Sunday, July 25, 2010

The big picture

Today, my horse dislodged a quarter of her lip from where it should be. It hung from her mouth like a sock -- not a tube sock, more like a tiny baby’s sock. And there would be blood.

I asked a neighboring horsewoman to come over and take a look and tell me it’s not really that bad. “Oh, that’s really bad” she said.

Things can go wrong in a moment, can’t they? Like when you wake up and realize you're out of coffee. That's all it takes to forget the grand scheme of things.

The emergency vet, who ended up the hour with blood stains on her knees because she had to kneel to put in the fifteen stitches while I held Vandy’s head, said mouth wounds are tricky and this was one of the nastiest she had seen. Perhaps this would require further visits.

Perhaps this wouldn’t cost a new refrigerator; it would cost maybe two refrigerators, an Apple computer, rewiring for my office, and a brake job.

At the end of the day, and I can say that because it really was the end of the day, when I walked down the street with my old dog, a neighbor riding by on his bike said, "Have you seen the moon tonight? It's awesome.”

I just nodded; I was busy counting refrigerators.


  1. I'm glad it's free to look at the moon... So sorry to hear about Vandy, and I hope she mends quickly {and cost-effectively}.

  2. Sorry about, Vandy. This piece is another gem. For some reason the photos made me want sing

  3. Poor Vandy, how could it have happened? And poor you - animal vets, especially the emergency kind, can really drain that little jam jar storing loose change for the house. But an old warm horse is always better than a new cold fridge, and at least you're self-sufficient for food (if you're a vegetarian).

  4. Sometimes it's hard to forget the little pictures.


  5. sometimes a good moon shot is all you need

  6. My hand went to my mouth as I read this, as in "Oh my god!" And it stayed there, as in "Poor Vandy!" I don't know whom to feel sorrier for--you, because you have the human problem of worries, or her, because she has no knowledge but the pain. You put a glib face on this one, but I'll bet you hugged and kissed her and felt pretty bad for your old girl.

    Your story brings up an old one for me but it's too long to share it here. It just reminds me how hard it is to comfort a horse when s/he's frightened or hurt, and how I wished sometimes my horse and I could have talked to each other better.

  7. How do you comfort a horse when it is pain? Is it possible?

    I'm glad you saw the moon to remind you of the free view that's sometimes in the big picture.

    My ouches to you and Vandy.

  8. I wonder how that happened? Sending you, Vandy and the bank account restorative hugs.

    vw: better

  9. Shell, yes, once I get this bill, I'll be spending lots of time looking at the moon.

    Earl, did you?

    Bellis, near as the vet can figure, Vandy was romping around and fell right down on her mouth.

    Brenda, Petrea knows. It's a matter of trust. Just as with dogs. So she had her head on my shoulder and I had my arms around her head. She was sedated, of course.

  10. Did you have to spend the night watching her? sorry

    Towards the end of my time with Nia, she started collicking regularly (I could no longer afford to keep her in a stall and go to college so she was in pasture). I'd get these calls and I'd have to drop everything to spend the night walking her. This is when I knew we'd have to part company. After ten years it was one of the hardest things I'd ever have to do

  11. Poor you. Poor Vandy. And your poor old refrigerator, which I just know was hoping to retire. I hope Vandy is doing ok and that you got a good night's sleep after all that.

  12. At least you (appear to) have a strong stomach. I can't bear to watch someone I love to be hurt or be in pain that I can't fix. I know it's a brain thing but I still get green around the gills. Vandy is like family at this point so I feel a little queasy right now. Luckily for her she has you. I hope she makes a speedy recovery and it only costs a second hand refrigerator.

    PS The moon shots are gorgeous, very soothing.

  13. I'm so so sorry about your horse. Reading this post and comments brought tears to my eyes. I don't have experience with horses. I just admire them from afar and marvel at people who form such close bonds with them. I hope she heals quickly and the vet bills don't break the bank.

  14. Thanks Karin, but that link led to a faded jeans ad....? Come again!

  15. How awful. Hope your horse heals quickly.

  16. Oh ouch! I hope she mends quickly and well and you fdon't have to give up the dishwasher too....

  17. That sounds like a horrendous episode. But your narrative makes a great capture of polarities, how far apart on one planet two individuals can be, the rider and you, or two events, experiences, beings, conditions, Vandy and the moon, or wounded, beloved animal vs. money, exhaustion, human trauma.

    What’s more crass than money? What a thing to have to think about at such a time, but there it is, a violation of the moon’s comfort.

    It’s all so basic on the one hand—hard is not soft. Moon is not money. Horse is not wound. Then bam, they all come together in an instant, as you say. So when you’re the one caught between the polarities—is that academic enough?—it’s a new and complex lesson all over again. I do hope Vandy is recovering well. Not much is more wrenching than a hurt animal.

    Nice photos!

  18. Banjo, that's just so eloquent.

  19. I try to look at the moon every night. Sometimes it's just too cloudy, but I'm glad it's there when the clouds clear. Poor Vandy.

  20. I'm just shallow enough to admit this makes last night's $60 parking ticket seem a little more palatable.

    Get well soon, Vandy.

  21. A mare with stitches
    Can be all kinds of bitches.

    Two weeks, huh?


  22. Poor Vandy.

    Is it the upper or lower lip? What I mean is that it is a difference how they work.

    The lips for a horse are important to sort out foreign objects from the fodder.

    I think the upper lip are testing or feeling the fodder, while the lower lip is sorting foreign objects out. So watch out your food quality now.

    On the other hand, lips are soft tissue, what means if there are no major nerve damages it can heel in a short time.

    Ice is probably a good thing eluding the pain for her.

    I wish Vandy a short and nice recovery.

    Btw: How young is Vandy now?

    And what is under the moon in the first pic?


  23. Petrea, thank you, but you've got an eloquent thing going here yourself.

  24. Vandy thanks you all for your kind wishes.

    When I visited today and fed her, by hand, the meds cunningly disguised in alfalfa and molasses, she slurped it down, but pawed the ground at the same time.

    What? What more could you possibly want? That I funnel this up your nose and down your ears? She is going to be a very bad patient.

    WV: Dalslutt. That she is.

  25. I don't blame her, it probably hurts to eat.

    Thanks, Banjo.

  26. No, it doesn't hurt her to eat, not with her meds. She just can't get enough A&M.

  27. Sorry Vandy is hurting. It's hard when an animal is in pain. Hope her recovery is quick for both your sakes.

    Appliances have a very hard time of it don't they. My stove repair went the way of a new set of badly needed tires for the car.

  28. Poor Vandy. Hope she heals well and soon.

  29. Ouch! Poor Vandy! And it's always so hard to keep a horse from accidentally re-harming herself. It's hard to explain to them what they should and shouldn't do! Good thoughts to the both of you. And I agree with one of the other commenters... an old warm horse beats a new cold 'fridge.

    At least until the milk goes bad.

  30. My condolences. One of our school horses somehow split his lip one night and when we arrived in the morning the whole lower part of his head was crusted in blood. What a sight!

    The vet thought he somehow got it caught in a rough spot on his stall door, which is very possible because he was an unrepentant cribber and constantly gnawed on the wood.

    Hope Vandy feels better soon.

  31. WEll my car is crap again, but this puts it in perspecive.
    I hope our Vandy is better soon. I hope you can pay for it. I hope I can pay for my car. SHIT.....excusez mon fran├žais, s'il vous plait.

  32. After vandy's breakfast and dinner, I have to go to the stables and delicately dab and clean her lips with a damp napkin. We make quite a sight, I tell you.

  33. Ouch! That really sucks about all those stiches. It sounds like your horse was very cooperative though!

    nice photos also...