March Madness 2023

My plate over flows. Often at holiday gatherings with family, I fill my plate with more than I will eat. The food looks delicious and I am hungry. There are times when I over fill my plate of duties with more than I can handle or think I can handle. Such is my March Madness 2023.

In January I started working a job other than what I do at home. I enjoy this job and the majority of people who I work with. My primary duties are working in the “meat room” or meat department preparing and stocking items of various meats to be sold. The other duty is stocking the freezer section and then shelves when the truck arrives with supplies of product to sell. Everyone needs to eat, and a grocery store sells things to eat. It has been a little of a struggle emotionally to be working outside the home. But overall I have enjoyed the challenges and the work. I have grown as a person, getting out of my comfort zone of home, and learning I can cope with the outside world and being a part of that world.

Being a part of a working environment also brings the challenges of unwanted attention from others. One coworker would at time say things inappropriate or touch. I filled a report of several incidents with the HR department in February. One coworker thought I had some vendetta against the person and wanted them fired. I did not want anyone fired, only a behavioral change at work. This is an aged worker who should know what sexual harassment is and not to do so. I do not want to work in an environment where I have to constantly be watching my backside to keep from being touched, and no other worker should have to do the same. Fortunately the manager and HR department was supportive. One complaint from me or any other employee and this coworker will be fired.

Then on Saturday, March 25, while doing morning chores, my top hand Hank hurt himself. We are not sure what he did to cause his injury. We were moving the sheep and was going to another pen of sheep, and he was not there. Looking back to see where he was located, we were met with a sickening sight. Hank had lost the total use of his hind legs, and was dragging them tangled with each other behind him. I spent hours on the telephone trying to get into a vet without any results. He was not in any pain, he did not make a sound when he injured himself, but he was unable to move or stand on his hind legs.

After a very long weekend, I was able to make an appointment for Monday. At the vet’s office, if we placed picked up Hank’s hind quarters and placed the legs under him, he could stand on one leg. The vet thought Hank had twisted and strained his back causing one of the disc’s to herniate. The condition required some attentive care, and waiting six weeks to see what use of his legs he would regain. There were three possible scenarios after the six week wait: one he would not gain use of his legs and I would have to make a hard decision; two he would gain the use of the one leg, but not the other with a different decision of possible amputation of the no functioning leg or three he would regain enough use of his legs to live a life, but would not be a working herding dog. Hank has given me six years of good faithful work everyday. I had to do what is required to give him the best possible outlook for life.

With three medications and instructions to give them twice a day, keep him quiet and still, some physical therapy and massage, and help him to go outside and to potty, we were sent home. Hank had no control in urinating or bowel movements. I was constantly cleaning up where he laid resting. And taking him outside, he required assistance in performing the outside duties. I also needed to massage his back muscles and move his legs to help keep them working and stimulated as the swelling in the injured area went down.

I went to work and had my hours cut back. The only days I work is for the meat department on Thursdays and Sundays. I needed to be home to help Hank get better. I purchased a pet massage/vibrator and used it on Hank’s back and legs four times a day. I would carry him outside to potty. Clean up his messes. After a week, Hank began standing and moving using only one hind leg, the other hung limp. He started gaining the ability to control his bladder and bowels. Hank would still make a mess when he would get up, but at least he was going on his own, not me having to put pressure in certain areas for things to release and expel.

Almost three weeks into the treatments, Hank is starting to use both hind legs. His balance is not good, and he falls when he turns too fast. He is able to control his bladder and bowels. I still continue the medication, massage treatments and moving his legs in the motion of walking and running. The outlook is not so dim, although he is fully retired from herding work.

March was also the last month for lambing, and we had lambs arrive. We had five sets of twins and a lot of singles arrive in March. Fifteen ewes lambed in March.

I had selected two rams and a ewe to show and sale at a yearly show in April. In February I entered the sheep in the show, I learned the rules had changed. In order to show and sale two rams, I had to have three ewes. I selected two more ewes and started feeding them to be ready for the show and sale in April. I also had to seriously work at training the ewes to lead with a halter. I had worked with the rams, but not the ewe and now had two more ewes to train. I also had to get blood work done on the rams, and health papers for each sheep. Fortunately I had made the appointment weeks in advance, but still had to get them to the vet on my own. The sheep also have to be clipped for the show. As of this post I have two clipped, and three needing to be clipped. The weather has not cooperated with the time schedule for getting the task done. Cold temperature and severe storms have kept me from clipping the sheep. The task will be completed this weekend as the weather is warm and sunshine.

All of this on my plate along with the regular duties I do each day of feeding and caring for the sheep, housework and getting a garden planted for this year. My plate overflowed. I am still going, still doing and hoping everything turns out well.

Life throws us curve balls, it is up to us on how we handle those situations. Will we give up and quit or will we push forward, take each day one step at a time and work towards the hoped for goal? The choice is ours to make, the steps are our to take.



2 thoughts on “March Madness 2023”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: