Monday, March 31, 2008

She is home!

The past few weeks have been incredibly stressful! In fact, I do not think I have been ‘normal’ since November 2007 when this all started. I feel as though I have been on a complete emotional rollercoaster and to a certain extent I am still riding on it.

The good news is that Grace is now home. She travelled perfectly in the horsebox and came off the ramp incredibly quickly at the other end, she seemed so pleased to be home. Since then, Grace has been on complete box rest, with a tiny respite of being tied up outside her box while I muck out and put her bed down. She has been incredibly well behaved, if anything she has been quite quiet and calm. She is on Equine America’s So Kalm which I do think is helping, but I also think the fact she has been in this state since November has made her an old hand at it!

The first part of the recovery is four weeks of box rest which will conclude on 23rd April when I can then start walking her on board. Hopefully, with the help of ACP we will be walking for 20 minutes for a period of three weeks, increasing to 35 minutes by the end. After this, she will return to the surgery for a reassessment where she will hopefully be 100% sound!

The vet came up on Friday to change her bandages for the first time and there is one further change required tomorrow (Tuesday). I will probably continue bandaging her at night with some pads and a dressing over the wounds at night as she lies down a lot and I would like to keep it as clean as possible. However, I will speak to the vet regarding this when he comes out tomorrow.

There was a slight swelling on the right hind when he came on Friday, but the left hind looked really good. I did not get a change to see the incision, but when he comes out tomorrow I am planning on taking some photographs so I can compare these to ones later on in the healing.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our visit to hospital

After the operation on Thursday, I have been dying to see my girl So I go up at 6.30am, mucked out Hannah and set off for the hour and a half journey to Yorkshire so I could be there for the visiting hours of 9-10am.

It was gorgeous and snowy over there, so I took a few pictures as we left the vets.

As we arrived (I dragged my Mum out of bed) the vet explained she had just had her bandages changed because she had trashed them last night. Grace had been very good having them changed and looked well.

So we walked to where she was stabled through the snow and I couldn't wait to see my girl! I walked into the stable block but I didn't know which one she was in... I clicked her and shouted her name very softly and I heard a huge commotion and then her familiar deep whicker. She went crazy as soon as she heard me and just kept whickering and stretching her neck to see me. I had some polos in my pocket so gave her all of those, lots of scratches and a few tears of joy at seeing her. Even my Mum filled up when she saw Grace's reaction to hearing me!

We did take some pictures, but the battery was dying (plus my Mum was taking them ) so they are a bit rubbish...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Grace is out of surgery

I have been unable to concentrate on anything for the past few days, as all I have been able to think about is my gorgeous girl going through another GA. The questions have been running through my mind day and night making it near impossible to sleep and I have just been completely irrational about everything!

I have been waiting for the phone call all morning as she went in for surgery at 9am... and finally at 12.45pm I received it (cue shaking hands, inability to breathe properly and tears welling up!)

Grace is up and settled! The operation was successful and straight forwards. The nerves were easy to locate and she did well under the general anaesthetic which is good news. This is the best Birthday present I could have wished for and it also feels like fate. We bought her on 20th March and she has now been operated on and come through it exactly a year from then!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I'm absolutely devastated!

I took Grace over to Halifax this morning for a scan and lameness work up on the suspensory ligament injury which was diagnosed in November. It was an acute injury, therefore we underwent four sessions of the shock wave therapy and injections into the ligament itself. I took her back five weeks ago and there was a good improvement from the first scan, and I was told I could start walking her under saddle, increasing this time up to 60 minutes before returning for the next scan...

Which brings me to today... Firstly, the specialist asked me to trot her up! No easy task when it is windy and she has not been trotted for months!!! Anyway, off we went, and after some serious bucks and squeeling I got her trotting up for him. She looked pretty sound on the straight, so we took her into the school (after a little shot of ACP) and she was lunged. Immediately I could see she was not quite sound Peter agreed and said that she had improved because originally she had been 3/10 lame on a circle and now she is 1/10. But he wanted to scan it anyway... I watched the scans and could again see a good improvement to the shape of the ligament and the fibre patterns. There were some areas where the patterns were not perfect, but again, an improvement!

As Grace was coming around Peter went through what he could see from the scans. He said she was not as far a long as we would have hoped at this stage, but all horses heal differently. However, he did say that the ligament was still more enlarged than the right one and this could just be the way it would heal... He told me that she could start going out in the field, and then I was to begin introducing small amounts of trot for the next six weeks. If she was still unsound after this time, then we would have to talk about the denerving operation... So, that is how we left it!I loaded Grace (again, she loaded perfectly) and set off for home. However, my brain started whizzing around and I was more upset than I realised. I was devastated that she had not improved much since the previous scan even though I have been really sticking to the plan, and realised that this waiting game is really affecting not just my sanity but also my whole outlook on life!

We pulled into the first services and Peter had very kindly given me his mobile number should I need it... and this was one of those situations! I phoned him and just voiced my concerns. We are getting to the edge of the insurance limit with this one, and 6 more weeks is effectively two more months of waiting and costs (ie. more scans at that point). I told him that I had been thinking about having the operation done now as opposed to six weeks time and he said he thought this was a very wise decision! She may never come sound if we carry on this waiting game, as the ligament is not reducing in size as hoped... and the more I think about it the more I am wondering whether this injury was perhaps not as acute as we seemed to think! So, she is booked in for 20th March (my birthday).

Please everyone keep everything crossed for her that day... to say I am devastated is an understatement. I just cannot stop the tears now the decision has been made, but I cannot bare to think that I will never ride this gorgeous girl again. At least if she has the operation, we have more of a chance of returning to where I always dreamed she would be!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Only three days to go...

I finally got hold of Peter Scholefield and Grace is now booked in for the scan on Tuesday at 11am. I am already starting to worry about it and praying for good news! Originally I was supposed to be driving up to Yorkshire with my husband, but he is unable to come with me now so it will be just Grace and I going up to Shelf!

Please keep your fingers crossed for us...

She is now doing 60 minutes of walking under saddle and feels as though she is settling into a little more now. My husband took some pictures for me, so I hope you can see how well she is looking now.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Week four of walking...

Grace and I are now on our fourth week of walking under saddle. It has been incredibly tough, as one minute she is laid back and the next she is turning herself inside out over something and nothing. I am still not quite sure how I have managed to stay on board all this time; we still have a week or so to go yet too!

I have booked Grace’s next scan for 19th March, I am hoping and praying that there is more good news regarding the ligament because she is certainly feeling well in herself. I know she has lost muscle, but I have never seen her look so well! Her coat is in great condition, she is well covered (usually I have difficulty keeping the weight on her especially in winter) and is full of life. I have been riding her as forwards as I can to try and stop the spooks and explosions, but at the moment every time I put my leg on her she is sinking down on her hocks and teaching herself piaffe, so goodness knows what state the ligament will be in!

Although the scan is not for another two weeks, I am currently trying to contact Peter Scholefield as I am struggling to keep her quiet and walking. She is very eager to get going, and feels as though she is a coiled spring waiting to explode... she is on a calmer, but it does not seem to be doing us much good. I am hoping that we could perhaps bring the scan forwards a week so that we could start some trot work if everything is progressing as it should do. That will be another day for me to worry about! I swear that I am going to take up gold fish!!!