I should have known something was going to pop up. Saving money isn’t easy for me, as the owner of a dog, 2 cats, 2 horses, and a crappy car – something is always breaking.
2012 – squirrel puppy’s knees have always been bad, as she was born with luxating patellas in both. A month before our wedding, she woke up and couldn’t walk. We ended up dropping about $3k on her, in between emergency vet visits (even drove 2 hrs to see a canine neurologist, didn’t even know those existed), the surgery to shave down a bit of her bone to make the “groove” deeper in her knee & screw it all back together, and then aftercare. That was fun.
2013 – oh look, I got $1200 back from taxes. oh look, my car needs new tires and brakes all around, and the bill is exactly $1200.01. Awesome. Then it needed some kind of $300 sensor, and then some other kind of $300 sensor, and then the gas gauge went wonky to the tune of $275, etc etc etc.
Now that we’re crashing with our parents like teenagers and saving all kinds of cash (yay no rent!), it’s obviously time to get hit with something else major, right? Of course.
This time it’s major and scary and frustrating, mostly because it involves my retired 29 year old Arabian gelding, who, up to this point, has been relatively healthy his entire life. My old man, Kemo Sabe, has been dealing with cataracts and uveitis (aka moon blindness) for the last few months, and now his right eye has a fungal infection due to scratching the cornea in his attempts to relieve the pain/pressure during a flare up. Not only does he look his age (29!), but his eye has become all squinty and watery and seriously painful looking. At this point, the cataract has grown large enough that it’s blocking sight, and the inflammation from the uveitis has killed what little vision he had, so he’s blind in that eye anyway. But now with the fungal infection, the vet wants to remove his eye. Yup, remove his eye. REMOVE.HIS.EYE, people!
I don’t do well with unexpected news of any sort where I need to make a decision. Luckily, the barn manager is Kemo’s fairy godmother, and she called the vet out last week who made the call that his eye should be removed asap – fairy godmother sent me a very thorough, calm email laying out all of our options.
Commence freak out – I basically threw my phone across the room and pouted all weekend (but I don’t WANT to remove his eye…it’s so permanent! But it’s so painful for him, it’ll make him feel better…but I’m disfiguring him! etc), then did some research on Sunday night, and finally called the vet on Monday to get more details and schedule the enucleation (fancy schmance word for EYEBALL REMOVAL) if they still thought he needed it.
I met with them on Tuesday, they shined a flashlight in both eyes, peered into the icky eye as best as they could (Kemo’s in full-on “squint mode” at this point), and said yup, surgery is best option, and they could do it Thursday – aka tomorrow. Barf.
Technically, the vet said “If we knew he only had 6 months left, I would offer up different management solutions. Enucleation is gruesome and I hate doing them, but he’ll be pain free in 2 weeks. It’s up to you, but I truly think removing his eye will be the most comfortable for him.”
yeah, he said “gruesome” – thanks, like I wasn’t horrified enough.
Before everyone jumps all over me, there is no question that I will do anything I can to keep him comfortable. He is not comfortable now, he’s clearly in pain and has been for months with the uveitis. He’s already blind, so it’s not like we’re taking out a functioning eye, and he won’t have a rough adjustment period like most horses if a seeing eye was removed suddenly. It’s just hard for me to come to terms with removing an organ b/c it is truly permanent – there is definitely no going back from this. Plus, Kemo has done so much for me and my family – he has “I’m a good boy” stamped all over him. I just feel like this is a terrible way for him to spend his golden years, after being such a willing partner for 15 years.
<sighs and blows nose>
Ok, now that I’m over feeling sorry for myself, on to the interesting parts – they’re removing his eye while he’s still standing. Just so you know, I’m no stranger to equine surgeries. Luminaire, my other horse, has undergone two colic surgeries (I watched both – I came away from both thinking “wow, where do all those intestines GO in there? How does it all fit?”), as well as a laundry list of other injuries, so I’m fascinated with all things vet-related. They are going to heavily sedate him so he’s chill but still standing, walk him into stocks, wind him up into a sling/pulley system in case he goes down, prop his head onto a tall table thing, numb his eye, and insert a ginormous needle into his eye socket in order to nerve block that area – and then, you know, get to the ick part. Then they’ll sew the socket closed and send him home once he’s awake – he doesn’t even need to stay overnight for observation!
It’s beyond crazy to me that eye removal = day surgery.
Also, I think Kemo will be ADORABLE dressed as a pirate for Halloween this year.
Oh, and to tie this post with its title? Surgery will cost about a grand, with probably another $500 going towards meds and post op visits. Yay for $$ shooting out of my pocket like it’s on fire. Oh well, I guess this is what money is for, right?