Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm Feeling Bipolar (Or: Don't Read This If You Don't Need Any Drama)

What a week of ups and downs, highs and lows! If that's how people with bipolar disorder are, then I don't want to play anymore.

Starting with late last week, of course as you all know my family was in town. That was a definate high. Another high was the IRS notice that our stimulus check would soon be arriving. Another definite high. But just to put a little downer on it was the notice that we would not be getting $1500 as we thought, but just $1200 because our son was born before December 31, 1990. HUH? As far as I know he's still a minor dependent and a full time student living at home and we are the ones paying for all his needs. Ah well, $1200 is better than nothing. (Remember that...)

Eventually most of the gang had to go back home. My sister in law and her girls are still here but are visiting her sister at the coast for a few days. Then they'll be back here with us again until the middle of next week. A bit of a downer, but nothing I can't handle.

I got a call late afternoon last Sunday in regards to the bull calf. Some people from south of Los Angeles were driving through town, stopped at the Tractor Supply Company where I had one of my "for sale" flyers, and asked to see him. They came on by and gave me a down payment. They should be picking him up some time today. That was a happy occasion for me.

Tuesday evening when I went out to feed I noticed Ladysmith, the cow, was extremely fat. It wasn't a natural kind of fat either because it happened way too fast. I had never seen it before but had heard of it. It was a case of bloat. The only thing I could think about was I'd have to stab her in the side to release the gasses that were building up. I knew I didn't want to do that. In a panic I called my dairyman friend, Franz. He graciously offered to come over and take a look.

He said although she looked bad it wasn't as bad as I thought, mainly because she wasn't having trouble breathing. He stuck a long piece of cut garden hose down her throat but the gas wasn't expelled. Lacking any specific medications we did the next best thing. We mixed up a potion of baking soda and water and poured it into a funnel that we stuck into the end of a small piece of hose which Franz pushed to the back of Ladysmith's throat. We watched and waited and soon she began coughing up the culprit. It was corn. We left her alone that night to see how she would be in the morning.

See, I had been thinking Ladysmith looked a little on the thin side, so I wanted to put some weight on her. I started giving her rolled corn. Only instead of giving her a pound or two per day I was filling up a little bucket, about 4-5 pounds, for each feeding, so 8-10 pounds a day! She loved it. But I was killing her with kindness. Her system couldn't handle it and she bloated.

The next day she still looked really large and seemed to be getting uncomfortable again. I felt really bad about calling Franz out the previous night so I called my vet. He was out of town for the week. I then called Franz's vet and was told by the answering service they "don't handle small farms." I didn't mention names (which I was told later I should have) and I explained that my dairy friend used this vet and had talked to him last night about my cow (which he did). Eventually I was put in contact with the vet's partner who said they were too busy to come out until later that afternoon. He suggested I get a product called Ruminex and administer it. If the cow didn't look better by after 2 I was to call again and they would see if one of them could come out.

I called all the veterinarian supply stores and the feed stores. Nobody carried that product. Finally I got a little smarter and the last feed store I called I asked if they had that product or anything else to combat active bloat in cattle. No, they didn't have Ruminex, but yes, they carried something called Therabloat.

I hopped in my car and picked it up. My husband was home and between the two of us we managed to mix up the medicine and pour it down Ladysmith's throat. About three hours later the cow looked normal again!

See how round she is here, especially the upper left side.
Here she is much better. This is a slightly different angle but you can see how the extreme roundness has gone away. This is several hours after administering the Therabloat.

As if that wasn't enough the next day I had to get the brand inspection papers for the calf. The state law here says basically that anytime an animal (livestock) is sold it is supposed to get inspected and a paper is issued prior to transport. It doesn't matter if it has a brand or not, that's just what they call it.

So trying to be the good law abiding citizen I knew that was something that had to be done. I know there is an auction every Thursday and the brand inspector is supposed to be there. I hooked up the trailer to the truck and managed to drag the calf out and load him up. (Yes, I slacked off on his leading lessons.) All this with the baby in the Baby Bjorn!

I got to the auction yard but was told the brand inspector had not arrived and probably wouldn't for a few more hours. Great! I drove back home and unloaded the calf. It was about 11:30 then. I waited until 12:30 and called the auction yard. The inspector wasn't there yet. It would be one of two and they didn't know exactly which was coming out. They knew she would be there eventually but would be leaving by 2:00. I called and left messages on each of the two inspector's phones asking them to please call me. I mentioned I had been out to the auction yard already to have the calf inspected but they weren't there yet and I was really hoping I wouldn't have to drive out there again (it's on the other side of town). Please call me so I could figure out what to do.

I checked the mail and saw an envelope from the IRS. I thought maybe it was our stimulus check. I could sure use it about now. I opened it to find a notice that they were disallowing the deductions for our child. (Remember the one who is still under 18, a full time student, etc?) So now we owed an additional (we had to pay because of a county accounting error) $1100. Plus an $11 late interest fee. I almost screamed out loud. I did throw the letter at my husband and told him to call our tax preparer. Then I got in the car to pick up my son from summer school and cried on the way. I managed to get myself together before I picked him up though.

When we got home I still hadn't received any return calls and figured I was going to have to drive back out. My son and I loaded the calf again and off we all went, calf, son, granddaughter, and myself. We got there about 2 minutes until 2. I didn't see the inspector's truck. I ran to the lady checking animals in and she said "You just missed her! She just left!"


I went to the office and bogarted my way to the front of the line and asked if they had the phone number for the inspector. "She said you had her number." Yeah, I had it at home! But they did say she was going to the feed lot directly across the street and to wait there and maybe I could catch her coming out.

I ran back out to the truck and sped over to the feed lot. There was a big gate that was locked. I parked the truck, left everybody there at the side of the road and hopped the fence. I was not about to "wait". I found a guy that was getting out of truck and walking to another truck. I asked him if the brand inspector was there. I didn't even know if he understood me, but he waved vaguely towards the back of a building. I started walking over that way and all of a sudden the brand inspector came careening down the road. I started running after her (what a sight!) and she must have seen me because she stopped. I trotted over to the driver's side and waited while she was talking on her phone. Hmmm. So she did know how to use it.

She finished her conversation and I explained what I needed. She mentioned something about in my phone message I had said I didn't want to come back out and that's why she hadn't waited. I didn't want to piss her off so I said no, she must have misunderstood, I didn't want to come back out if I didn't have to, but since nobody bothered to call me back I was taking another chance by driving back out again. She just countered with "Well, it's just been a very hectic day today." No kidding.

Five minutes later, the calf was inspected and we were on our way home. Once home I noticed the paperwork said it expired at midnight on that day. It was supposed to be good through the weekend since at that time I didn't know exactly when he would be picked up. Screw it. It'll have to do.

I was in no mood to go to our weekly visit with Gus so I cancelled for that day. Later in the evening the calf's new owner called and said they would definately pick him up on Friday (today) but they just didn't know the exact time. I decided I needed a nice bath and used a "bath tea" bag (something I got for my birthday). You are supposed to let it steep for ten minutes. I don't know if I should have used two bath tea bags or let it steep longer but I didn't notice anything different with the water so I gave the back a couple of squeezes. Of course it burst open and little bits of lavender and other lovely herbs are now all over the tub.

I have no baby to watch today so I'll be spending the day cleaning and vegging. Maybe just vegging.

And how was YOUR week?

(PS-Still waiting to hear from our tax guy.)


Roberta said...

You poor thing! We've had days like that . . .

By golly, I think I've figured out this "comment" thing!

Jenn said...

Sounds like you did have a lovely week! Sorry things were so crazy for you!

pam said...

I read it all. I gotta say... I never saw the ending with the tea bath coming ;)
Hope things look up soon.

Anonymous said...

Yep the tea bag would have been my last straw!! You would have heard sailor words, a naked lady walking to the booze cabinet and retreating to the bedroom for the next 24 hours! I hope all is looking up!!