“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” was one of my mother’s favorite sayings and I’ve tried to live by it ever since I was a kid.
I talk a lot about staying positive and having a positive attitude, but life can sometimes throw you a bit of a curveball and that’s what the end of 2019 brought me…
After coming back from a lovely vacation with my family I’d been booked in for minor surgery to remove two lipomas from my shoulder, the size of a grapefruit. It was all supposed to be very routine, nothing to fret about.
But that’s not how it turned out…
After I woke up from the surgery I had severe pain in my mouth as well as my shoulder.
Weird. Why should my mouth hurt following surgery to my shoulder?
I didn’t really connect the 2 and gladly went home to recuperate. The surgery had actually gone even better than expected and I was told that I should be up and around again in a few days.
5 days later though and my mouth was still hurting like hell, so I took myself off to the dentist to see what the problem was.
Well, as you might have guessed already, during the intubation procedure prior to the surgery the anesthesiologist had managed to crack two of my teeth. One was so bad that the dentist said it had to come out as soon as possible.
So, 10 days after the shoulder surgery I went in for oral surgery to completely remove a molar. It’s been a long time since I’ve had tooth pain so I’d forgotten just how PAINFUL it can be.
After the oral surgery I thought to myself, “Great, it all should be over now…”
No. It wasn’t.
7 days after the oral surgery I was hurting even more than before. On a pain scale of 0-10, I was a 12. The pain was quite literally off the charts and I just wanted my brain to explode so that the pain would stop.
So I went back to the dentist who informed me that I was a rare case. Normally that’s a good thing but not when you hear it from your surgeon!
I had “dry socket” so the extraction site had not healed properly and the nerves and bone were still exposed, which was what had been causing all the pain.
All of this meant another 7-10 days of healing and more painkillers, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, antibiotics, and such.
I really dislike having to take medicine like that as it is so bad for your liver and stomach, etc. But I had no choice so I also used herbal treatments and natural oils alongside the medicines to combat these.
But what does any of this have to do with horses?
After the first surgery, I was able to drive over to see my boys. And as much as they wanted to get out and play with mom, they knew something wasn’t right.
They were full of energy but remained soft and gentle at the same time. They actually treated me differently and seemed to know I was hurt.
After the second surgery, I went out to the boys again as soon as I could drive and the horses did something I didn’t expect at all. They actually cuddled with me and held me. All 4 of them!
Kit, Danny, Jazz, and Apollo all acted the same with me. It was really strange as I had never experienced them doing this before. They were all extremely gentle and all wrapped their heads over my (good) shoulder and just stayed there for a while and cuddled with me.
I’m not kidding, they all individually did exactly the same thing, it was amazing.
They knew what I didn’t yet. They knew I was hurt more than I had thought. They knew that I was in pain. They knew my body was fighting a fever of 102 and losing. They knew it was going to get worse before it got better. But how did they know?
If you’ve been following my blogs for a while you’ll know I love me a bit of science, especially ethology (the study of horses’ natural behavior).
Science gives us insights and shows us patterns, but I like to combine it with gut instinct, heart and intuition because when you use them all together your horsemanship grows in leaps and bounds.
It’s like using your right brain and your left brain together and when you do you will always come up with a better solution.
However, this time my brain was so fried I couldn’t even think about how they might know and the research behind it, I just wanted to feel it.
The idea that my horses knew how I was feeling felt wonderful. The fact that they all took care of me and were so gentle and cuddly was amazingly special to me and I just wanted to hold onto that feeling of love. Their cuddling was not only comforting, but it was healing as well.
I have not been out to my boys since the last doctor’s visit, but I am hoping to go out again soon. The minute I can drive again, I’ll be there!
This knowingness though isn’t just confined to horses.
While I was curled up in bed in excruciating pain, my little cat came into the room, jumped on the bed, came up to the top of my pillow, laid down, purred and actually started pawing my head.
And she has never done this before either. It felt like she was actually massaging my head. She was hitting all the right pressure points and I swear it helped the pain go away some.
Again, I don’t know how she knew, but she knew. And she knew how to help me and relieve some of the pain I was in.
Animals are wonderful healers. When the right connection and partnership are in place, love takes over and amazing things can happen.
It wasn’t just my mother that had a saying for occasions like this, my grandfather used to tell me, “No matter what happens in your life, look for the silver lining.”
He told me that there is always a good reason for everything that happens to us, but sometimes we just can’t see it and we need to look harder for that silver lining.
I was thinking about this when I was lying in bed and silently cursing him as it felt like there was no silver lining in the pain I was in, but after visiting my horses the silver lining revealed itself.
The realization of how much they truly care for me and how well they took care of me while I was injured made it all worthwhile and I now feel more connected to them than ever before. Isn’t life wonderful?
I am very grateful for my horses and my cats and I am so excited about 2020 and the decade that lies before us. With all that love from my animals, I have everything I need 🙂
My wish for you in 2020 is that you also have or find that type of connection with your animals so you know that you are loved beyond belief and you are never alone.