Wednesday, February 9, 2011

That Kind of a Day

Randy woke up at 4 am Saturday, screaming with pain. Due to my RA, and previous back surgery with 6 fractures and 2 ruptured discs, he usually feeds hay for me in the mornings in 4 different pastures, to the milk cows, leppy calves, horses, nurse-cows, goats and sheep.

After seeing his pain was not subsiding and agreeing on a plan of action, I proceeded to feed the hay myself, plus I fed the baby goats their bottles, fed the boss’ puppies, asked the ranch crew to feed my animals for us in our absence, as well as cover for Randy feeding the ranch cows, packed a suitcase and drove us the 4 hour trip to the emergency hospital in Boise. As I had been up until nearly midnite, it was difficult to make the drive and stay awake. After 16 years of marriage to the 'he-man", I rarely, if ever drive, so coming into traffic in Boise was a nerve wracking experience.

The tests were inconclusive, no explanation was discovered for his pain, which was still tremendous. He’d spent the day on morphine and now, at 9 pm, he was discharged and I drove us to fill the prescriptions, grab a bucket of chicken and find a room. An hour after falling asleep, I woke up with bites all over one leg, took a long, hot shower, and returned to the bed. I was bitten again. I grabbed the laptop to do some investigation and the ONLY motel in Boise accused of having bedbugs, was the one we were staying in. I quickly exited the bed and slept on top of the one Randy was in. He never got bitten. After a second nearly sleepless night, I grabbed the GPS, found a Costco and spent 1 hour grabbing a few supplies before racing back to get him out of bed before checkout time. I loaded up the truck again, and we started the long, 4-hour trip back home, arriving before dark.

I was told that everyone forgot to feed the baby goats in the morning, so someone had given them each a bottle and a half that afternoon. I asked if the milk-cows and others had been fed, and was told “I don’t know”. Everything seemed pretty hungry, so I went about feeding them a bit more than normal that evening and fell into bed.

I grudgingly got up early the following morning, still tired, to feed again. I had to clean the house, as the boss had asked if I could feed a mechanic that would be coming to the ranch. I got a meal into the crockpot, knowing there was NO way I could find time to make a conventional meal with all the animals I had to feed. After making a doctors appt. for Randy, due to his already running low on painkillers, I washed EVERYTHING that had gone with us in very hot water and into a very hot dryer, hoping if any bugs had hitched a ride with us, it would be their demise. Our nephew, one of the cowboys, was going to come to dinner also. By 8:00 that night, I realized no one was going to show up. Apparently the mechanic had busted a tooth somewhere, and our nephew, with his brutal schedule, had just plumb forgot.

Desperately tired, I woke up extra early in order to get all the animals fed before driving Randy in to the doctor in Burns, 2 hours away. As I started pitching hay to the milk cows, I noticed that Emma Lou was badly bloated. IN a panic, I ran to the barn to catch the cowboys and enlist their help. I explained she was bloated and I needed help to tube her down. Our nephew headed to the barn to grab a tube, me following. As I was explaining that I did NOT know how to do this, and he assured me the other cowboy did, that self same cowboy, who had been swearing at his dog, rocketed up the driveway with the horses in the trailer, leaving me standing in the dust. Our nephew, with an apologetic look on his face, went jogging up the hill after him. It was the last I saw of them.

Realizing Emma’s life depended solely on me, and I had almost NO time to treat her, I chased her around the pasture to get a halter on her. I drug her through several incredibly heavy gates to lock her head in the old stanchion and attempt to pass a tube down her throat, to no avail. Frustrated, angry, betrayed, and in tears now, I headed to the house and quickly mixed a bottle of bloat medicine into a calf tube bottle. After struggling for 20 minutes as she slung me around with her head, I managed to spill about a half pint into her mouth.

I took the truck up behind the big old barn and hooked up the big gooseneck horsetrailer, praying the whole time that I could get it done. Not being able to see the ball in the truck it was normal for me to spend a half hour or more trying to get it lined up. I nailed it the very first time, after lugging out a heavy spare tire. I painfully rolled the trailer down onto the ball in the bed of the truck, climbed into the back to lock the hitch and laid underneath the trailer to get the incredibly heavy jack-stand back up inside, as the spring had broken years earlier. I drove down to the house to get Randy and the dogs, and load EmmaLouMay Cow. I was taking her to the vet in town. When I went to load her, I could see she was noticeably better. The bloat med must have helped. I loaded her up, got Randy, Cider and Scottie-dog in the truck, drove up to the workshop to put more air in the tires, and grab a bale of shavings for Emma Lou to stand in, so the floor didn’t get slippery.

After spending the day in town between the hospital, the vet, and the ranch store, I had Randy call on his cellphone and leave a message for someone at the ranch to feed cows for me. The meds I had given Emma had taken her out of  critical condition and the vet was kind enough to give me lessons on how to pass a stomach tube by myself. I bought a big speculum to use and a more appropriate tube, loaded her up and headed back to the human hospital for more tests on Randy, leaving Emma in the trailer, unhooked, in front of the vet hospital. We received several questioning looks as I piled my purse, and my crochet needles and yarn, sodas, and miscellaneous other stuff I thought we might need, on his lap while I pushed him around in a wheelchair.

After everything was done in town, we went back to the vet clinic so I could hook up the trailer. Randyman had been driving all day, as he felt it was more comfortable for him. He sat in the drivers seat, while I hooked up the trailer, and got underneath it again to raise the heavy jack, as people drove past gawking and his reputation was quickly ruined.

We finally arrived back home two hours after dark…no one had received the message to feed for me.

I put Emma back in the pasture and spent the next 2 hours feeding animals in the dark, at 24 degrees. Prissy, the goat, had decided to stop feeding her buckling, so I got to add him to the list of bottle babies and now milking  twice a day is mandatory.

Tomorrow, I have to figure out how to move two 800-lb bales of hay, along with all the normal stuff.

Someday, I am sleeping in!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, you poor thing! God bless you & keep you. You are an inspiration to me.