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Happy Birthday in Heaven Biz!

Today would have been Biz’s 33rd birthday…  I still miss him, of course, but it doesn’t hit me as acutely now, a few weeks later.

A few days after Biz died, our local Humane Society started a fundraiser.  For a minimum donation of $20, you could have a portrait done of your pet by one of their volunteer artists.  The catch?  You get what you get, as the “talent” of the artists runs the spectrum, and your portrait would be randomly assigned.  In other words, it’s all in good fun and for the animals!  I made my donation, and emailed a photo of Biz that I like.

This is that photo.  I took it of him in February 2018 when we were standing outside the vet clinic waiting for them to get ready to do his dental work.  He was a bit on edge, and it was a cold, slightly foggy day, but his expression was so regal!  Even in his old age – he was 31 in this photo – he was still a beautiful horse.

Biz, looking regal before the sedative…

I received my finished portrait last week, and I was overcome with how good of a job she did!  I am so impressed at how well she captured his likeness! His curly forelock and mane hair, his white star that got bigger as he became an elderly boy, and even his slightly hanging upper lip.  It is perfect!

I’m beyond the moon to have this memento of my boy.  I hope he’s having fun playing beyond the rainbow bridge.

Stay at Home Forever…

Hearts all over Washington State were broken this evening.  “Stay at Home” is extended until May 4.  32 more days of staying home, at a minimum.  UGH…

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree that it is necessary, but ugh all the same.  I was feeling kind of mopey today anyway.  So let’s explore some things I’ve learned about staying home in the time of COVID…

  1. I use more toilet paper. I’m currently mapping this, but I think I am going through a roll a week.  I didn’t hoard, but I did buy 1 package last time I could find some, so I have about 19 rolls.  That will last me a while!
  2. I run the dishwasher way more often.  It’s all that eating at home.  I’m tired of eating at home by the way.
  3. COVID is stressful.  I’m safe at home, but I’m on the front line of decision-making for how to keep my essential government organization safe.  I am back to my stress-induced 3 am insomnia wake up call.  Ugh.
  4. You can’t make everybody happy (see #3).
  5. I never knew it was possible to obsess so much about having to clear my throat.  Was that cough “dry”?!?!?!?!?!?
  6. Working 40 hours a week from home does give me more time at home to get things done in my non-work hours, but that doesn’t mean I will!
  7. I’m really grateful that I had my surgery in December, before all elective surgery got canceled.
  8. Even introverts crave time with people.
  9. Putting on nice clothes doesn’t really have an impact on my mood.  But taking a shower does!  The last time I did laundry, I washed and folded exactly one pair of work slacks from the Board meeting I attended almost two weeks ago; since then the Governor has ruled that all public meetings must be conducted remotely.  I can’t say I’m disappointed!
  10. Coraline enjoys busting in on video meetings!

I like to get out for a walk each day or do some yard work; thankfully I’m only a short walk away from a college campus that is eerily empty…  I’m praying that our efforts are working to flatten the curve and save lives.  I’m heartbroken for the people who have lost their lives, and lost loved ones.  I hope that sooner rather than later, we are able to move on from this.  Meanwhile, I’ll keep doing my part.

 

Rest in Peace Biz

Today, at about 3:20 pm, Biz crossed over the rainbow bridge.  It was a nice, spring day, and he went outside for one last day in the sunshine before he came inside, lay down, and was suddenly gone.

He was 32 years old, and had used up at least 17 lives, so it wasn’t a surprise, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

My parents bought Biz for me when I was 14 years old, in January 1990, over 30 years ago.  He was a two year old at the time, with no common sense, but he never really acquired much of that.  He was spastic his entire life, spooking at nothing, barging through doorways and gates, always in a rush to get in for dinner.  Unless it was spring, when on nice days, he would decide he wanted to stay outside, and whoever was trying to catch him could just go pound sand…

He was always high spirited, and full of piss and vinegar.  He trotted around, blowing and snorting, with his tail in the air whenever he had the chance.

The first time I tried to give him an apple, he didn’t know what it was, and wouldn’t eat it, so I gave it to his neighbor.  You better believe he never made that mistake again!

He let the cats ride him, but he loved to chase the dogs, and bite the cows.

He had a special talent for injuring himself or getting sick and was close to death at least four times that I can think of.  He had an immense capacity for healing.  He proved the vets wrong time and time again, living through horrific wounds, incredibly high fevers, equine influenza, suspected salmonella poisonings (yes that’s plural).  We made bets on whether he would go out in a blaze of glory, or just lie down and go when it was time.

He was patient about being poked and prodded, unless you wanted to poke or prod his face.  That required the good drugs…

He was a pain in the ass, but a sweet one at that.

 

I’m incredibly sad, but he lived a very good life, and he didn’t have to suffer a long, slow decline.  Rest in Peace, Biz.

Such a Sport…

Since he got sick with a high fever and high white cell count almost two weeks ago, Biz has had three shots of a high-dose, long-acting antibiotic, fever-reducing meds, 20 liters of IV fluids, three urinalyses, and three rounds of blood work.  But my old boy is improving!

His white cell count is back into the normal range!  But the neutrophil count is still high; I’ve learned that neutrophils are a type of white cell particularly responsible for fighting off infection.  His infection was so bad that his bone marrow was sending out immature neutrophils – kind of like sending new recruits out into battle before they have even been to basic training.  Poor guy!

His kidney and liver markers are back in normal range, his temp is normal and he’s been eating like a horse.  I mean, like a horse that isn’t sick.  It is all such good news!

I wasn’t successful in pee catching yesterday, so that’s still on the agenda…  What can I say, he’s a shy pee-er, and when I rush in with my stick…  Well you get the idea…  My mom had it easy the other day because we were running IV fluids through him, so he had to pee!

He will start on a second antibiotic tonight and then, I’m sure another repeat of blood work in the next few days!

My Poor, Sick Horse…

This morning I slept until 8:05 am, after going to bed at 8:45 last night.  It has been a long week, to say the least.  I was originally supposed to be on vacation, spending some time in California before coming back and doing a cabin weekend at the mountain with a group of other women.

Monday night a text came in that my horse wasn’t eating and seemed off.  Oh no…  He’s 32 years old, but his appetite is rarely a problem…  I cut California short and traveled home Tuesday – there was almost no traffic in Washington due to the growing COVID-19 outbreak, the school closures and all the recommendations to work from home.

The vet arrived Wednesday morning to a horse with a very high fever of 105 degrees (normal is about 100), a heart rate of 72 beats per minute (normal is 30-34) and labored breathing.  Blood work showed a very high white cell count and a systemic reaction to some unknown inflammation.  A urine sample showed a lot of blood.  Biz was a very sick boy…

My vet gave him a double dose of a fever reducing anti-inflammatory, a heavy duty dose of antibiotics, and an IV line for administering fluids.  And then, all was quiet…  For those of you who don’t have horses, the veterinary care tends to be pretty do it yourself; they show you how to do it and then off you go!  Over the years I have given intramuscular injections, flushed IV lines, changed IV bags, changed bandages, dressed wounds, given pills and ointments, removed stitches, and done all sorts of holding him still, upright and positioned as vets have poked and prodded him in countless ways.

My mom and I gave him four – five liter bags of IV fluids over two days; one of those was loaded with B vitamins and electrolytes.  I had to flush his IV line every 6 hours and check his temp.  Thankfully, it quickly returned to normal and stayed there.

Getting up in the middle of the night to drive out to the barn to flush his line is exhausting; and even more so when I was working remotely all day on the COVID-19 response.  My employer already has a lot of remote work ability, but trying to roll that out on an even wider basis reveals that that there are still a lot of reasons that people are needed in a central space.  It isn’t as easy as snapping one’s fingers and saying, just work from home!

I canceled my cabin weekend, because with temp checks, IV line flushes and antibiotic injections, it wasn’t going to be possible.  I’m bummed, but Biz is never going to make it up to me…

Thankfully, Biz is on the mend, with a normal temperature and an appetite that is returning to normal.  He will receive another dose of the four day antibiotic on Sunday, and then we will check his blood work again on Monday morning to see if the infection is going away.  As for the cause?  We don’t know.  There isn’t any widespread equine flu going around, and he doesn’t have any visible injuries to cause an infection.  He’s just an old guy that possesses a unique talent for acquiring whatever strange and mysterious illness is going around within 1,784 miles of him.

He gets his line out!

I’m just thankful that he also possesses a unique talent for healing, and for proving the vets wrong…  Biz, you keep doing you.