The past few weeks have been rather overwhelming and a bit of a blur. It will be three weeks on Tuesday since Katy went down and this terrible adventure began. Of course, it was almost a week earlier than that when we found Timpani laying in the snow with hypothermia one morning, and I thought she had "simply" suffered a spinal cord injury, probably fighting with another goat about going into the shelter.
Now, after quite an emotional roller coaster and a $1700 vet bill, we have one less goat, another goat that holds her head cock-eyed and walks crooked, and a llama that is still partially paralyzed. Timpani's gross necropsy results did confirm meningeal worm, but they are doing additional lab work, which has not yet been completed.
Windy is on her feet all the time, but she is certainly in no condition to rejoin the herd. Yesterday we decided to move her from a kidding pen, which is only five-by-ten feet, to a ten-by-ten foot pen in the main barn, and to put another yearling mini mancha doe in there with her for company. Unfortunately the other doe did not recognize her obvious physical advantage and insisted on being a jerk to Windy, butting her, and trying to keep her away from the hay.
When I went in there last night to give them more hay, Windy decided to make a run for it when she saw the door open, and she -- of course -- ran crookedly and ran smack into my left kneecap, knocking it out of place. I had two surgeries on that knee when I was a teenager because the kneecap would go out of place randomly, and even after the surgeries, it is very loose. I fell to the ground screaming and then proceeded to cry hysterically for about fifteen minutes. I'd love to believe that Windy was trying to say she was sorry as she kept walking up to me, but I don't think it's a coincidence that she always went to the side of me that put me between her and Livi the other doe. At that moment, the only thing I could think was, "This is what I get for saving your life?" and "I have no business on a farm! I am too old for this!"
I eventually hobbled into the house and put a bag of frozen chopped collard greens on my knee and sat on the couch with the phone so I could call my husband and tell him that I couldn't finish evening chores. He was down in the creek fixing the fence where one of the llamas had escaped earlier in the day. Just when we were ready to start evening chores, a neighbor let us know that one of our llamas was visiting her place, and when I looked out the window, I saw him running down the road!
Add to all of this the fact that my chronic back pain has become debilitating the first hour or two after I wake up every morning, and I was really feeling that I was getting too old for this lifestyle. The feeling of "I can't do this anymore!" has become a recurring thought these past few weeks. And I half-heartedly prayed, "God, if you really don't want me to do this anymore, couldn't you just send me a nice message, like a job offer that's too good to refuse at a university?"
A bit later I was checking my email, and in my GoogleAlerts for "goats," there was this story about a 900-goat dairy in Ontario that burned to the ground last night. And I started crying. Simply the thought of losing all my goats in a fire was horrifying. I told my husband and son about the fire, and my son said, "See Mom, someone else is having a worse day than you." Oh, my goodness! Yes! How could I possibly think that I would sell my goats and move away from here simply because we're having a few challenges? I know that if our barn caught fire today, even with my bad knee and other aches and pains, I'd be running out there trying to save every last goat.
Yes, life is particularly challenging right now. But life will always be challenging, regardless of where you live or what you do. But like that man who says he is going to start his dairy again, we have to deal with our challenges and move on.