Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Horse as Pain Reliever

Yesterday my doctor stripped me of my fanny pack and its contents. He also pulled out the temporary lead from where it was sutured under the skin of my upper back. It was transmitting an electrical impulse from a battery to the muscles surrounding my shoulder blade, in an effort to control the pain I still have. I was pleasantly surprised that this removal process didn't hurt, but then maybe I was just thankful to have a mummy's worth of tape and gauze off my back.

So the verdict is... I'm going to have the permanent lead "hitched up" to the battery that's implanted in my right side of my, uhm, fanny. (There's that word again). As you can imagine, when that's done I won't be able to ride, let alone walk sprightly, for a while. But it's worth the trouble, as it means that I will be using less oral pain medicine, which will then make riding and taking care of Wally that much easier.

Honestly, I am keeping this ordeal all in perspective. When I'm in my doctor's office (he's a pain medicine specialist), I'm usually surrounded by patients who are, in my estimation, far worse off than me. Some are wheelchair-bound with their breathing dependent on a ventilator. Others are crippled over with back pain or advanced arthritis. Some are trauma victims still healing from their wounds, bound in bandages. They almost make me feel guilty, because why we all live in our own hell, surely some of us suffer more than others. I, at least, for all of the problems I've endured, can find daily comfort in the most wonderful of companions, my horse.

When I bought Wally I never knew he would end up being my best buddy. He was sullen, hated his job as a show horse, and delighted in figuring out how to take advantage of any human stupid enough to try to associate with him. Over time, he has become a lovely horse to ride, a character (of the best sort) to handle and a four-legged soulmate. Regardless of how I feel, I can climb aboard Wally, turn him down the trail and forget whatever is ailing me. He jogs his little pitty-pat trot and I'm a cowgirl moseying after a herd of wayward calves. I nudge him into his rocking chair lope and I'm on the lookout for bandits. We gallop and I'm the sole female rider for the Pony Express. When I ride him down the trail that borders the main street in town, where the cars cruise past and people shuffle in and out of store fronts, I feel like the luckiest gal in the world, astride my flashy Paint gelding.

If I could bottle how I feel when I'm riding, I'd pass it out to all the patients in my doctor's office and whisper, "Here. Take a swig of this. I guarantee you'll feel better."

That's what I like best about being a horse lover: My horse can transport me to a time and place where my heart sings.

I wrote a short article for Horse Channel. It's our monthly installment of HI Spy. You can find it on the home page or click on this link:
Share the Bestest Thing Ever About Being a Horse Lover.

After reading it, you can leave your comments there, where it says, "Submit a Comment."

In the meantime, I'll be scrubbing tape residue off my back.


Anonymous said...

I loved reading the column to my husband. He just grinned and shook his head. I am currently looking for a truck... oh joy. My friends think I'm crazy.. but I explain that my need to haul horses, hay, etc... is more important than the gas mileage. ;) Luckily I only live 8 miles from town!
And I have to admit, my barn is usually cleaner than my home... (sorry honey.) And yes, my horses shoes and accessories cost much more than my own! But I wouldn't have it any other way. When Koda bats those pretty little eyelashes at me, I am happy!

Nancy said...

I just wrap my arms around my horse's neck, bury my head in his mane, and the world is a much better place!

So, anonymous, dont know if you live near New Hampshire, but i'm selling my horse trailer hauling truck!

Anonymous said...

Nancy, I don't think I'm anywhere near New Hampshire, I live in northeastern Arkansas. ;) But thank you!

Anonymous said...

cindy, i hope your doing alright!good luck with the new permanent lead! I wihs i could gie away my love of horses too! that would definatley make alot of people i know feel better! I'm sorry i'm just getting on to your collum again! I keep falling behind, I shouldn''t have taken honnoors biology at school! lol reading your blog always makes me feel better when i'm sad, especially since my lease ended and at this time i dont have neough money ot pay for a new one on my own! :( Thnaks cindy!

Cindy Hale said...

I'm looking forward to the surgery to get this permanent thing in so that I can finally say, "Enough!" and then get on with my life.

I also drive a pick-up truck. It's my one and only vehicle! But I also don't drive very many miles each day, so the gas mileage isn't much of a concern. Everyone can tell I'm a horse gal, too, because my license plate is: GALLOPP.

Anonymous said...

You gotta love how your horse is always the perfect remedy for everything. Mine is too... that is, until he does something stupid. Most of the time though, he's great! Funny how walking through the halls at school, my toe hurt. When I was scrunched up in the chair at the doctor's office to have the skin burned back from the nail and the nail clipped shorter, it killed and my knee hurt. (Ingrown toenail, had it taken care of, then got proud flesh after squishing my foot in my cowboy boots for a show- couldn't resist;) ) However, when I went to the barn right after that to take care of my horse, both were completely fine!