Friday, May 29, 2009

Round in Circles

My poor Missy's left hind leg is not a pretty sight. Still. On April 11th I posted that she came up lame while I was longeing her and she hasn't been right since. She did have an abcess that broke through, and she was lame from that for a while, then her heel became inflamed, possibly from being wrapped. It's hard to see in the second picture but finally most of the scabs have come off but the skin is still pink and raw. She isn't lame any more but is obviously suffering from whatever infection moved up into her leg. Last week the awful monstrosity you see here showed up on the back of her leg. At some point the flap of skin covering most of this sore will come off and it will be raw and open. It does dry up and she can work a little bit, but then as soon as you clean it and it gets wet it looks like this. The swelling goes down when she works but then it looks the same the next day, and the next. The vet put together a poultice containing steroids, penicillin and something else but it doesn't seem to be doing anything.

My trainer Willow was going to try to get in touch with the vet today to ask him if there is something we should or shouldn't be doing. We've left it unwrapped because that just seemed to bother her even more.

I am calling on the horse experts out there for some advice. I know nothing about horse ailments and I am at the mercy of my trainer, the property owner and the vet due to my own ignorance. Should I be working her or not? Should her leg be wrapped or not? Should we continue to put on the poultice or let it work its way out on its own? Is it normal for an abcess to turn into two other problems?

I feel like I am failing her. She seems to be losing weight even though she is getting extra feed. I wanted to put some tack on her this weekend and just have her walk around with it on but I don't want to aggravate her body or her mind. I've been spending a lot of time with her this week and I feel better about myself and our relationship. Just putting on my wonderfully worn-in paddock boots, grooming her, putting on her halter and boots and longeing her for a few minutes has meant a lot to me. I don't know when I will put on the helmet and the half-chaps and actually get in the might be this weekend but it won't be on Missy. And that breaks my heart more than a little.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Invisible Ocean

My favorite way to get to the farm is down a shady winding road that starts at my house at some 2,500 feet above sea level, snaking it's way down the backbone of the mountain ridge separating the ocean from the valley, heavily wooded on both sides. About two thirds of the way down the hill the university-owned land begins, alternating between forest and lovely open meadows with bike trails. I adore meadows, they are one of my favorite landscapes. After a series of hairpin turns further down the road, all of a sudden the road straightens out, the trees disappear and the vista you see pictured here appears. On a clear day you can almost see forever (or Japan), with the sky and the water clearly demarcated different shades of blue behind the emerald green fields speckled with purple lupus and orange California poppies. On a foggy or hazy day, the ocean completely disappears and it takes a real leap of faith to still believe that its really there.

On Thursday I accepted the offer put forward by the large software company that has been vetting me for the past month. In four separate visits to two different campuses I was interviewed 10 times by 7 different people, 3 times by my manager. This position has been open since last November when they let go the prior resident of my new desk, but having a consultant in the role has meant they could take their sweet time and interview many different candidates. In fact, they had hired another candidate recently who ended up getting very ill and would not be able to start for six months or longer, so they mutually agreed that she would decline. This re-opened the position and gave me the opportunity to let them know they should take another look at me. I worked very hard to get this job, it's the only job that I am aware of at my experience and salary level in my field of experience in the entire state, never mind my general geographical area. I should feel lucky indeed not only to land a job, especially one that maintains my prior salary plus gives me equity in the company (stock), and all the standard benefits you would expect. Add to that the cache of working for an-almost-household-name which is well-respected by employees and their peers and is not doing layoffs, and...well, what else could I really ask for. Did I mention an 800-acre pasture boarding horse facility is at the end of the block? I will post pictures of that in a separate post.

I should feel lucky, and I do. I am sure that if I did not get this job I would be completely apoplectic within a month. However, I am having a lot of difficulty getting excited about the opportunity. Ambivalent doesn't even cover it. The truth is I am overwhelmed. Not by the job itself, I've had this job a dozen times with a different wrapper, but by the sheer physical task of waking up early, choosing an outfit, doing hair and makeup, driving an hour on crowded freeways to get there then being in corporate world for 8+ hours. I realize that this is normal, what almost every working person in the world does, and in fact I did it myself for over 20 years. But, I haven't done it for more than 5 years and in that time I enjoyed increasing autonomy and flexibility, working from home about half the time. I feel like I am giving up a lot and I'm resentful that it wasn't on my timetable.

Also, I have never owned a horse and worked full-time before. I went to see my orthopedist last Friday and he sentenced me to six more weeks of physical therapy. He said by the end of that time I will have lost the ability to gain any more range of motion, whatever I've got by the time the scar tissue sets is all I'm going to get. I know six weeks is a long time, but I believe I need to prepare myself for the possibility that I will not get back to 100% use of my left arm. I will ride again, I have no doubt about that, but I need to be realistic.

I had hoped to negotiate being able to leave early a couple of days a week so I could get to the farm in time to ride, but now that I will have to arrive late twice a week because of physical therapy, that's not going to be possible. This is a critical time in our relationship, with both of us getting over injury and downtime, and I don't think I need to tell anyone that a thoroughbred mare in her prime is not a weekender kind of horse.

Right now the ocean has disappeared. I have to believe it's still there behind all the cloud cover and I will need some help to make that leap of faith. I do believe that it's time for some (more) professional help, in fact. I looked up my old therapist the other day and bookmarked his contact information.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Beach Flora & Fauna

The interview process continues at my only job lead...I don't want to jinx anything so I will leave it at that and update when it's over, one way or another.

Physical therapy continues to be painful but extremely beneficial, and I am committed to increasing my range of motion every day. This means pushing myself past the pain to move my arm just a little bit further each time. At times I am still discouraged and frustrated and depressed, but now I can at least see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Mother's Day is always a very tough day for me. I'm not a mother -- and wanted to be one -- and I am estranged from my own mother. I sent her a card but I did not want to speak to her, she just called me last month and I really have nothing to say to her. A woman who has acted as my surrogate Mom for many years is also missing from my life right now, but I am hopeful that this situation can change.

In the meantime, enjoy the beauty of our dogs' favorite walk along the beach; this is about 15 minutes from home.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


My last set of x-rays looked good so my orthopedist turned me over to a, I mean, a physical therapist. I've had two sessions with her and I've been doing the exercises she gave me to do every couple of hours, as I'm able. I am getting a lot more mobility, but I am paying a price for that. I am back to being in pretty much constant pain and watching the clock for the next time I can take pain medicine. I know this will all be over in a few weeks but right now, it's tough.

Unfortunately my Miss isn't faring much better. The medicine they put on her fetlock under the wrap caused a skin irritation and now her heel is all scabby and dry and cracked and smells nasty. The vet said just to use a different topical ointment (I don't know what any of these ointments are called), but we are getting concerned that it is taking so long to heal. I think she just doesn't want to work unless I am able to work with her.

I had a job interview this week. On the surface it seems like the ideal job for me, lateral salary plus a yearly bonus plus stock (it's a public company), a manager role and a company that doesn't look like it's going to shut its doors next quarter. Yet, somehow I am not excited. I didn't get a lot of feedback from the interviewer, who would be my manager, but I think that had more to do with the fact that she didn't know how to interview than her opinion of my experience. I was rather surprised when she said she would set up a second interview for next week at the end of our discussion, so I'm focusing on that and trying to let my read on her not being impressed go. I'm feeling a lot of pressure to get a good paying job and quickly, as we cannot survive on two unemployment checks, and I think that's playing a large part in my ambivalence, I feel like this is my responsibility.

Thankfully there is more than one kind of therapy. May I introduce to you, the marvelous Marvin, born FINALLY after an entire year in the oven last Wednesday morning. These picures were taken when he was less than 2 days old, so I think it's a good thing he didn't wait one more day, he's so tall!