Saturday, March 28, 2009

whirlwindy end to the week

A few hours away yesterday a number of tornadoes touched down and did some damage, and the local news is reporting the possibility of severe thunderstorms this evening with high winds and hail. It's been really warm here at night, and as a colder front moves in this afternoon, there's going to be about a 20-degree drop in temperature and ripe conditions for more yucky weather.

We were lucky yesterday not to have the whirling wind close by, but we did have a bit of a scare last night. When my husband went out to feed dinner at the barn, Salina went into the stall where she normally eats and proceeded to lie down. She didn't try to roll, but laid out flat and then got up. She was pawing a bit, and he took her dinner in, and she laid down again and then got back up. She ate about half of her tub and then stopped eating.

He came in to get me, and we went out together to decide what to do. Her gums were pink, she wasn't sweating, she wasn't agitated, but she did continue pawing and seemed like she might want to lie down again. Her respiration seemed normal, she had gut sounds, and when we tried to take her temperature, she pushed the thermometer out and swished her tail. Her normal reaction to that intrusion.

I suggested walking her in the arena, where it wasn't so mucky, to see if she settled or worsened. She walked normally, a nice big walk, and did her characteristic nicker upon halting. She dropped a very normal pile of manure very quickly, and we decided to give a dose of Banamine and check her in a couple of hours.

We put Cody and the pony on the opposite side of the barn, so that Salina could share the other side's three open stalls with Keil Bay, and be free to walk about in the less mucky dirt paddock on that side. Initially I tried to keep the donkeys in the barn aisle, but she and they were miserable being separated, so we let them join her.

At 1 a.m. she was calm and relaxed, hadn't gone down again, and had dropped more normal manure. She wasn't eating but I figured her system was doing what it needed, and we came in and went to bed.

In the midst of all this I kept hearing a very high-pitched squeaking sound that seemed to be coming from the walls of the barn itself. I kept walking around listening, stopping, waiting for it to resume, asking if anyone else heard it, etc. Bats? Baby birds? Some kind of tree frog? Some kind of insect? Or tons of baby mice who had all just been born?

When I got to the back deck of the house, I heard it again. Then when I got inside the laundry room it was even louder. It was one of those moments when logic escaped me - I thought, oh my gosh, we must be infested with mice and they've all given birth at the same time, everywhere!

And then I realized - it was my right muck boot! I have no idea how or why it was making the noise, but every time I stepped a certain way, or shifted my weight onto that side, there was the noise.

We got a good (and much needed by that time) laugh out of that.

I got in bed and did my usual meditation of surrounding the horses with white light. I also told Salina that we would take care of her, but if it was time for her to go, that was fine too. At her advanced age, with her arthritic knees and all she's been through with the loss of her eye, I've decided that we wouldn't send her to the vet school or an equine clinic for surgery or treatment should the need arise. The stress of travel, of separating from her donkey boys, would be huge, and given her personality and intensity, I don't think it would be in her best interest at this point in her life. So I reminded myself that if things worsened, I already had the lines drawn for myself and wouldn't need to struggle with that kind of decision.

It's a difficult thing to think about, but a sense of relief knowing I've already made the decision, at least for Salina.

I had a very bizarre dream, in which Salina did go to the vet school, but the donkeys accompanied her, and it was determined that she'd eaten the ear off a stuffed animal and it had lodged in her digestive track somewhere. They recommended exploratory surgery to find and remove it. I had to say very clearly to the vet staff that we would not do that, and it almost felt in the dream like a "practice run" for me - to walk through a possible scenario and carry out what I've decided theoretically.

The dream then shifted to a very bizarre symbolic representation of some other stuff going on in my life, so literal it was almost laughable when I woke up and recounted it. It never ceases to amaze me how the psyche offers us what we need using the images we need, and are ready for, in order to "get the message."

This morning, Salina was eager to go to the field with her herd, and proceeded to graze on grass and hay immediately. She came in for breakfast at her appointed time, nickered as usual, and got highly ticked off when she found out I had only served her the beet pulp plus salt and mineral portion of her meal. I added some chopped apples, and she did eat some of it, but harassed Keil Bay in the stall next door, wanting some of his meal.

She ate a bit of the donkeys' timothy cube mix, more of her meal, and then proceeded to set in to eating more hay. She dropped more very normal manure, and although we're continuing to watch her and monitor things, I hope this crisis has passed.

With all the potential for severe weather, I'm also sending out some calming thoughts, in hopes that we all get through the weekend safely and easily.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I think the crisis has passed for Salina and she was probably only gas colicing a little because of the weather. Glad to hear she's feeling better.
Even though it is hard to think about it's good to have a plan of action in case of emergencies. We have the same one in place for Sweetie.
Did you feel a little silly after you found out it was your boot squeaking, sounds like something I would have done.

billie said...

Arlene, mostly I was relieved we weren't being besieged by mice! :)

But yes, I felt a bit silly too!

Thus far today Salina is doing well. I split her lunch into two smaller portions served at 2:30 and 6:30, and will give her half her dinner portion tonight just to be safe.

It is raining pretty hard right now, and I am crossing my fingers for the rain to pass on, because it is SO mushy out there already. The idea that it might do this on through the night is ... not something I want to think about!

But so far no wind and no hail, so that's the good news. :/

the7msn said...

Pardon me for continuing to laugh at the "mice" in your boot. I do that kind of stuff all the time and walk around for hours shaking my head at how ridiculous I can be.

I hope that 'colic watch' has passed and that the rest of your weekend is calm and warm.

billie said...

Linda, there should be a cartoon of this mice in the boot thing.

There is a long history with me and mice infestation. I'm not afraid of mice specifically, but the thought of infestation has come up before. When I was in my twenties and lived alone with my two beloved cats, one of them started bringing mice in repeatedly, and on one particular Saturday morning, he brought 17 mice home in a one-hour time period.

I went back to work on Monday and reported how horrified I was, as I then had to dispose of all the creatures, and one of my co-workers got her husband to call my home answering machine, saying he was an officer for Public Health, and had been working on a possible mouse infestation in my neighborhood - and that they had located the source of the infestation as being my garage!

I completely got sucked in and freaked out. It was hilarious. People laughed about that for months on my job.

This is probably funnier though since the source of the infestation is in my own boot!

ponymaid said...

Billie, you and your extended family seem to be in an interesting zone, for want of a better word. I know just what you mean about having the decision made beforehand - the woman has discussed Jack's eventual exit with me and we have decided it best to let him slip away in his home environment, where he is relaxed and happy. No sense in putting him through stress just when he needs to be calm and serene. Having said that, I plan to manage him so closely that he will be with us for decades. Oh, and I'm so glad you got your squeaky issue sorted out. I hate those mysterious noises - I always think it's TJ sneaking back.

Yours in mud,

billie said...

Sheaffer, I'm sure your care will keep Jack going for a long, long time. And I feel the same way about Salina and her donkey team here - Rafer Johnson and Redford have given her a new sense of purpose.

I'm sure the entire herd could have told me about the boot squeak, but they allowed me to funnel my anxiety about Salina right out through my right foot and into the walls of the barn.

I can't imagine the conversation that ensued when I came inside and they had the chance to talk among themselves. :)

Victoria Cummings said...

Whew. I'm so glad Salina is feeling better. I know all about those sort of plans since we've been dealing with our poor old dog's illnesses. And the mice in your boots cracked me up - It's exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me too! When we lived in California, I had some wild adventures with rats. Every time my cats catch a mouse here, I fear the worst. Hope the storms keep skirting around you!

billie said...

Thanks, Victoria!

I've split her daily concentrates into 4 separate meals starting today, which I think is better for her, but of course more complex for us. Meanwhile she is doing great and we are back in sunshine but with 35 mph winds!

Rising Rainbow said...

Glad to hear that Salina is through this crisis. It sucks worrying about horses.

I hope the weather gets better and nothing bad hits your way. The boarding facility three of my mares are at was hit by a twister today. Took the roof off the hay barn. Glad my mares are coming home soon. This goofy weather is making me nuts.

billie said...

Wow, MiKael - hope all safe at your boarding barn!

High winds make me nervous.