Monday, July 23, 2012

Please tell me it gets easier...

It’s been a few days but the pain is as strong as it was on Friday. I feel numb. I’m on the verge of tears all the time and just break down at random. Little things set me off. I just want to curl up and sleep but hate sleeping because I only dream of him.

Thursday night we had done some barn chores and then I decided that I wanted to ride Pistol. Our ride was fantastic! We are really starting to figure each other out. He’s got such big steps and I know he’s got some power in there because when I ask for a trot he launches himself into it. But when I was cooling him off my husband said that Piney wasn’t eating. So weird. He is always eating. I’d noticed him rolling around in the pasture earlier, but just figured that he’d been rolling because of the bugs. But now that he wasn’t eating, that was setting off alarms. I haltered him up and started walking him around, he layed down. And would not get up. I had my husband call the vet who was on call and had him come out. I tried everything to get him up. nothing was working. Finally we got out my dressage whip and I whipped him a few times and he stood up, I then kept him walking until the vet got there about an hour after we called. The vet came and did what vets do when a horse is colicy. He even stuck around and kept an eye on him for a while. He said that he wasn’t that dehydrated, and that his pulse, breathing and temperature were normal. He even waited around for him to poop. His poop was a little mushier than normal but he was pooping. And peeing. And he was more alert now than he was when the vet got there. He thought that Piney was going to be okay so we turned him back out to the pasture and then called it a night.

When I woke up Friday morning. Piney was down in the pasture again. FML. I ran out there got a halter and lead rope. When I was walking out to him he called out to me. He got right up as I got next to him, but I wanted to walk him. When I started walking him he had diarrhea and he was straining to get that out. I kept walking him and he just went down. I tried everything to get him up, nothing worked. I got hubby up and he called the vet. They said to bring him in. I could only imagine how hard it would be to get him into the trailer. Of all of our horses, Piney was the worst to get in the trailer. But to my surprise after hubby hooked up the trailer, Piney got up and then amazingly walked right up into the trailer. It’s like he knew we wanted to help him. Piney rode calmly in the trailer the whole time. I was a nervous wreck that he was going to try and lay down in the trailer, but I watched him the whole way and he was fine. He basically leaned up against the divider the whole ride. When we got to the vet we hurried to get him out of there, but he didn’t blow out of there like every other time he’d been in the trailer. He stood there with his head in my hands. Leaning against me. He was sicker than I thought.

When we got him into the horse examining area he looked like he was going to go down, so the vet tech rushed us over to the stalls and we put him in one. Instantly he laid down. He was so sweaty from the trailer ride, he freaks out in there and stresses the whole way. Our vet only 14 miles and we drove faster than normal, because we wanted him out of there. They then prepped him to be hooked up to an IV. They needed to get fluids into him asap. They also drained his stomach through his nose. There wasn’t much in there. When they were doing all of this I needed to not be there. I sat in the main reception area and drank water. My head hurt so bad and I was dehydrated from all the crying I’d been doing. People were happily coming and going with their pets. And then there was me. My hubby stayed out and talked to the vet. When he came back and talked to me he looked worried and upset. He told me that it wasn’t looking good. They were doing an ultrasound. When Piney got there he was very shocky, and very, very sick. He was obviously in a lot of pain.
The last picture I have of Piney. It wasn't really him anymore.

As it turns out the vet thought that his colon had flipped and twisted. But she couldn’t be 100% sure until she cut him open and started looking around. The vet we had was one of the top vets in the nation. She had recently just came back up to this area and has had people from all over bringing their horses into see her. But she wasn’t optimistic about surgery. She thought he might have a 50% chance of getting better and even that was optimistic. The quality of life he’d have after the surgery wouldn’t be the same, and he’d more than likely have to be brought in monthly for treatments. Obviously I’m probably skipping parts because when the vet was talking to me all I heard was mumbles. Kind of like Charlie brown’s mom. I just heard the part “you are going to have to make a decision soon.”

His blood work was not good. He was dehydrated. I am forgetting the main part, but a normal horse is 30-40, Piney was at 68. The vet said horses don’t usually make a comeback when their blood levels are there. I wish I knew what exactly it was that they were talking about but my ears were only picking up some words. She also said that his organs were shutting down. His kidneys were the first to start failing and he was peeing blood. They did everything they could to pump him full of liquids, but it just wasn’t working. If we hadn’t rushed him to the hospital, he would have baked in the sun and died an awful death. It was about 100 degrees on Friday. At least in the hospital he was in airconditioning and they did everything they could to keep him comfortable.

Piney was burning through his medicine. They had given him stuff to calm him down and ease the pain but he was just blowing through it. He would get up on his feet, but it didn’t last long and he was down again. Most of the time lying flat out. I made the decision that it was for the best if I let him go. The entire time I was in the horse hospital they had a radio playing. It was on a country music station. And it was obviously “lets play the saddest effing music ever Friday” When we were listening to what the vets plan of attack was when we first got there the song “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” by Patti Loveless was playing. Are you effing kidding me?! I haven’t heard that song in 15 years and it was on the radio at entirely the wrong time.
The vet techs at the vet were amazing. One of them was my neighbor from my old townhouse. I jokingly told her that I planned to burry Piney in the back yard at my townhouse and that I hoped my neighbors wouldn’t mind. She laughed. I also asked her if they could get me his tail and she said that they would of course get it to me. The vet techs also told me that they would take a plaster cast of his hoof print. And send it to me. I told them to make sure they took a cast of his ugly flared out foot that we were in the process of correcting. After that was all sorted away my neighbor pulled us aside and said that she would bring in the tail and cast into my husband’s work and drop it off, just so that she knew it was safe. It really meant a lot to me that she was willing to do that for us.

So after I made the decision, the vet went over the process. She said that I could stay and watch but she didn’t really recommend it because a horse usually doesn’t just go down after the drugs are administered. She said I could come back in after she administered the drugs. Or I could just say my good byes and then leave. I decided that I wanted to say my good byes and then leave.

They gave him some more drugs to just ease his pain enough where I could go into the stall. I crouched down next to him. And apologized for everything and told him how much I loved him. I kissed him and hugged him. And then I left him. His health deteriorated in 12 hours. 12 HOURS! The vet said that I did everything right, and that there sometimes just isn’t anything we can do. I kept blaming myself and everyone told me that it wasn’t my fault. I had two vet techs in tears, I must have put on quite a show because they see that sort of stuff all the time.

When I got outside I almost collapsed. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t breathe. My head hurt, my eyes hurt, my stomach was in knots, my whole body was numb. My husband was a wreck too. My mom, who had driven up from the lakes to be with me, said she would come out to the farm with me and take care of me. She was awesome for coming to be with me. And my husband is amazing for putting up with my sobbing mess of a being that I am lately. We got home and collapsed on the couch. I tried to sleep but it didn’t work. I needed to get away from the farm. I needed to leave so we packed up and went to my mom’s cottage at the lakes. We spent the weekend there and I needed it. I felt better, but the moment we started home I felt sick again. Knowing that I would get home and not see Piney was causing my stomach to knot up again.

When I got home I went to check on the horses. I feel so distant to them. I didn’t want to interact with them. I just kind of checked their water and then went back to the house to do some stuff. Later I went to check on them again and put some stuff back in the barn. I went out into the pasture. Pistol came up to me and then dropped his head into my chest and let me wrap my arms around him. I cried and then cried some more. I let him go and then went and sat down by the lean and just sort of stared off into the pasture. Duke came up and touched my arm with his nose. And then touched my face. He kind of just stood there and hovered near me. I sat there and cried, My husband came out and sat with me the rest of the time I was out there.  He’s been my rock.

I can’t help but to feel guilty about this. I was having fun riding my new horse. and look what happened. Piney got sick and died. I asked both the emergency vet and the vet at the hospital if Piney had gotten sick because he was sad that I was enjoying my new horse. They said that was not possible. Horses wouldn’t get that sick over something like that. I try to tell myself that Piney waited to leave me until he knew I was safe with another horse and that there was another “rescue” that needed me. He taught me as much as he could and it was time for him to go.

I miss him. I miss him so bad that I want to throw up. I didn’t even get to ride him one last time. He had been recovering from his jail break injury. When I was shopping this weekend with my mom we went to an antique store and they had an older racing saddle. I’d always wanted to get one for Piney joking that maybe it would make him go faster. What are the odds that in 4 years of looking for one. I’d see one for next to nothing at an antique store the day after he died? I started crying in the store. I’m sure people thought I was a weirdo. And what really made me cry was I found out on Sunday that the article they wrote about me and Piney was published a week ago. I had been contacted and interviewed about Piney by the track that he retired from. Here is the link. It was beautifully written. I guess it sort of serves as his eulogy.

So that’s about all I can muster up to write right now. I’ve been crying on and off the entire time. I wish I could tell you more of the scientific stuff that the vet told me but like I said my ears wouldn’t listen. I couldn’t grasp on to what she was saying other than the fact that he was sick and it wasn’t promising. Why do I have to go through this again? 4 years ago it was Yellow and now Piney. Why am I being punished like this? I almost feel as if I need to give up horses entirely. I decided that maybe I am going to give horses up and take up freestyle interpretative canoeing. My heart would heart as bad when my canoe sank. I just don’t understand how people can treat their horses like garbage and yet those horses live forever.  Hubby said that if I want to and when I’m ready we can head out west to the second chance ranch where I got Piney and we can get me another Thoroughbred. Right now I’m not ready for that, but maybe in the future I will be ready. He told me that I gave that horse so much love that there is another OTTB out there that needs someone to love them as much as I loved Piney.

I will need to change my blog header, I just can’t bear to do that now. And I apologize for how crappy this post was written. I just wanted to get the story out  a little bit and I’m sorry if it didn’t make any sense. Hopefully you won’t blame me for making the decision I made. I just did what I thought was best for him. He was suffering, and I didn’t want to put him through any more pain. I hope that if any of you were in my shoes you would have done the same.

34 comments:

  1. I can hardly imagine the pain you are going through right now. It's a good thing that you are experiencing all the stages of grieving though and there is a light at the end of this bleak tunnel. I wish there was something I could say to ease the void in your heart, but just know that we are all here for you, for as much crying, sobbing and venting as you need. You did the right thing for Piney from the moment you pulled him out of that field, to the moment you had to make the hardest decision of all. xo

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    1. Thank your for your kind words. I have a feeling there might be a lot of venting and greiving here in the next little while.
      I really appreciate the support!

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  2. I wish I had something helpful to say. I know I miss my dear Dawn every day and I lost her many years ago. I imagine I always will miss her. Horses take a piece of your heart and it is theirs forever. You did the right thing for Piney and know every day that he was very lucky to have you as his human as you were to have him as your horse.

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    1. I keep telling myself that I did the kindest thing I could have for him. He will always have a chunk of my heart just like my very first horse Yellow. Thank you for your kind words!

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  3. Sad for everyone involved. I don't think you should feel guilty. You did everything a loving responsible caregiver could do. Words are so inadequate at a time like this. Take care of yourself. Thoughts are with you.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I have been a wreck lately. I know deep down i did the right thing, i just need to start believing it.

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  4. Oh my god...I missed your post of Friday somehow and this is just heartbreaking. You had me in tears. I can't believe this. I am so sorry, which I know those are only words, but I feel horrible. I can't even imagine...I've been reading your blog for so long...wow, I just can hardly type at the moment. Please just know you did the right thing for him and he loved you so much. I'm here for you! Oh and I would love to make u a new blog header...

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    1. Thank you so much, this really does mean a lot to me! The pain I am feeling is pain that I don't wish upon anyone. ever. Each day will get a little easier. I can't express how thankful I am for the support I am getting from my blog "friends". I have never met any of you but I feel as if I know you and your horses!

      and I would love if you designed me a new header :-)

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    2. I can't even imagine. *Hugs* We are all here for you!!!

      Whenever you feel up to it, send me pics

      painteddressage95@gmail.com

      I'll make something special<3

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  5. I am so sorry - that is just devastating. You shouldn't feel guilty though, you did everything you could and made a hard decision when it needed to be made - that's what he needed you to do for him. I hope the good memories ease the pain.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! It has been hard especially since I thought I had so much more time with him. I was robbed. i know he will be there waiting for me somewhere.

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    1. Thank you for your support. It really does mean a lot to me

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  7. So sorry to hear this. Letting them go is the kindest thing we can do, and the hardest.

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    1. It definately is the hardest thing. But to keep him here when his body was failing would be cruel.

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  8. I'm crying. I'm so sorry. I feel your extreme sadness and loss through your words and I'm sure it's 1% of what you are feeling. There are not words that can console. I hope you find peace knowing at least your horse was loved very much in his life and last hours. That alone is very special. I'm so sorry. :( hugs and hugs

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I've never experienced pain like this. Not even when my first horse died suddenly. I just can't believe he isn't here anymore. I am so happy to have support from people out in "blogland". It really means so much to me.

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  9. May your beautiful Piney rest in peace. Losing a beloved animal is no where close to easy. I wish you the best. I'm so sorry :(

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    1. Thank you! I know he is now in a better place where he isn't in pain

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  10. Never read the blog before but read today...and it made me cry. I just feel for you so much. Theres nothing I can say to make you feel better, just know we all are here for you.

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    1. Thank you, I am floored by the amount of support I have gotten. It really does mean a lot to me

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  11. To have such a deep, meaningful connection is incredibly rare. If Piney could talk, I am positive he would say thank you for letting him go and not putting him through the agony of surgery and month to month treatments.
    May the handsome boy rest in peace.

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    1. Thank you so much. It would have been selfish for me to keep him here.

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  12. I am so sorry :'(
    But you did the best thing you could do for him.

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    1. Thank you so much. It didn't feel like the best thing I could do, but i know that it was

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  13. Oh my gosh, My heart is braking for you. I just found you blog and could feel your love for him as soon as I saw your blog.I am so sorry, you did the best thing for him. He is no longer in pain and if there is any horse worthy of being an angel, it would be him.
    Love,
    Neighgirl

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    1. Thank you so much. I know he is somewhere waiting for me hopefully he has found my other horse, Yellow and they are together thinking of ways to walk all over me when I get there
      :-)

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  14. You most certainly made the right decision, but it doesn't make you hurt any less. I can't tell you it gets easier...though I wish I could. We made the decision to put down my daughter's TB last October after a career ending injury. He is buried on the property where we board, and everytime I take my mare on a walk around the property, I pass the spot where he is buried and it hurts.

    Just know that you have a lot more love to give to your other horses and maybe a new one down the road. Each one is unique and you never forget the ones from the past.

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    1. Last night on my drive home I went past the Vet clinic where he was put down. Chest got tight and my stomach started to hurt. I started crying.But I know that he is no longer in pain, and that he helped me become the rider I am today by building my confidence in the saddle. I will never forget that.

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  15. I'm sobbing right now thinking about losing Red seven months ago. It never gets easier. It might hurt less, and it might start to take more to get you to cry over his loss, but it's the hardest thing in the world. You definitely did the right thing and I'm sure Piney appreciated all your help and love. Stay strong and keep giving your other boys hugs!

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    1. I should know better that it doesn't get easier. I still miss Yellow every single day and it's been over 4 years. I'm starting to realize that I did the right thing. Keeping him here would have only been good for me. His quaility of life would have been different and I don't know if he'd ever be the same. He is in a much better place and I know that I have two creeps that need me.

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  16. I am so, so, so terribly sorry. Having to put a pet down is the loneliest feeling in the whole wide world. I lost one of my first horses to a bad colic and flipped gut. It was horrible to watch and sit there helplessly.
    Last week due to a freak accident I had to put down my one mare. That left me with a 5 week old orphaned foal to care for. It was heartbreaking to hear her colt scream and cry for his mama. He stood by where she died for hours. If you are looking for something to be made from your poor Piney's tail please contact me. I've made many bloggers great jewelry, hat bands and other horse hair items. sydney@bitlesshorseblog.com

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    1. Oh no, I'm sorry to hear that! It is the worst feeling, but in the long run it is usually for the best.
      I will be in contact with you about making some jewelery! Thank you

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  17. I can not imagine how hard that must have been, I truly can't. I loved reading your stories about him. I was so thrilled when he finally came to live with you. All was right in the world. It will be again, I am just so sorry. Give Tucker a big huge hug. He's gotta make you crack a grin. Hang in there KK, I'm thinking of you. He was a wonderful horse.

    Mary and Freddy

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