Monday, January 7, 2013
Learning to accept the things I cannot change
Last week I was going through some magazines, sorting them for review, recycle keep. My reading appetite is legendary in my family. Taught to read before age 3 by my mother I have been a voracious reader my entire life. Our home library pays homage to this past time! My tastes and interests are ecclectic, ranging from biographies, to historical novels to chick lit (yes, it's true, but who doesn't love a guilty pleasure from time to time!) and everything in beteween. I also am a very fast reader enabling me to read a 300-400 page book on a 2 1/2 hour flight. The more intense ones take a bit longer, admittedly. With magazines I read every article and those include horse magazines, art, ballet, business, WSJ, Vogue, Elle, Town and Country, Traditional Home, Elle Decor, Food and Wine, Entrepreneur, etc. As the magazines stack up I go back through and pull articles to refer to, clothing I like, recipes, etc. then send the magazines for recycling.
So as I was going through a pile I stumbled upon an extra copy of Equus magazine, August 2010. That issue contained an article about Suki and the fire. As I sat on the floor reading it, every single emotion that I had experienced came flooding back all at once. The graphic photos made me wince, and I could understand why some people would have thought that she was in a lot of pain. I just sat there and cried. Reading again, what veterinarians' impressions were, along with treatment goals and potential complications made me shake my ahead in amazement....how was it even possible for Suki to overcome such odds! The dedication of the doctors and nurses kept Suki comfortable guiding her to recovery. I have always said that Suki's own amazing fortitude also kept her fighting to win the battle to survival. Others have maintained that my love for Suki evidenced by the time I spent with her during her 7 weeks in ICU also showed her the way. A comment made by Dr. Kelly Kalf helped me to understand Suki's determination: "Day 2 Suki lifted her head, and we never looked back". Suki ate, drank and demanded treats and attention the same way she had before the fire. We were always prepared for major setbacks and complications, which thankfully never came. Some of the photos in the article were incredibly difficult to look at and I remember receiving some comments about how selfish and cruel I was for putting my horse through such an ordeal. I had been prepared to make the decision for Suki to be euthanized if at any time she was thought to be in extreme pain or she would live a life that was not full and enjoyable. That was a decision I never had to make.
Here is the article:
I cannot change people's opinions and the vast majority believe that I did the right thing by sparing Suki's life and allowing her to recover. I wish sometimes that I could go back and change the events as they occurred. Acknowledged the warning signs at a boarding barn that seemed destined to fail. Or IF ONLY I had allowed her to be on night turnout....she would never have even been in the barn that night. Those are the biggest things I cannot change no matter how much I wish I was able to. At the time I made the best decisions I could with the available information and for how well I knew my horse.
While it is extremely difficult to look at these photos, and read the article, I do so knowing that I still have my beautiful girl. That she is happy and healthy, and due to the tremendous dedication and help that I received taking care of her I am able to hug her every day and know in my heart that the decision to go forward with treatment was the right one.
Another unchangeable situation: a person's opinion on what is best for all horses without taking personality or equestrian discipline into consideration. Yes, horses do have certain basic needs such as adequate turnout, good hay, shelter and quality grain, etc that must be fulfilled for their health, safety and well-being. But they also need regular grooming and attention. Allowing a horse's legs to remain muddy for weeks at a time can lead to problems. Now, I realize that sometimes there are circumstances where this is unavoidable, but I have a tough time dealing with management that makes comments such as "it's just a horse, a little mud isn't going to kill them". Very true, but when left unattended for extended periods there are health, soundness and well-being issues that can evolve. I also think that the way we turn out horses and bring them in can lead to many bad habits, some of them even dangerous. Allowing horses to run into the barn and into their stalls can lead to injury. I believe each should be led with a halter and lead rope, not just a rope around their neck, unless you are in an emergency situation or the horse is unable to wear a halter for whatever reason. Just saying....
Anyway, the girls are fine although Nikki has apparently been a bit wild when being brought in. No comment. I brought her in yesterday and she was fine. Personally, I don't think she gets along that well with her new pasture mate who was rearing and striking when I went to get Nikki one time. She has now started to spin and kick at him, something she had not ever done before....
Suki had a few scrapes on her left hind sock that while superficial, are fairly large. They seem to be healing well and I have been wrapping her legs at night over antibiotic ointment covered by gauze. For the past few days I have been able to go over in the morning to remove the bandages, but now that I have returned to work that will be more difficult.
Tonight the scrapes were much improved so after I cleaned the area I applied a nice thick ointment that serves as a bandage. Blanket changes with the slightly warmer weather, of course..... Both girls were in a happy mood,erasing any tension that I felt before I walked into the barn. The healing power of horses.....