I often talk about how farm life is relentless. It’s got all the ups and downs of a real life soap opera with all the drama of a Greek tragedy. It can be physically and emotionally brutal and there is no mercy given for the weak. My best example of this was the most recent April 13th, also known as the dreaded Friday the 13th.
I woke in the early hours of the morning with the worst stomach flu I think I’ve ever experienced. It knocked me completely on my keester for over 24 hours. The first day I was bed-ridden and struggled to just keep down ice chips so I could stay dehydrated. The whole mess left me weaker than a new born kitten.
So of course during this brief moment in time when I was completely incapacitated….Vessie decided to kid. I think she hates me. Hubs had just crawled into bed (I had never left it) and turned out the light. Less than a minute had passed before we both heard it.
The light flipped back on and he rolled over to look at me, “Did you just hear a baby goat?”.
I so desperately wanted to say no, the struggle was real, but responsibility called. I sighed heavily, “Yes, that was a baby goat.” My next offer was born of the good manners my mother worked so hard to instill in me, and also some measure of desperation, “Can you handle this yourself or do you REALLLLY need me?”
Hubs didn’t respond to my question, which was an answer in itself. I gave another sigh, “Ok, give me a bit and I’ll meet you out there.”
She had a buck and a doe and thankfully, Vessie is a phenomenal mother and managed just fine without our interference. We simply tied, trimmed and dipped cords, ensured they had nursed and then headed back to bed.
A couple hours after that I woke and forced myself to get up and put Dom out to potty. He’s been having health issues for the last 7 months and after tests with no definitive answers and trying a veritable cocktail of different drugs we had finally gotten him somewhat stable on steroids. The side effect of the meds were his ravenous appetite and drinking water like a camel with a hollow leg……which means I had to get up every few hours to let him outside or suffer the consequence.
He went outside but seemed confused and then couldn’t seem to navigate the single step to come back into the house. I went outside to try to help him but in my weakened state I wasn’t much better than him. Rather than try to pick him up and risk dropping him I stumbled down the hall to get Hubs. Hubs went out to help, but when he got to the porch, Dom had disappeared. Hubs called and called for him but there was no response. He then drove down by the chickens (one of Dom’s favorite spots) and then came back up by the house to search some more. I kept asking, “he could barely walk, how far could he have gone?”
We finally found him behind the house laying on the rain soaked hillside, confused and not responding to our calls. Hubs carried him inside and dried him off. We tried to go back to sleep….again.
A couple hours after that I woke to a horrible crying. I shoved Hubs off the bed saying, “go check on Dom!” knowing that it would take me way too long to get vertical without losing my stomach. He came back saying Dom was laying down and seemed fine. It seemed odd because Domino is stoic and I can’t recall him ever crying out, no matter the circumstances (and he’s had some significant ‘circumstances’) but there was nothing else to do. We heard him cry a couple more times over the night and finally gave up the idea of sleeping around 4:00am.
As I sat on the floor next to Dom I finally observed him during one of his crying spells. He appeared to be having small seizures. Hubs and I looked at each other and knew, it was time. We sat with him on and off for the next few hours waiting for the vet to open, reminiscing about better days with Dom.
As I shakily dressed for the trip, I briefly wanted to skip the whole thing and ask Hubs to take him. I had a legitimate reason. I was still horribly sick, shaky and slightly feverish….. but he was my best friend. How could I not be there when he needed me most? I dragged myself to the car and we made the silent drive to say goodbye.
I don’t know how to say goodbye to the one that loves you more than anyone else in the world. He was my shadow, my constant companion and my best friend. He was better than most people I know cheerful, loyal and loving. I’m going to miss him tremendously.
So you see, farming really is as dramatic as a soap opera. In just this 24 hour period we had sickness, new life and heart-breaking loss. As I’ve said before, hold your loved ones close (2 and 4 legged) and count your blessings every chance you get. They aren’t guaranteed.