whoohoo! Going well so far.

I got to the part of the route with which I was familiar from previous trips to the clinic, but when I hit a four-way stop, I had another doubting moment. I felt I was supposed to take a right at this stop, but I couldn't remember for sure. I called my husband again. He frantically looked at the map online (remember, he didn't really know where I was trying to go). A big truck came to the stop behind me, so I had to make a snap decision. I went straight. Wrong! So I had to turn around about a mile down the road, come back to the stop sign and take my turn. By that time I was only a few miles from the clinic, but it felt like this trip had been going on for hours and hours. I gave a call to the vet clinic to confirm yet again that this was the right way. They said it was and I relaxed a hair.

When I got to the clinic at 11 AM they wanted me to sign a paper first thing saying that Zoe is my horse and I assume financial responsibility for her. (i.e., Sign my life away.) Then I went out to get Zoe and brought her in. The next greeting I get was from a barn manager type who said, "No one told me you were coming until just now." I didn't know what to say, but she made me feel guilty for some reason. She also made me question whether the Doc knew I was coming. I thought perhaps she was the one who does the initial assessment of the wounds and would be cleaning Zoe's wound. She had me put Zoe in a stall. I asked whether I should leave my unprofessional bandage on or take it off. She just shrugged and said probably leave it on. Okay. Next I went back to the front counter and asked, "What's next?". Everyone up there gave me blank stares. What the?!? I asked for "Jackie" as that is with whom I had been speaking this morning. They just said they didn't know where she was and that the door was closed so maybe she was in town. Whatever that meant. I left thinking that I would be getting a call soon enough.

I got back to town, picked up Jimmy and drove to my clinic. We got there about 2:00. Not bad. I had my lesson, which went pretty well. I think T.V. was a bit impressed with how much we have improved since the last time he saw us. Well, as impressed as T.V. can be, I guess. He still complained about my dirty bridle. I didn't clean my tack that morning as I had planned to do due to the emergency with Zoe. I told Tom too bad about the dirty tack. He didn't pick on anything else. We did a lot of work on the right rein. Apparently, that was his theme this weekend. So we cantered for what seemed like a loooong time to the left so that I would use the right rein connection. I got the picture.

Before loading Jimmy back up I gave the vet clinic a call. The person told me I would get a call when my horse was ready to go. She wouldn't say whether Doc had seen her yet or not. If I didn't hear from Doc Friday evening, then I should call back Monday morning to find out what was going on. Uh, I don't think so.

I took Jimmy home. Called my husband, who agreed to come out with me to drive up to the clinic to check on things. We got to the clinic after 8 PM. I looked in the window of Zoe's stall and saw that she still had the same bandage I had put on to take her there. It was apparent that Doc had not come back to tend to her. I was enraged. I found someone in the barn feeding and asked how I could talk to Doc. She said he was up at the house. I told her I brought my horse in this AM and no has tended to her yet. I demanded to see Doc. By this time was crying. She gave him a call and he came down a while later. While waiting, I walked Zoe around, crying and angry.

Long story slightly shorter, he tended to her and said she would need surgery. The cut was deep and in a place that stitches wouldn't be able to hold. She would need a cast and 2 weeks stall rest. She was ready to come home on Sunday. She's doing alright in the cast, which comes up to about her knee.

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