the good, the bad, and the sleep deprived

As I mentioned in this post, they put my on steroids for my neck, they were a mixed bag. Absolutely helped with my neck and arm issues; there was an immediate improvement in symptoms, which was great. Now that they are done (Tuesday morning was the last dose) the issues in my neck are definitely making themselves known, but overall they are still better than they were and my left arm is significantly better. However, steroids also compromise your body’s ability to fight off infection and for me they made it impossible to sleep. For over a week now I haven’t gotten more than two consecutive hours at a time. Those two things combined to weaken my immune system and now I find myself with a cold on top of everything else; just when we have what may be our last string of nice weather for the year my body decides it doesn’t want to do anything but be in bed. For once I am trying to actually rest at the onset of a cold, instead of pushing through like nothing is wrong, which is my normal method. That method almost always leads to the cold turning into either a sinus infection, or an ear infection, or strep throat, or that really fun winter break when I got a double ear infection and strep throat – good times. I’m trying to be smarter this time around. I actually called in sick to work on Wednesday (!), have been napping (I never nap!) and going to bed early, and generally trying to let my body rest. It has been a struggle – I am not good at resting.

The other fun side affect of terrible sleep is the impact it has on my mental health. Even the most minor things feel like disasters and things that are genuinely not good are cause for a complete meltdown. The biggest of which was Leeloo deciding she didn’t want me to touch her anymore. On Monday a friend came over to drop something off and meet the horses and as we were by Leeloo I went to touch her side and she pinned her ears and made an aggressive head swing at me. She has never done that to anyone, much less me, in her life. My first thought was that something might be wrong physically, but we watched her, and she was eating, drinking, and pooping just fine. That doesn’t eliminate every medical cause, but I am not concerned about anything being immediately life threatening. It also means the cause may just be me, or more likely the fact that our relationship has changed drastically and neither of us is handling it well. I am now out in her space 6+ times a day, but never spending time with her. I’m always doing chores or dealing with Juniper’s **** eye, I’m never spending time with Leeloo, other than to occasionally yell at her when she takes two bites of the hay we just put out and then steps forward and is about to pee in it! (This is why we need to get those hay boxes done!) But Leeloo not wanting attention and being aggressive instead is like the sun rising in the west; it is absolutely unheard of.  I was very upset. I would have been upset no matter what, but that combined with extreme sleep deprivation meant I really, really did not take it well. I know that what we need to do is spend some quality time with just Leeloo and I, outside of the “horse space” and in a “human/horse space.”  The problem is I don’t have such a space, and I won’t for weeks yet. But I cannot just ignore this, so I have been intentionally making time to be with Leeloo every day; going up to her first every morning, instead of going directly to give Juniper her medicine, and spending the time waiting between eye meds with Leeloo when she wants to, which she doesn’t always want to (which is so abnormal – I just cannot explain how unusual it is for Leeloo to not want attention). We are starting to see some improvement, and Thursday she let me pet her neck and her back without pinning her ears and moving away, so I am hopeful that this fracture in our relationship can be repaired relatively quickly; but it has been heartbreaking.

Luckily (for my sleep, we’ll see about my neck/arm) the steroids are done which means I should start getting more than two consecutive hours of sleep at a time – which will be a huge boost for my mental health. Then we just need these eye meds to wrap up (3-5 more weeks) and the hay shed to get here (4ish weeks) – just need to survive until then!

Thank you to my friend Cara for taking this photo of Leeloo and I – realizing I have very few photos of the two of us since usually I’m the one taking the pictures. We’ll need to add a photo shoot to our endless to-do list.