Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Very Tough Week

When I started this blog, I promised to myself that I would be try to be as open and honest as I could, and not fall into the all-to-tempting blogger habit of writing like crazy when things were going well, and clamming up when they weren't. Well, this has been a week to test that promise. 

On Sunday I was already stressed about the week ahead, anxious at being able to handle the work load I'd set out for myself (extra barn chores plus house sitting for a friend plus my courier job plus coaching plus riding plus agreeing to ride a friend's horses plus trying to plan for a whirlwind trip to California that I'm supposed to be leaving for on Friday), especially in the miserably cold weather we were supposed to get this week.

In retrospect, all those worries seem so petty, because on Sunday night my dad came up to my room with the worst news: Dually was very sick.

Since then, we've been on a pretty intense diagnostic roller coaster, with Dually swinging from bright and perky and the vets and us hoping that everything was cleared up and on the way out to him being very listless, feverish, and painful, and us not knowing what to do. For around 48 hours Dually cycled between pain and relative normalcy, and none of the diagnostic tests the vets performed turned up anything major (rectal, tubing, scoping, first round of bloodwork). The theories of what was going on were as wide ranging as colic to a virus to possible ingestion of a toxic plant. The one symptom that the vets coming back to was his fever, which, while inconsistent, had spiked to as high as 102 on Monday night.

It wasn't until yesterday that we were able to actually get some purchase in the diagnostic department, but unfortunately not in the direction we were hoping for. Our vet decided to do a belly tap, a procedure where they make a small incision into the abdomen to collect some of the interstitial fluid that surrounds the intestines. Normally, there is not a lot of this fluid, and it is usually light yellow in color and low in protein and white blood cells.

When our vet performed the belly tap on Dually, a large quantity of bloody, dark-red fluid came out. Not good. They sent the sample away for testing and the results confirmed the visual suspicions: Dually's sample had nearly 10 times the normal limits of white blood cells (464,000 verse a normal max of 5,000) and over three times the normal limit of protein (6.4 verse 2). Additionally, they had taken another blood sample at the same time and it had come back with significantly worse numbers than the sample that had been taken only 12 hours previously.

As a result, we rushed Dually to Tufts last night, where he's currently being treated with a series of broad spectrum antibiotics for what is believed to be an acute infection inside his intestine somewhere. He will be examined by specialists today to try to determine exactly what's going on. My impression at the hospital last night seemed that they were guardedly positive, but at this point it is clearly very serious.

I am, to put it succinctly, a wreck. The fact that last night was the first night since Saturday that I slept for more than 2 hours continuously, after 48 hours of round the clock check ups for the Dude, is not helping, but I'm feeling super frayed and scared. I literally cannot quantify how much this horse means to me, or how much I owe him. He is my favorite face in the whole world, my beloved companion and friend. I know my dad feels the same way, as Dually's other main rider over the past 10 years. We've both been pretty subdued this week.

(One of my favorite pictures of all time: me, Pa, and Dually after coming off steeplechase at the Galway long format CCI* - the best feeling in the world)

I've had a lot of time over the past few days on our many hand walks to reflect on the many wonderful places Dually has taken me over the years. There are the obvious things like down the jog strip at my first FEI competition; through the finish flags of my first, Training, Prelim, AND Intermediate; and to the front of a few victory gallops. But there are also the small moments, that I cherish so much more deeply: galloping up McKinlaigh's hill in a pea soup fog, just the two of us alone in the entire world; sitting out together in his sunny field in South Carolina and getting to listen to the wonderful sound of him eating; watching innumerable sunrises and sunsets together; and just enjoying the thrill of a good ride and the happiness of a good gallop.

(Galloping to the last fence at our first Intermediate - this was also the very first header of this blog, nearly five years ago!)

So keep Dually in your thoughts. I'll keep updates coming as we learn them.

(The very best horse a girl could ever ask for)

28 comments:

Me said...

Prayers and thoughts for a speedy recovery to your very dear friend. Hugs to you as well.

Carly said...

I'll be keeping you and Dually in my thoughts. Hopefully some good news come your way soon!

Jennifer said...

Keeping you, your Pa and Dually in my prayers. It's obvious just how special of a horse he is. Hoping for some good news soon.

jenj said...

Aw man, having just gone through this myself, I know just how heart-wrenching it is. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Dually, and your family.

Perhaps this will give you some hope - Cash has a belly tap once that came back much the same as Dually's. Prognosis was grim, but 24 hours later he was on the road to recovery. If you can, just go and BE with him. Keep your hands on him, touch him, pet him, read to him, whatever. I think they take strength from having their human herd members right there with them.

Many hugs.

L.Williams said...

My thoughts are with you, your family and Dually.

Kate said...

I am very sorry to hear he's sick. I can only imagine how you are feeling.

Niamh said...

Oh Kate. So sorry to hear about Dually. Keeping you in my thoughts! I was reading Equus yesterday at lunch and there was an article about Red Maple poisoning and it's odd way of revealing itself through symptoms (many of the same as Dually's). I'm sure you've already entertained every possible cause, but I thought I'd throw that out there as I just read about it. Fingers and toes crossed for a speedy recovery. Hugs to you and your family.

Alana said...

Oh I am so sorry to hear this. Praying for a speedy recovery for Dually.

eventer79 said...

All our best to your special guy. Sending Solo magic your way!!

K.K. said...

Sending my thoughts your way!

Julie said...

Jingles for Dually. Thinking of you.

Megs said...

Hugs to the both of you! Sending healing vibes from up north.

STB Eventer said...

Hugs to you, your Pa, and Dually. Stay strong and know I am thinking of you!!! <3

AmberRose- Girl With a Dream said...

Hugs to you, my thoughts are with you, and I will keep my prayers going for you, your boy and your Pa. I really hope that you are going to get some good news soon!

Gingham said...

Man, this is the third intestinal infection I've heard of this week. Both the other horses I know are making slow, but steady progress. I'll keep my fingers crossed that things come in threes and Dually will join their recovery. Huge Hugs.

Tori said...

Big hus to you, your Pa, and Dually. Positive vibes are heading your way.

He has given you both so much, and you have given so much to him as well. Hang in there.

Mikaela Coston said...

Oh, this breaks my heart! I love Dually and know how special he is to you!! Zammy and I are sending healthy and positive vibes towards are favorite duo! Stay positive and lots of hugs and carrots from Oklahoma.

Checkmark115 said...

I think I would be less composed than you and would kill myself worrying :/

I hope he starts feeling better soon and I shall keep you guys in my thoughts.

Also, just a side note, I LOVE his face. Do you care if I draw him?

Andrea said...

Hugs and love to the Dude :(

Frizzle said...

Major jingles for your boy! He really seems like he's all heart--what a special guy.

Dom said...

This is so very scary and sad. Keeping you and Dually in my thoughts. Hoping the antibiotics take full effect, and quickly, and that he's home munching hay in no time. *hugs*

Lisa said...

Hugs and prayers. :(

Suzie said...

Call me! 805-630-1312

Kate said...

:( So sorry to hear this; healing vibes and positive thoughts from the great white north!

Marisa said...

Sending thoughts and prayers for Dually and hugs for you hon.

LT said...

Please do keep us updated. Many people are thinking of you and your family and sending positive thoughts your way. Part of horse ownership is being there for your friend when he needs you most. You are doing just that.

T Myers said...

Just stopping by to see how things are going? Hope everything is looking up... Hugs

Karley said...

Hugs!!! Praying for you, your family and the Dude! Keep us posted and we are all here for you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...