So, here we are, back in my favorite town. The Heathen and I are living with friends who are taking good care of us and pouring God's love out on us. We couldn't be more blessed. It looks like it might be awhile before we have our own quarters so we are enjoying a room in their home, with what stuff I figured we can't live without, spread all around us...at least what isn't in the Blu Roo.
Speaking of which...
Well. Let me start at the beginning.
I informed my doctors in Idaho that we were moving to California. They provided me with an extra month of prescriptions, to give me time to get established with new doctors where we would be living. When I went to fill my pain prescription (which is the most important as I am completely unable to function without pain relief) I was informed that California won't honor the prescription from out of state. I had one days worth of pain control left. My pharmacy in Oregon was kind enough to make several calls, and the closest place I could get my prescription filled, was 7 hours away in Reno, Nevada. So I had Roo's oil changed as I knew the trip was going to put us beyond the mileage it had to be done and I didn't want to void his warranty. I had that done, hosed him off, filled him with fuel and we were off early the next morning. We didn't make it in time for the Reno pharmacy to contact the prescribing physician so we were promised they would fill it "first thing in the morning".
TheMan met us at my brother's in Reno (a 5 hour drive for him). Heath was shocked and totally unable to contain himself upon seeing him when the door opened. He was so excited and had absolutely not expected such a fantastic surprise. We went out and had dinner and he went with us to the pharmacy the next morning. Thank goodness. It took phone call after phone call to every conceivable person and place to get it done, and finally, I got my 1/2 my meds at 12:30. I guess "first thing in the morning' means something different than what I always thought it meant. The other half of the meds, I just gave up on. I was pretty much a wreck and unable to make the 7 hour drive home so I went back to my brother's for another night. I was in a considerable amount of pain as I cannot lay down and had already spent one night sitting up on a hard couch trying to sleep. I finally discovered a small chair he had that did recline a bit, so night #2 wasn't considered comfy, but was a huge improvement.
We left early in the morning, expecting to make it home by 3 in the afternoon. After several hours we were a few miles N of Bishop on 395. I looked in the mirror and saw what looked like smoke. I checked my dash, but no lights were on so I figured maybe it was exhaust or something. A couple of miles later, the oil light came on. I panicked, thankfully we had just reached a turnoff to a rest stop so I took it.
There was a van full of guys that looked to just be getting ready to leave. Roo had started sounding really bad the last few yards before I stopped and turned him off. I asked if any of the guys knew anything about cars and dialed TheMan. I didn't realize I was shaking, until they pointed it out and Heath was alerting me like crazy and was pretty much beside himself as well, as he's never seen me like that. I don't think that I have ever seen me like that. The guys came over, opened the hood, looked at the engine, noticed an oil trail all the way down the drive and oil puddling under the car, running out past the tire. They were very kind and considerate and made every effort to assure us and help us to feel more secure.
They were kind enough to help me find my insurance papers, my registration, and all my other stuff I might need. They spoke to TheMan for me as I was too shook up, one guy, an off duty CHP took pictures of the oil and the engine for me and sent them to my phone in case I needed them. He told me step by step what I needed to do next. They have no idea how much their kindness meant to me. I could not possibly express it in words, so an old lady hug had to suffice.
The dealership finally sent a tow truck. We waited for almost 5 hours, out in the middle of nowhere, to be taken back several hours almost where we started, to a dealership in Carson City.
It was nearly dark by the time we got there and I got a rental to drive home until things were resolved.
I went to the first motel I could find, as I can't see to drive in the dark and I was both physically and emotionally exhausted. The lady at the desk refused to rent us a room because of my Service Dog.
I calmly expressed my understanding that "faux Service Dogs" are a problem, but assured her my dog was legitimate. She asked for papers. I explained that there are no papers and if someone has them, it's a red flag because they are purchased online. She seemed as if she already knew that.
Anyway, to make a long story short, she was rude and condescending, refused us a room on the grounds that her "clientele" expects a pet free environment, some "future client might be allergic to dogs", and I should just "go down the road and find someplace that allows pets". I was already frazzled and exhausted so I told her I would go, but would be filing a complaint and she said "go ahead".
I never experienced discrimination before, but now I know how that feels, and I can tell you, it's devastating. I've since filed a complaint and asked a couple of agencies in the city to make an effort to inform businesses of ADA laws.
Ugh! Rant over. It still makes me upset.
Anyway, moving forward, Roo is currently going under the wrench and having major surgery to see what is wrong with his engine. I am praying for a rapid and complete recovery, then I have to make the stupid 7 hour trip BACK to pick him up and return the rental car. I'm not wanting to do it. But I don't see much of a choice. Maybe some kind person will go with me. At any rate, I'll probably opt to sleep in the car this time, rather than deal with motels.
and now, back to my regular programming...
We are loving being back in our hometown. We've given a couple of riding lessons, seen grandkids and are somehow so busy every day, I haven't yet had time to visit anyone. There's no more isolation or being stuck inside of an empty house. I'm excited and hopeful and can't wait to see what God has waiting for us around the corner.
|riding with friends|
Right before the fated trip to Reno, Heath and I went to the PNW English Shepherd Gathering in Oregon. It was awesome!! Of course, due to the fires in N CA. roads were closed and we had to drive 13 hours to the ranch, then 8 more to our friends' house where we were staying, before making the 45 minute drive to the gathering.
There were LOTS of English Shepherds and their owners. A multitude of dogs is something Heath had never experienced. He wasn't sure what to do with it, but when we participated in some of the activities, he was all about doing it. The setting was incredible, the views breathtaking.
Our first was a "barnyard chores" contest. He had to wait while I opened and closed a gate. Then we walked in and he had to wait while I went and got a bucket of feed, walked over and dumped it out, then returned the bucket to where I'd gotten it. Then we went to a pen of ducks and he was to act as my "gate" while I let them out of one pen into another, then move and be a "gate" again while I moved them back. All of these things he did flawlessly. Then we came to the next obstacle, which cost all our points because of me.
There were several straw bales stacked up with plastic eggs hidden in different places. there were treats hidden inside the eggs so the dogs could locate them. He found the eggs, which were large and slippery. I asked him to put them in my basket as I couldn't reach down to pick them up like the other hoomans. He got the first egg in, but the second was really slippery and he had to grab it harder. It popped open and he discovered it had a "creamy center". With great enthusiasm he located the other eggs in record time and I had to get someone to help me put them in the basket before he helped himself to any more of the contents. We all had a good laugh.
He did an excellent job herding ducks in the next challenge, only missing one.
Then he surprised me by doing a great job in his very first agility course ever.
All in all, it was a really fun, exhausting day.
The next morning we drove 1 1/2 hours into Washington to an incredibly beautiful herding facility to do some sheep herding.
Heath has no training, but he loves to herd. He was torn between staying beside me or working sheep. I couldn't help him as I am not fast enough to keep from getting run over by the sheep. He went in with his grandmother's owner who is a fantastic herding trainer, judge, breeder and competitor. He was too concerned about leaving me to work. Then my friend, his breeder, who knows him well, went in with him. He looked to me, I gave him the release and he began to work for her. He had a great time and I was tickled because we bo both had been getting kind of stressed, what with all the moving around and driving places we've been doing. In spite of the fact it was it's a really stressful drive for me, the weekend was all about Heath and he made the most of it. We both had a really good time with really good friends.
Then we drove the 8 hours back to the ranch then 13 hours "home" to recuperate. So one can see why driving 7 hr up to Reno for my pain meds was not something I was excited about.
It's been awhile, but now we are in Bakersfield for a few months. I've been training one of the partners and her mare and our first show is this weekend. It's been a lot of fun, staying down here with them and 4 of their little girls. Heath has been taking herding lessons from his new bestie, and the Maremmas, sheep and my old horses will be joining us in a week, so we are looking forward to some great adventures!!!
|Heath prepares for Halloween|
|Her man showcases this years horseshow hubby line of clothing|
It’s been some time since I posted and the reason for that is initially, I was waiting for things to fall into place so I had a place to live and a space for everything. Living out of a travel trailer for months wasn’t conducive to any kind of blogging and all my time was accounted for.
The second reason I haven’t posted is that I don’t like to write when I am in a truly bad emotional space, and that’s where I have been since the beginning of January. Some healing has gone on now, and I feel like I can safely share my thoughts and experiences without being overtly negative.
Moving to California was such a good thing for me. Prior to the move, I spent much time in a wheelchair, was unable to cook or keep house, walk far or stand up for any length of time. Life was tough, and the future was bleak and dark for me. I knew that I had to benefit down there, being close enough to acquire services that I desperately needed for my condition, such as massage, physical therapy, and just seeing people as opposed to being isolated all day every day. I had no idea how much better I would get.
I stayed with a wonderful couple for the first 6 weeks or so. They were partners in the business I was going to work for. I originally assumed I would only be able to do paperwork, answer phones and visually keep an eye on things. I had a wonderful time staying with this couple who became very dear to me and treated me like family. Slowly I was able to do more and the first time I went to the store without having to use the electric cart was a huge milestone for me. I slowly became stronger and more optimistic. A sweet neighbor of theirs invited me to go down to the equestrian center to ride her horse. I was only able to mount with great difficulty, and walk around the round pen at first, but it felt amazing. After a few ride I was able to do short stints of trotting, but was very aware of both my weakness and lack of balance. Nevertheless, being back in my hometown, being able to socialize, and knowing I could visit my family who were closely did me worlds of good, along with the wonderful healthy cooking and care given to me by my host.
One afternoon we went to their daughter’s home down the mountain and an hour away. She and her husband were the other partners. She asked if I could give her a lesson on her new horse as she was having some issues. We figured I could manage that if I had a place to simply sit. I was able to see a number of corrections that needed to be made in the horse’s movement and carriage, as well as a few positional and executional mistakes she was making. I walked back and forth for an hour, sitting in between while she rode. It was the best feeling to be doing what I am good at again. It’s impossible to describe or explain how lost I have been and how validating and energizing it was.
I was anxious for the Equestrian Center they were building to get funded and built so I could get my own horses down. We all kept thinking it would be anyway. All the plans were made, right down to the placement, grading, logo, etc. She had done her homework, checking out the demographics and need for the business, spent a year getting all the bids done, choosing the barns and corrals, getting the legal work done, registering the name, had the marketing campaign ready to go, plans for everything from landscaping, to activities. It was going to be a first class operation, we were all excited about it going forward and even had many people in the community ready to commit to bringing their horses in.
I moved into a travel trailer at their place, figuring it would only be a couple of weeks and I’d be heading back up the mountain and moving in. The funding was delayed. I continued working with her and her horse daily, pushing myself to exhaustion, but growing stronger because of it. I slowly started cleaning her paddocks. First one, then all three. She invited me to bring my horses down. I asked if the sheep and dogs could come as well and she agreed. By the end of November, both my horses, my dogs and sheep were all down in California. I was losing weight, gaining strength and getting caught up on what had changed in the horse business since I had “retired” 15 years earlier. As she offered to supply feed for the horses, I was able to purchase badly needed equipment that I had to replace, so I could give riding instruction at the new center when we opened. With plans for an indoor arena, I would be able to teach year round so it was worth the investment, plus we were hoping to pay off our credit card debt and medical bills with my income. That would allow us to pay off my car and replace our truck which is now almost 20 years old. I also had to live off the credit card to feed myself, which was more expensive than I am used to, as I couldn’t just throw anything together in a small kitchen with no counter space or storage. I lived on polish sausage, jalapeño cheese dogs and smoothies, as they were quick, cheap and could be popped in the microwave. Many nights I didn’t eat at all, as I’d be so worn out in the late afternoon, all I could do was sleep. It was a good feeling, to be physically tired because I was doing something.
I was happier than I’ve been in so many years. It was a difficult way to live, but I knew it was worth it, as in just a matter of weeks, my life would change and God was answering all my prayers and dreams. I was riding again, not quite strong enough to post in my jumping saddle, but I was getting there.Everything I had hoped for was around the corner and we were just waiting for one more detail to get it all into motion.
|my panels and feeders|
|Me and good ol' Mister|
|The lovely new, very large gelding|
|Going to see the lights at C.A.L.M. with all the grands|
|Breakfast with the grands in the travel trailer Heath and I stayed in|
|miniature golf with the grands and my son|
|Heath shocked to find he had the best golf score|
|Roller skating with the grands|
|Teaching the grands to ride with Mister|
|Heath's sleeping spot in the trailer|
|Teaching the grands to ride|
|Christmas cookies with Abs|
|vaulting lessons with grands|
Her mare was exhibiting some behaviors that were problematic and potentially dangerous. It didn’t make any sense, as she was so generous when she was being ridden. She was willing and forgiving of mistakes and struck me as having an exceptionally good temperament. But on the ground she became a nightmare. She would squeal and kick if touched wrong over her flanks, pinned her ears flat while being saddled and literally chased the farrier out of her pen. It didn’t add up. I kept insisting there had to be a physical cause for her behavior and implored the owner to have her checked for possible reproductive problems. What was discovered was surprising. Her blood work came back indicative of possible ulcers. It could have been hormones, although everything seemed fine reproductively. The most sensible and economical way forward was to treat her for ulcers, even though that was still quite expensive. She had been becoming increasingly more difficult to handle and something had to be done.
I was gone over Thanksgiving, having gone to pick up my car which finally had a new engine put in it. It had been over 2 months.
The owner, my friend, had picked up the tubes of medicine, but when trying to administer it to her mare, made the mistake of cross tying her first. The mare pulled back upon having the tube put in her mouth and panicked. She broke her halter and her reaction frightened the owner who lost all confidence and trust in the mare. I assured her I would be down the next day and would dose the mare myself. Meanwhile, we had been looking for a horse that was more suitable to her needs.
We found a lovely big gelding and had him shipped from Michigan. Meanwhile I medicated and worked with the mare and she got better and better. All of her issues were pain related. Her stomach had been so painful she could not cope. Stress was causing acid dumps in her gut, which was irritating the ulcers. She had some foot problems as her feet weren’t being shod correctly so there was much inflammation which showed up on x-rays. A chiropractor worked on her and found that the first two issues had caused many, many others and as she was adjusted, she was literally squealing in pain and lashing out, but much improved afterwards. Once the stuff was solved, they sold her to someone able to maintain her and keep her with a trainer who was aware of her needs.
The big horse was a challenge for my rider, as he was more green than she was used to, and pretty sensitive, but they finally clicked and did well together.
Long story short, things fell apart. Funding was not available to put in the center. Banks won’t loan to Equestrian Operations. There was no longer a job, a place to live, work or any hope for me. I packed up and Randy came back and hauled all of us back home, except my sheep which I was forced to give up.
|Heath wakes me in middle of night with a request|
|feeling like I do|
It’s been pretty rough. I’ve lost most of the strength I had gained. I have only been able to get on a horse once since coming back in January and my balance issues were severe. My legs were so weak I had no security in my seat. It has been a terrible set back. I gained back the ton of weight I had lost. Pain has been a big issue again. Barometric changes here are quite severe and there are no distractions. Depression has been a constant companion that I will probably have to battle daily again, for the rest of my life. I’ve had to reconcile myself to always being alone, as we are too remote to see anyone and everyone on the ranch is far too busy for me and don’t share any of my interests anyway. If I am unable to ride along, there is nothing I can do. We are deeper in debt than before I left, as I never had any income and the credit card got maxed out with living expenses and the equipment I required for teaching, which I was preparing to begin while still in Bakersfield, which I now have no use for. I am being hit with medical bills from CA the insurance decided not to cover. All the miles put on my car used up what was left of my tires so we had to buy a whole new set. I desperately miss my family and friends, riding, training, teaching, being able to get the medical help I need ( physical therapy, massage, etc) going to the gym, being able to get my hair cut, being able to get a pedicure (I cannot reach my feet).I miss having a hope and a purpose. I even miss not having to fix every meal I eat, although the man has been taking a lot of that over again as my condition continues to slide back to what it was before, in spite of my efforts.
The big dogs had both developed fatty tumors a year or so ago. Once we moved back, Heath got sick with a cold and Potamus started having seizures. Bruno is exhibiting joint pain in his back and his feet. I put the Maremmas on CBD and the tumors have disappeared, the seizures seem to have ceased and both dogs are moving better. The vet gave me meds for Heath and he seems to be over his issues. He’s gained weight though. Too much. I will have to cut him back to keep him healthy. As for me…well, I don’t really care much anymore. I’ll focus on the house as much as I can, maintaining house plants now that I have plenty of time for them. Hopefully I will be able to ride Mister at some point, though I won’t hold my breath. I probably won’t be blogging too much in the future because I don’t like doing these kind of dark and depressing posts. I just thought I owed to it everyone to let you know what’s been going on. Thanks for being there for me.