Thursday, January 19, 2012

We are not done with December yet...

I started catching you up on December, and I bet you thought,

"Man, Glad that is over!"

Not a chance.  There was more, so much more.  In the middle of what was going on with my horse, something else happened.  One of my dogs started limping.  It was Flower.  We were still in the throws of,

"Am I going to have to put this horse down?" 

Then this happened.  I thought she had picked up a sticker outside.  I examined her paw, all around her pads, and nothing.  I sort of remember telling her this was not a good time for this.  She had just gone outside for a few minutes to do her business, and then she was running inside with a limp.  She wouldn't put her back foot down.  We didn't know what had happened.  I was all over that dog's leg, checking it out to no avail.  She ate, and went about her business.  The Man in Charge made it in from his day, she went to greet him, and he said, "What happened to Flower?"  He did the same things I did, but nothing.  I didn't know if she caught a nail on something, and maybe pulled it.  No evidence of bleeding, but what could have happened?

The next day she seemed a little better.  She would put her foot on the ground, but not really any weight on it.  Over the next few days, we saw a lot of improvement.  Maybe she just pulled a muscle doing something crazy?  Then we started to see combinations of putting full weight on the leg, only touching her foot to the ground, and all-out limping.  Now mind you, all the while, she was still running and playing and basically enjoying life.  Just with variations of movement in her back leg.  None of it slowed her down a bit.  I was worried, but not too worried. 

Once I got my feet under me with the horse situation, I took her to the vet.  After an examination, the vet said she had a torn ACL.

Excuse me?

I won't bore you again with all the blah, blah, blah, but when she looked at me and said, "This is one tough girl.  She shouldn't be tolerating this this well.  I am shocked."  It was like deja vu all over again.  And, no, I don't use the same vet clinic for horses and dogs.  Completely different group of people, in completely different cities.  She thought it was a complete tear based on the physical examination, but again was shocked at how well she was moving.  We discussed our options, which weren't really options.

Surgery or no surgery.

She put her on anti-inflammatory medication and said to take her home and see how she did.  The option of surgery could be made later, she could heal on her own. 

Healing on her own isn't really healing, but that is another story. 

She could get to a point where she could move and do all the things she wants to do freely.  The thing on her side is her muscle mass and build.  She could heal on her own and you wouldn't be able to tell she had an issue unless you were really studying her gait.  She could not heal well at all.  You could do the surgery now.  You could do the surgery later.  I wasn't sure if we were even speaking the same language. 

I didn't leave with a good feeling about the diagnosis or the treatment options. I still had questions, and I was still in shock. I was also tired of veterinarians telling me how tough my animals were. Maybe we should come up with a slogan, and hang that sign on the gate. I conveyed all the information to the Man, and he felt the same way I did.  After reading everything I could get my hands on, I consulted with a person dear to me.  She had a recent experience with her dog and ACL surgery.  She referred me to a specialist that she would use if she was ever faced with this injury again.

I called the clinic that she told me about, and blurted it all out within seconds of the lady answering the phone.  Apparently my big girl panties were in the laundry and I was not coping well.  The lady on the other end of the line was very sweet.  She talked with me for a long time and we agreed that if we were dealing with a partial tear, she could heal on her own if we kept her activity restricted and kept her on the anti-inflammatory medication.  She said we should see her get better.  If it gets a little better and then worse, or just worse,  then we can be pretty sure that we are dealing with a full tear.  She could also re-injure it.  What ever is going to happen, we have some time to see how she does.  We aren't making her any worse.  She explained their examinations and fees, and said this was as good a plan as any. I felt much better, and she made so much more sense to me.  Did I mention that the surgery is thousands of dollars?  Did I also mention that the surgery takes months of recovery and rehabilitation.  I mean like half a year.

Yes, I will give you a moment to process that.

Flower has finished her medication.  It has been a real chore to restrict her movement.  She is tired of us yelling at her, "No running."  All she wants to do is play.  We started wrapping her leg with an ace bandage.  It wouldn't really stay in place, and we re-wrapped it several times a day, but it seemed to remind her to take it easy.  Without it, not so much.  She has never acted like she was in pain.  She moves pretty well most of the time, but occasionally you will see her favor that leg.  I am not sure where we go from here.  We could put her back on the medication and give her a little more time. 

The good news is that she is not worse.  She is better than she was.  I don't know what we are going to do now.  I love her, love her, love her.  I am just having a hard time wrapping my mind around all of this.

We all have a point, and I thought I had already reached mine, but naaahhhh. 

Heap it on.

P. S.
On a side note:  During all of this the Full-Timer and I met the Man in Charge for lunch one day.  When we were leaving the restaurant, he sort of tripped over the curb outside.  I asked him if he was okay, and he was.  Then I had to tell him, "Good.  Because if you had hurt your leg just then, I would have left you right here on the curb.  I am at my injured-leg limit, and you would be on your own, Mister."  He then threatened me within an inch of my life if I ever did such a thing, but between you and me, I sort of meant it.

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