(Tabitha has decided to sit in the egg collection basket)
My first morning without Henry was not a decadent sleep-until-you-wake-up-kind-of-morning; rather it was a get-up-eaven-earlier-than-usual-morning-to-get-Alexis-to-the-airport-kind-of-morning. I thought I would get back to the house and dive right into cleaning up. I was wrong. I looked around at remnants from packing Henry up, boxes and bags of clothes my dad left behind during his annual visit.
(me - chin up -to hide any wrinkles and thinking as instructed by my sister of Oprah's Money -with the original Grumpy Grandpa - not looking so grumpy but a bit straggly as he's about to go back to Paris and of course the kinda-sorta prodigal son, Henry)
I felt overwhelmed. The house was cluttered with tools from who knows what Alexis or Tom had been up to. I found a hand saw by the cider press, three boards about five feet long leaning up against a wall, the shopvac, Tom’s red cooler a industrial coffee maker my sister had left and my glass container thing I use for parties when I serve sangria or something, piles of unopened mail and sundry other stuff. I did nothing but pour myself a cup of coffee answer some emails and watch four episodes of “Pretty Little Liars”.
The next day proved to be a bit more productive, I started thinking more about the possibilities before me. I watched an infomercial for Zumba and before you know it, I’d ordered the special introductory collection with the snazzy weights that sound like maracas. Rationalizing the money I’m saving on gas I needed to do something for myself – to feel better.
(Zumba Fitness collection)
Inspired, to get going, I hopped on the treadmill. After about 2 miles I saw a commercial for the Susan G. Komen 3 day (60 mile) walk for the cure. I started thinking. I could do that. I have no reason not to do it. Last year, my old roommate, Shannon, did the walk in honor of my mother. And strangely, Shannon and I had Cancer scares and both had to have biopsies this year. I dialed Shannon’s number.
A few minutes later she was trying to talk me into doing the walk in Tampa instead of Seattle. “It’s in October near Halloween it'll be warm and you’re not going to really be very busy this Halloween,” she reminded me. The realization stung. It is true it doesn’t seem as if Henry will be returning in the fall. I do have to keep busy. It was crazy. Florida? But the idea of doing the walk with Shannon sounded so fun and reckless. And let's face it, Florida is flat as a pancake.
“I don’t know Little Mary Shannon, I’ll really think about it. Really.”
“If you do it, it’ll be so fun and I’ll be your very first sponsor,” she said as she laughed, little hisses seeping through the phone. “I’ll do a dollar a mile.” She promised as we hung up.
Wednesday found me antsy. I still had absolutely no desire to clean the house. Mike left in the morning and didn’t come home until almost 11:00PM. It was so quiet, well except the snoring of a basset hound by the fire. I puttered around feeling like I needed an adventure. Then I remembered the Alaska Air’s In-flight magazine. I’d seen an article about going on a truck and feeding the wild elk somewhere near Yakima, Washington. I went online tracked down the website, called the docent to we could get on the truck. It seems there was plenty of room, so I booked reservations Mike and me.
Pleased with myself, I went outside to put the animals in the barn for the night, but it wasn't dark yet and Irish was full of vinegar, we took a walk to the pond. I skipped rocks while he waded through the stream seeing if he could scare up any fish. On our way back, I let Sir Edward and Miracle in so they could come up to the barn. Edward walked through the gate and dramatically lay down right in front of the barn doors, smack in the middle of the ducks, pigs, turkeys and chickens who were all milling about waiting to be put in for the night. For a moment, I thought he was just tired but when he put his head down in the mud, and Miracle stomped up to stand guard. I didn’t wonder or ponder or question, I marched in and called Kulshan Vet. I have them on speed dial. They put me through to the on-call doctor.
“Hello Denise! It’s Paul, what seems to be the problem?”
“Well, it’s Sir Edward.”
“Have I seen him?”
“No but he was seen by another doctor so he has a file. He’s 20 or so. He just came in and lay down. He’s moaning and right now he’s trying to roll. I got him up a few minutes ago and he doesn’t feel tight in his stomach, but he clearly feels terrible.”
“I’m just gonna throw a few things in my truck. I’ll be right out. Get him up and don’t let him go down again.”
“Ok, see you soon.” Paul was the doctor that put one of my goats, Riley, to sleep a few months ago. Riley’s bladder had inexplicably burst into his abdomen. It seems this isn’t uncommon, but it had taken me by complete surprise. I’d thought I was just taking Riley in for a tummy ache, and instead I left with his body in my car.
I’d had to hoist him out of the car and into the tractor bucket before picking Henry up from school. I mean really, what was I going to say? “Um, sure we can give Gunner a ride home, just mind the dead goat carcass as you get in.”
(Sir Edward - not on top of his game)
Nervously,I wondered what the likelihood was of losing Edward tonight. I couldn’t find his bridle. I looked everywhere and finally broke down and called Alexis on vacation. He thought it was down by the pasture barn, but I couldn’t find it so I made a makeshift one with an old blue lead rope and we started walking. Figuring this could be the beginning of my training for the three-day walk. You’re supposed to build-up. We walked circles around the house, while I sang you’re going to feel better horse songs for him. As we walked I scolded myself for not cleaning the house, what if the doctor needed to use the restroom? It was so dark we eventually stayed closer to the garage and barn. I didn’t want him collapsing in somewhere in the pitch black. I called my sister and discussed Edward’s condition. “He doesn’t want to walk any more. It’s really getting hard to keep him going.”
“You have to. You just have to.” She stated in her authoritative doctor voice.
“I will.” I said obediently as we rounded the blueberry patch. I could see Miracle just at the edge of the shadows. She was standing there on the periphery watching our every move. She was worried.
(Dr. Paul Schwab)
Dr. Paul Schwab had been to my house before way back when Pancho and Lefty still roamed about but of course, in the dark Mosquito Lake Road can be a long lonely road. “I didn’t think I was ever going to get here. Can we put Edward in the barn to examine him?”
Edward had his temperature taken, a rectal examine, and fecal specimen taken to the lab. The doctor was surprised at how profound Edward’s heart murmur was, but figured he’s under a lot of stress feeling so ill. “He’s awfully stoic so it’s hard to tell how he’s really doing.” Next he had a large rubber hose put up his nose and into his stomach. I held the hose firm to his nostril while the doctor put what looked like a bicycle pump into a bucket full of warm water, Epsom salts, electrolytes and mineral oil into his upset tummy.
“Minus the electrolytes it sounds like something my grandmother, Irene, might have given me.”
“Exactly. Collick is basically a generic term for stomach pain. It could be from something he ate and he’ll respond to medical treatment or it could be something far more serious and require surgery.”
“I’ve been thinking about that and well, I really don’t think I would do surgery on him. He’s older and it’s really expensive.”
“If surgery was the only option I would be talking you out of it. I don’t think he’s a good candidate. He’s an older horse, has a profound heart murmur and we’re talking almost 15 thousand dollars for a “maybe”. I wouldn’t let you do surgery. Right now, we have to go hour by hour. He’s going to be ok right now because of the pain medication and the sedative. You’ll have to watch him through the night. If he’s not doing well around midnight call me and I’ll come out again.”
“If he’s not doing well then, does that mean you’ll put him down?” I asked calmly. “I just want to be prepared.”
“I understand, Riley caught us both off guard. No, if he’s not doing well, I’ll assess him and see if he needs more treatment then. If he’s in agony, then we’ll cross that bridge then.”
I began wondering how I was going to dig a hole big enough for a horse with the tractor. Was the ground to frozen? “Ok. Hopefully, I won’t call. Do you eat eggs? I have a few dozen I collected.”
Paul smiled as he rolled down his window, “I never turn down eggs.”
“Great! I’ll meet you by the gate,” I said as I dashed in and grabbed a carton.
(My farm pack collection featuring lovely sage, caramel and buff colored eggs)
I checked on Edward every few hours. Called Tom and told him to prepare Henry just in case. Mike got home around 11:00PM and we stayed up watching NCIS and checking on Edward every little while through the night. I walked outside in the foggy moonlit night wrapped in Tom’s olive green coat over my pink fuzzy robe and slippers. Edward was standing up tail swishing and nibbling hay at 1:30AM – Miracle by his side. I tumbled into bed, happy.
(Edward feeling much better the next morning)