Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Another Day in Blindnut Grove

It has been a rough couple of weeks here on the farm. Two weeks ago, my great Grandma Josephine passed away at the age of 92-years-old. It was so sad to lose such a creative and wise soul.

Then a little over a week ago
, Noah was grinding paint off of a chair lift pole at work and got something in his eye. He thought it was just sand or something else and would get flushed out on its own. It only got worse and by the next day, I could see something over the pupil in his eye and his vision became blurred so we ended up making a trip to the ER. Unfortunately, the doctor said it was a piece of metal in his eye and was beginning to rust, which is the spot I could see. The cornea had already begun growing over the foreign object and she was unable to remove it with a cotton swab, a needle and a tool called a Burr, which is like a tiny dremmel that cuts into the cornea. The doctor had horrible bed-side-manner and we didn't have much confidence in her ability. Luckily, they had Noah's eye numbed the whole time so he couldn't feel any of it. They sent him home with some antibiotic ointment and dilation drops which were supposed to help reduce irritation. They only put one drop in his eye and this is what it looked like for the next 24 hours so we didn't put anymore in.

On Saturday, we went to a specialist, who was able to remove the metal piece and most of the rust with the Burr tool. He left a little bit of the rust because he said that otherwise, he would have to drill through the whole cornea leaving a hole and it would be better to leave a little rust. The ophthalmologist did a very thorough job of removing everything and checking out the whole eye and lid. He told Noah to continue applying the antibiotic creme and to put a nighttime eye creme in his eye every hour to prevent the lid from irritating where he had drilled. He told Noah that his vision would eventually recover completely but said that he would feel pain for the next few days. Needless to say, Noah is now bringing his own safety goggles to work. Luckily his eye has seemed to heal a week later.

Then of course last Thursday, we had to put our little ferret to sleep because of an adrenal tumor. Rest in Peace little Wiz Pigger.

Then yesterday morning, I went out to the barn to take care of the animals and noticed our reddish brown rooster laying on its side. He didn't seem to want to get up or move around. Noah checked out his leg later and said it was either dislocated or broken. I think one of the big boy alpacas probably stepped on him when they were fighting. I talked with a large animal vet (I didn't call for the chicken, but for a completely unrelated matter). The vet laughed at me and said there wasn't really anything we could do unless we wanted to dump a ton of money into him. He of course only cost me $5, so I wasn't about to get him treated. The vet said if he could get around okay, he might heal, but said if he couldn't it would probably be best to put him down. I put him in one of our empty alpaca stalls with some food and water (which he gobbled up) yesterday and a few hours later, found him in the other barn back with his buddies. I will have to see how he is doing tonight before we decide what to do. I hate having one more thing to worry about. I hope he is not suffering a lot.
Then yesterday when we got home from work, Noah was out feeding the alpacas when he noticed something seriously wrong with Silver Sox's eye. He had me come out and help catch her and hold her still. It appeared as though a piece of her lower eyelid had been almost completely severed from her face and was dangling and dripping blood. We checked out her whole eye, and there didn't appear to be any other damage. We flushed the blood and any debris out of the eye with clear eye solution for horses. We have no idea how it happened. Alpacas will sometimes scratch their heads and sides on the fence line. All we can think of is that she was rubbing her head on something and got her lid caught and sliced it. Being so close to the eyeball, we were amazed that there didn't appear to be any damage to the eye. I called the vet and they had the on call vet call me back. This is not our normal alpaca vet, but is the vet who helped treat Snowflake back in January. He asked if we could bring her in right away to the office because eye injuries typically need to be treated right away and don't heal well. We were unsure as to what he would be able to do. He planned to stitch it back on, but I told him it was a very narrow piece hanging....just the rim of her eye. Here is what it looked like (sorry...a little gruesome).

This is her normal eye:
Here is her injured eye:
We loaded her and her cria up in the trailer. It was her cria Alpacula's first halter lesson and he really didn't like it. As soon as we got to the vet's office around 7:30pm, the vet looked at it and immediately decided that it would be better to remove the lid instead of trying to sew it back on. He said that he could try sewing it, but the tissue was already dead and the stitches would irritate the eye...he said we would most likely be bringing her in several times to redo the stitches. He check out her eyeball and was also amazed that it looked so good and appeared to have no damage. He helped close her eye and luckily, she can close it almost completely without the missing chunk. He said it would bleed for a while longer and then start healing. After cutting away the severed piece, he gave us an antibiotic eye cream to put on it every 4 hours and told us to continue flushing it out with the clear eyes. He also said it was okay to give her banamine for pain. Today, her eye is still looking yucky, but not any worse. I am praying that it heals well and does not get infected.

So what is the title of this blog entry all about you may ask? My brother always teases me and says I live in "Blindnut Grove." We grew up watching Little House on the Prairie (one of my all time favorite shows) and he is referring to how difficult life was on the Prairie and in their little town of Walnut Grove. Of course, he calls it Blindnut Grove since he swears in addition to bad things always happening on the prairie, everyone seems to go blind as well (which if you have watched the show, you know seems to be somewhat true). When he heard about our recent string of bad luck, he said..."Whoa! That Stinks. Another day in Blindnut Grove..." It seems like tragedy always tends to strike our farm and family all at one time, so I am praying Sox's eye was the last of this bought. I am a week and a half from my due date and trying to relax and not get too stressed out. Every time I get stressed, I get contractions and I am not quite ready for this baby to come. Please pray that the storm has passed for now in our own little Blindnut Grove.


Anonymous said...

You and Pa Schwander are great at dealing with the mishaps of Blind Nut Grove...Wizzer, Silver Socks and Chicken that's three you should be good....death of Grandma Jo was one more than the limit.

Oak Haven Alpacas said...

what a terrible string of events! But I agree with the previous poster, you've had your tough stuff, now it's good stuff to come.

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Thanks for the support Mom and Cara! I am hoping and praying that the worst is over for now.

Sam Attal said...

I am so sorry to hear about your Grandma Jo. I am thinking about you and hope that things are better on your farm and I hope Noah's eye is mending.