From Rough and Tough to...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Have Ya Had Enough?
Yep. I think so. It's been many a misadventure since my last post, and it's only been what? A week and a half? Yeesh. I'll skip straight to the sad; Sarabear has been diagnosed with full-blown heaves (otherwise known as COPD and/or RAO). My best guess is it must have been dust-induced; even with recent rains we're still in a musty dusty drought. The initial signs were either not there or - more likely - mild enough they just snuck right by us. Sarabear is not ridden or worked at all, which I'm sure made it harder to spot. She also tends to stay in the background of her little herd, so that probably didn't help matters. I'm sure that there were some additional - and bigger - signs more recently, which I probably missed completely being so focused on my parents big move, the end of school, and getting sick twice (got some serious guilt going here, though). She seemed to go from a mild occasional cough to wheezing and all but gasping for air virtually overnight.
When Sara came in 2009, we noticed she had a very slight periodic cough; she was a 14 year old broodmare that we accepted as an equine donation from one of our long time regular donors. We took her largely because I am a softhearted sap we were under the impression that she was coming with her own built-in financial support (and ha, ha that joke was all on me). I'm still struggling to get past resenting the fact that the donations stopped shortly after Sara's arrival, as she is a wonderful addition to the farm. Click here to visit her lens and read all about her high schoolesque arrival. Since the rest of us were sneezing and coughing from allergies at the time she came, I wasn't overly concerned as her mild cough disappeared about the same time our sniffling and sneezing did. 
I did, however, look up coughs in horses the following spring when she started coughing; again here and there (just in case). Although I came across heaves as a potential cause for cough, she did not have any breathing troubles or mucous and the coughs seemed to be pretty mild as well as few and far between. Added to that, my "go to" books and online haunts all pointed to stabling and dusty hay as the cause of heaves and advised keeping the horse on turnout and grass. Since Sara isn't stabled at all (although she has shelter) and pretty much never eats from the hay pile, I mentally crossed it off. Over the past week or two, I've found several online articles about heaves in the South in turned out horses. Hello? Where the heck was all this important stuff when I looked the first time? Well foo on you Mr. Highnmighty Net; NOW you tell me. *scowl*
Sara was given a shot of a corticosteroid that I don't remember the name of, but it's supposed to last for 30 days. I am trying to find some kind of long term treatment we can use that will help in addition to watering down the dusty areas as far as we can reach with the hose. The dust has been awful the past couple of years, as the rainfall has been far below average. If any of my horsey friends know of anything that works well for heaves, please let me know. She still has that slight cough, but won't take anything we've tried thus far. Air Power and Cough Free have been tried, but both have a very strong smell so she won't touch them; nor will she touch her feed if it's in there. Of course the other girls were more than happy to eat it; and isn't that just special? *bangs head on desk* I know they make a prescription cough medicine for horses; but that stuff is hideously expensive and definitely beyond our budget (plus I don't know how I'd even get a dose in her).
If it were ANY of the other horses, I could just grab the dosing syringe and we'd be done already. For those of you unfamiliar, Sara was heavily abused early in life and although she will let me touch her head while grooming, it's a monumental struggle for her to allow that much. She can't handle anything beyond it. I can't get anywhere near her ears, nose or mouth while holding her halter; she'll rear (which is just a bit too much fun for me - ha, ha). This lesson was learned none other than the hard way the first time I cluelessly attempted to deworm; straight up in the air, and wasn't that a lovely surprise? Not really. Whoever her show trainer was - she was a halter gal - sure did a number on her head (in more ways than one). Since then, we've hidden her dewormer in a handful of pellets and never had a problem getting her to take it. 
There are several sites offering herbal remedies that appeal, but of course I have no idea who is trustworthy and legit and who is not; caveat emptor, don'tcha know. I went to SmartPak (who I know is legit) and have narrowed it down to two supplements. One is MSM Pellets (click here for info) and the other is SmartBreathe (click here). I'm leaning heavily toward the SmartBreathe, (naturally it had to be the more expensive of the two) and am hoping that one of you guys has had some experience with this; 'cause I sure could use some help here. Ack! I'll give it a couple of days after I post before I place my order, but then I'll have to just take another chance as I don't want to (and really can't afford to) have to call the vet again if I can help it. So those of you in the know, please share what you've already learned with us via comment. I read through the reviews, and they looked quite promising. My biggest concerns are obviously that it won't help or, more likely, that she won't eat it. I wish we could afford to supplement everyone with SmartPaks but when you multiply by nine, well...I think not. One day, maybe. *sigh* I did send them an email to see if they offered any kind of discount to non-profits (so y'all keep your hooves crossed! ;o)
In other news, I finished this hat for the grandmother of one of the kids at school; her cancer returned and he asked if I would make her one (please pray for her). For those of you who are hooked on crochet (ha) I used a pattern called Bella from Knots of Love, and how funny is that? They offer a myriad of free patterns for cancer patients in PDF format - knitted ones too - in case you'd like to make one yourself. I used a cotton yarn, as summer is almost upon us and it is much cooler than acrylic yarn. The flower wasn't in the pattern, I added that myself, but made it removable in case she didn't like it. She sent me a lovely thank you note, and said she loved it flower and all - I will probably see her wearing it at sixth grade graduation - hope so :o)
Finally! You have reached the happy ending to this post. DH and our favorite construction volunteer, Mr. Ron, have actually managed to have the same day off. *WOOT!* This has been forever in the making, and I know it's only framing but it is something in the way of progress, and I AM SO GLAD! (sorry for shouting - I'm terribly excited ;o) Look, it's an almost feed/tack room:
Have a very blessed week everyone. Happy thoughts and horsey hugs - it's almost summer - Hooray!

Toeing (tripping over) the Line

Thursday, May 17, 2012

For those of you who might be thinking Jen made a typo in the title, I'll tell you now it's [yet] another one of my terrible puns - can't help it...I love 'em ;o) So sorry I missed last week's post; and the one before that. Sheesh. You see I put a toe - more than one, actually - over "The Line". You know the one I mean? That line that defines your limits; the one that generally results in some sort of negative reinforcement should you be foolish enough to actually step over it. I usually refer to such things as "self-inflicted stupidity", however, sometimes events just kind of spiral out of control. Does that happen to you too? *sigh*
My mom was knocked so far off kilter by the move and subsequent upheaval, talking to her was like conversing with a late stage Alzheimer's patient (it was really scaring me). She was so completely overwhelmed, she'd start walking in little circles and saying things like, "I don't know what to do, I just don't know what to do." over and over again like a broken record. The only thing I could think of was to get her unpacked and situated as quickly as possible. The past month has been a complete and utter blur, but we got it [mostly] done. The two car garage, which had been completely filled with boxes has been unpacked to the point that both cars now fit easily inside. There are a few "later" boxes left, and those are stacked neatly against one wall. Thankfully, Mom seems to be herself again. Whew!
Of course working full time in a germ infested environment in conjunction with autoimmune issues means that such frenzied activity and late nights on my part are not sustainable for long. Inevitably there comes some sort of major crash. I got sick not once, but twice which slowed me down to a crawl (although I did manage to keep going; well...mostly ;oP Somehow or another, I managed to wind up with six big shelves to paint for Mom's little alcove off the bedroom (and do not ask me how, as the details are rather hazy) and that will be - I hope - the end of the major stuff for awhile. It took me two weeks to finish priming and painting those stupid things, but I delivered them Monday after work. I do not wish to discuss the state of my own house (which was duly sacrificed) and have taken to gazing intensely at the floor while navigating the living and dining areas where I have chunked and piled all the stuff I inherited through the downsizing. Somewhere in there, DD (who never gets sick) got sick, and I have taken today off to carry Sarabear - who is also sick - to the vet. More on that next time.
As promised, however, here are a few more photos from my parent's old house. The family room had fabulous vaulted ceilings and a super cool "balcony" that was one of DD's favorite spots in the house when she was little (and when she was not so little ;o)
The people they bought the house from made stained glass; hence the gorgeous glass accents. Is this kitchen cabinet not fabulous?
My favorite piece, however, is in the master bath. It was difficult to get a good photo, as the lighting was not the best. The glass is backlit, as you can see:
Isn't that simply stunning? I love stained glass, do you? Well, that's all for now and I really am sorry for being absent so long (have a hug? ;o)

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