Friday, August 29, 2008

More Progress!

I have been working on walking. At first I just put a small amount of weight on my leg. I had to use a scale the first few days to measure how much weight I was putting on the leg. I was going too light and needed to put more weight on the leg. But I progressed slowly and this week I discovered I could actually hobble around the house without my crutches for a short period of time! I was so surprised and happy. Yesterday, I even walked on the treadmill for 20 minutes at 1.5 mph.

Tanna had been off for a week because of wet weather (yay!! we needed rain). I didn't want him slipping in the round pen. But today, the pen was ok for working him. Daniel helped get him ready for me before going to work and then I headed down to the pen on the mower as usual. I parked the mower in the middle of the round pen and got off. I secured my crutch in my right hand, the longe whip in the left (braced) hand and sent my horse to work.

Off the mower, it was a lot easier to communicate with him. He responded well to my body language for turning, stopping, and coming in for a treat. No cantering today, though, and no really fast trotting. Just an easy time around the pen.


You can see how much of a track he's worn around the perimeter of the round pen.


After his workout, I asked him to walk to cool down. Then I moved our brand new mounting block near the fence and asked him to step between it and the fence. I stopped him and got up on the block like I was going to get on him. We bought a 19" tall step and it is going to be SO helpful when I start riding again. It will be super easy to get on. Tanna likes to turn to face me when I attempt to mount from a stationary object, that's why I had him next to the fence so he couldn't turn to face me.

Here's the mower and the mounting block.

19" tall mounting block and mower

Next step?? Riding!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Progress Report

Yesterday, I returned to the Middle Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic for my 6 week follow-up visit.

First up was to remove my cast and boot and go in for x-rays.

Waiting for x-ray

L Ankle X-Ray - Day 45

Thumb x-ray

L Thumb X-Ray - Day 45

Dr. McCall then came and let me know the results. Everything looks good and I'm ready to move to the next phase of my healing.

I was provided with a thumb brace and encouraged to remove it to work the thumb to restore flexibility. So far I can barely touch the side of my second finger with the tip of my thumb. Progress!


New thumb brace!

I am also now able to put weight on my ankle. 50# of pressure to start and I can increase that as long as there is no pain. Obviously, I am still to wear the brace while walking.

Leg brace

I also got the good news that I can attempt the 100 mile ride in October. I am to return to see Dr. McCall about 3 weeks before the 100 to validate progress and possibly get a brace that will fit in my shoe.

Riding is still a bit off, but I will continue working Tanna in the round pen until I am able to ride again.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Cast Air Conditioner

This is a do-it-yourself air conditioner for a cast that my husband thought up to help dry my cast.

It consists of a small wet/dry canister vacuum, an upholstery attachment, a hefty bag and of course, duct tape.

Cast Air Conditioner

I insert my hand into the bag, placing my thumb in the hole provided and hold the vacuum attachment with my fingers.

Cast Air Conditioner

Here it is in use. I closed up the hefty bag and turned on the vacuum. Air gets sucked through the cast. Feels really cool and gets rid of any loose skin or cast material. Also helps dry the cast after a shower.

Cast Air Conditioner

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cast Change

Over the weekend, I'd become increasingly uncomfortable in my thumb cast. So today I went back to the Middle TN Bone and Joint Clinic for a cast change.

Cutting cast

Removing the cast revealed some angry red blotches from skin irritation. The blotches were painful and itchy.

Broken Thumb - Day 37 before washing

I spent several minutes at the sink washing my hand and wrist and removing dead skin, being careful of the wounds. One of the pin holes had closed over nicely. The other had a pretty good scab over it still and I left it alone pretty much except for some gentle washing.

Washing hand between cast change

Broken Thumb - Day 37

While washing my hand at the sink, I chatted with the techs moving through the area. Andy and Joy are the two that I see most often so I was asking about my options. I was really hoping to get a brace instead of a cast, but Dr. McCall was not in the office to approve such a move.

Andy offered to give me a cast that I could get wet so I readily agreed to that. One of the major issues with a cast in the humid southern summer is that sweat builds up and dries inside the cast, driving the wearer completely insane. With the new cast, I can at least run water through the cast to clean off the arm and thumb.

So Andy wrapped my cast using Delta-Dry cast padding as the base layer instead of cotton.

Close up of Delta-Dry cast padding

Here's the cast after the first cast layer has been applied. They do all but the last layer in white because it's cheaper than the colored cast material.

Cast before the color layer

I chose purple as the outer color this time for a change from the blue.

Washable cast

I'm much more comfortable in this cast.

Monday, August 11, 2008

AERC National Championship Site

Check out the front page of the AERC National Championship web site for 2008! Anybody you recognize?

The photo was taken by Daniel Johnson: http://www.PicturesDanielTook.com

Round Pen Conditioning

On Sunday, we did another training session in the round pen. Communication is still challenging, but we're getting the job done.

Starting the mower.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Heading across the pasture toward the round pen. Tanna follows the mower without hesitation.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

After we get in the round pen, I close the gate and remove Tanna's lead rope. The I move to the middle of the pen. Tanna continues to follow until asked to move around the perimeter.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Round Pen Training


Many times during the workout, Tanna asks for direction on what he's supposed to be doing.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

I try to be as clear as possible.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Here Tanna's personality shines clearly. Goofy horse.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

When we get done with the workout, I ask for a walk for another 5 minutes.

I remove his halter.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

And open the gate for him to leave.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Friday, August 08, 2008



We got Serena back in 2002 when we moved to our present location. She was about a year old and had lived her entire life in a no-kill shelter. We saw an ad on PetFinder for her sister and her. We were actually more interested in her sister. They were from the same litter, but the sister was smaller.

But the sister was a barker. Very noisy. Wouldn't shut up at all as soon as we got there she started up and wouldn't shut up. The other dogs (there were lots of dogs with the run of a house and a fenced yard...nobody lived in the house...the caretakers lived down the street) would cycle. Some would be barking and then they'd take breaks. But not the sister. I couldn't abide the thought of a dog that barked like that.

But Serena didn't talk at all. Just was quite and watchful. She might have barked a time or two, but not that you could tell.


We chose her. Brought her home and crate trained her. She lived in the house with us for a few months and then we moved her outside.

She loves the horses. Likes to chase 'em. We put a bark collar on her because the only time she barks is when she's trying to rile the horses. I don't mind her running with the horses as long as she doesn't get them scared. My Tanna actually plays with her when she's nice.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Serena used to come run along-side when I rode Tanna down the street, but one day she got chewed up by a bunch of sharp metal by the road and she doesn't come with me anymore. She stays on the property really well. Loves the horses and the cats and doesn't see a reason to leave.

Serena loves to follow me around whenever I'm out in the pasture. She's a good farm dog.

Serena racing to the house

Monday, August 04, 2008

Keeping Tanna in Shape

I cannot walk or ride yet, but Tanna needs some exercise to keep him in shape for going to the 100 mile ride in October. Since Tanna is a wild child, I won't ask any of my friends to ride him. I could never bear it if he flipped out and they got hurt. Tanna does quite well for me because he trusts me and we have been together for over 7 years.

So Daniel put up our round pen, tied Tanna to the trailer and stood back to watch and take pictures as I put Tanna through a workout.

I carefully scooted down the porch steps and got on our riding lawn mower parked at the bottom. I drove to the trailer and untied Tanna. I thought he would object to being led by lawn mower, but he did beautifully.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

I led him into the RP.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

After closing the RP gate, I picked up my lunge whip leaning against the panels, unhooked Tanna and drove into the middle of the pen. I turned off the mower and fed Tanna a sugar cube.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Next, it was time to work.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Periodically, I asked Tanna to change direction. It was quite a challenge communicating without freedom of movement. He wanted to understand, but he didn't sometimes.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

What would a workout be without a couple of Garmin Forerunners along for the fun? Tanna had my 305 strapped to his halter to record his distance. I had my 405 on my wrist, keeping track of how long he went in each direction and how long the workout was in total.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Here is a nice wide angle shot of the round pen.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Tanna definitely had an attitude, but he was so good.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

After we were done, I slipped off Tanna's halter and let him out into the pasture. He had gone 3 miles in the RP. We will repeat this process 2-3 times a week until I can ride again. It should be enough to keep him in shape until I can get back on. Thanks to Angie for the idea and the encouragement. :)

First 100 Mile Entry Mailed

Today, I filled out and mailed my entry to the 100 Mile National Championship Ride. The ride will be October 16, 2008, in Henryville, Indiana. This will be my and Tanna's first 100 mile ride.

Even though I'm still not walking, I am optimistic that we will be able to go!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Doctor Visit - Fri, Aug 1

Late Wednesday afternoon, my left thumb (the broken one) began to give me problems. It was quite painful. The pain kept me from sleeping well.

Thursday morning, Daniel took me to the clinic to see what could be done. My surgeon, Dr. McCall, was in surgery all day, so I was unable to see him. The clinic staff removed my splint and found a sore beginning to develop under my pins.

Irritated skin

Another surgeon gave me a prescript for antibiotics, they rewrapped my thumb, and sent me home.

I felt ok for awhile (nice pain meds), but even with the meds, the pain was intense and disturbing. When I woke up this morning, I was in more pain. My thumb was painful. It was painful to move my fingers or even touch my other fingers. I immediately took a pain pill, which dulled the pain some. We called and got an appointment with my surgeon and went in to see him.

They removed my splint. Ouch.

Pins and irritated skin

And took new x-rays of my thumb.


L Thumb X-Ray Side View - Day 27

L Thumb X-Ray Top View - Day 27

Then I went to an exam room where Dr. McCall examined the x-rays, my thumb, and my leg. He pronounced that the pins were going to come out. That would relieve the pain. It has been almost 4 weeks since the accident, so the pins have done their job.

Back to the cast rooms, where Tiffany removed my pins. The process of removing the pins was painful, but Tiffany did a good job of steadily doing her job and getting the pins out. I didn't watch.

Pins removed - Yuck!!

And another tech gave me a shiny new blue cast.

On the way home with new cast

The pain lessened steadily after the pins were removed. Now the pain is well-controlled with pain meds.

I have an appointment in a little over 2 weeks for a follow-up. I'm still non-weight-bearing on my ankle, but I am doing leg strengthening exercises at least 3 times a week, so I hope to be ready when I'm able to start walking again.