So what if a thirty year old, three legged goat can walk faster than me, I still get my chores done, eventually. When the doctor informed me the first of December that I had to have a knee replaced and he was getting ready to set the surgery up, I was aghast. That means shocked speechless for those of you just waking up and surprised to hear the news as much as I was. Someone as young as me (no snickering, please) needing such a thing.
I had Jan., Feb, March kidding coming up. 4-H wethers to be born, besides some of my full bloods. I know it wasn’t that many, 45 or so to kid, but still you get busy. And, I couldn’t let my girls kid alone in the coldest of winters. I would lose babies, even if they were being kidded in the barn. That barn gets cold when it’s fifteen degrees below on the outside and we were having one artic blast after another hit us.
So, in my best goat farmer professional tone I said, “No, no, no, no. Patch me up until kidding is over, can’t you? Please, please, please.” Reluctantly the doctor agreed, after I explained what kidding was and how important it was I be there in the dead of winter.
I know my husband Lee is one of the best kidding partners ever, but he had a job off the farm and no way he could handle all the kidding, even taking some days off, and all the chores of caring for around 100 head of goats, too, all by himself. And, sometimes it takes two to kid, one to hold the goat steady while the other goes in after a reluctant kid that really doesn‘t want to see the new world.
The doctor said we would try a cortisone shot first and see if that would hold me together and help with the pain. Upon saying that he took out a syringe with an amazingly long needle on it. Then he proceeded to peel me from the ceiling and calm me down by saying, “This probably won’t hurt much.”
For the love of my girls and their babies, I took a grip on that table and forced myself to hold still. Then he whipped out a spray can of something and froze the area where he was going to inject the cortisone and then explained that the cortisone had a pain killer in the syringe too. And, I never felt the shot, and ho boy, I was ready to feel that shot. It was amazing seeing that long of needle going into my knee. He said I would know if the shot was going to help any within five days but if the knee went, then the knee went, and something would have to be done.
Fair enough I said and off I hobbled. It’s amazing that hobbling is such an art. There are certain ways to hobble, depending on the terrain, and just how contrary your knee is feeling that day. Some days it’s so stiff you feel like Chester on the old Gun Smoke series, swinging an old stiff leg around beside you. Other days, it just doesn’t want to make the trip and tends to sort of drag behind, refusing to keep up with even little steps. And, little steps, that’s a life saver. I take giant steps with the good knee and teeny tiny steps with the bad knee and off I go to finish the chores, a bit uneven but I‘m traveling.
The goats have adapted quite well to my hobbling. They know they can catch me now. I have had to learn to be very devious when I carry the feed bucket, peeking around corners, making sure gates are shut so they can’t get to me while I put the feed in the feeders. I move so slow now, sometimes I surprise them when I do move, like darting out a hand when I finally get in the middle of the herd, and catching someone that needs worming.
During kidding, hurrying down the hill when I heard a doe in labor over the baby monitor was a trial, but I did my best and the girls did try so hard to hold off until I got there. Once down the hill and in the barn and I saw it might be an hour or two before the doe was actually going to kid, I’d usually just sit on a bucket, turn the radio on real low, and just waited, rather than make that trip up the hill to the house and then back down again.
Usually I kept snacks down at the barn for such times, carefully stored in tin cans to keep the rats out. All sorts of low carb protein bars were stuffed in those cans and I also kept diet Pepsi’s in the barn. You didn’t have to protect the diet pops. I never met a rat that loved diet pop in our barn, so it was safe.
Hobbling has paid off. We have 100 kids safely on the ground and I am busy hobbling around caring for the lot. The plan is to get everyone taken care of, weaned, sent to their new homes, whether for 4-H or for other goat purposes, and when it warms up, plan on that knee replacement surgery. If the knee holds up.
I was really hoping that when I did have to have my knees replaced that I could get bionic knees, able to leap tall dirt clods in a single bound, walk faster than a hundred year old turtle, and be able to dodge and dart to catch tricky old does not wanting to be wormed. Well, you can’t have everything. Maybe next time.