I say "carefully," because most of my attempts were made with the homemade equivalent of a HazMat suit. Gloves. Goggles. Face-covering ski mask.
Saving Argus is not always fun.
Last Monday's antics were not without consequence. During my struggle with Argus, that lovely sulfa/rifampin mixture was splashed in my mouth and face. Despite a desperate rinse in the water bucket, those mucous membranes sure do work fast to absorb drugs! Yes, they do.
And so, on Thursday, itchy beyond belief and covered in welts, I found myself making another embarassing call to the advice nurse:
NURSE: "You called before about this same type of problem," came the voice of the perturbed advice nurse at the other end of the line.
ME: "Yeah, well, it's just that I have this horse who is really, really sick. Have you ever heard of pigeon fever? No? Well, he's got it and I've got to get these drugs into him orally for TWO MONTHS, and it's just...well...challenging at times. I protect myself as much as I can."
Secretly, I feel like such a fool.
NURSE: "Well, you know that each time you have a reaction, you are increasing your risk. The next reaction could be very serious."
ME: (Embarassed) "I know. I know. It won't happen again."
My husband Ken, who has suffered long, and patiently, in his life with his crazy horse-loving wife, recounted all the little injuries I've suffered over the years because of my involvement with horses. "This," he pronounced, inspecting my impressive welts with admiration, "beats everything."
So Thursday, Friday and Saturday had me popping Benadryl, with my trunk, armpits, breasts, and scalp covered in a flat red rash that seemed to change and move by the hour. Dazed by the benadryl, I felt like I had cotton stuffed in my head all weekend. Not even coffee made a difference. By Sunday evening, a few lonely patches of red were all that remained.
And, out of necessity, I had perfected "The New And Improved Method For Medicating Argus."
Since Argus is feeling better, he is eating better. I dissolved the TMS tablets in hot water, added lots of strawberry jello, mixed the rifampin in, and sprinkled this mixture into Argus' all-in-one. He ate it! A miracle! We are syringe free since Saturday night, and the risk to me of further reactions is greatly diminished.
That, and Argus stopped believing in "the powers of the great black blindfold" right around the same time. He is one smart horse.
This is my father. He pets Argus' nostrils very softly. Argus likes this very much.
And this is Argus and his good friend, Odie the Mule, out in pasture yesterday. Argus stays in the stall/paddock at night and goes out during the day now. He is happy to go out again, but equally happy to come back in at night. In fact, he stands in front of his paddock gates and weaves at dinnertime. That's new!
Argus is starting to feel so much better. Over the weekend, he cantered in the pasture. He tires easily, but he has a lot more energy than even a week ago.
It's only January, but already the yellow mustard is starting to bloom in the vineyards. February is a wonderful time in Sonoma County, as so many vineyards are full of mustard.
Here's rescue horse Caleb during a schooling ride last week. He's moving along well in his training, and he is looking for an adoptive home! Caleb is starting to do some really nice lateral work: shoulder in, haunches in, leg yields. He loves to learn and is fun to train. Caleb is located at my farm in Santa Rosa, CA.