Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tough, Bloody Night

Monday night, August 18th. I was right in the middle of getting a great Liberty assessment on video when I noticed Capaill was stuck in the fence. His right leg was stuck in the wire. I dropped everything and ran. Steve was my cameraman and he instantly jumped on the ATV to meet me there. We did a first try to free him, but the wire was too embedded. We needed to cut him out.

Steve drove back for wire cutters and a lead rope. I stayed with Capaill and tried to keep him calm. I was hoping to avoid him wrestling any more and embedding the wire deeper. He was bleeding profusely. There was a steady stream of blood dripping. It was like a faucet. I knew he could bleed out and we had to be swift. After Steve came back with wire cutters and we freed him, I had to figure out what to do to get the blood flow under control. I tried a tourniquet at first. It made a difference. I was using bailing twine. Capaill was not a maniac, but he wasn't very cooperative. He would rear and move periodically, but I just stuck with him. I'd give him a 5 sec break and get back on it.

He was still losing too much blood. I tried compression by putting a towel around the wound with medical tape as tight as I could. That was ineffective. Finally, I decided to try to simply bend his leg at the knee and hold his feet as close to his barrel as possible. Bingo. Blood flow came to nearly a halt. I really thought we were going to lose him. As I was trying to stop the bleeding, I was also trying to get a doctor on his way. Tom's on-call service wasn't working right (Dr. Squires', actually). Finally got a callback from Dr. Meuller, but Tom was already on his way.

I was holding the leg, Nancy showed up and was holding the lead, Pat was passing Nancy carrots in an effort to keep him eating and alive. He was sweating, shaking and shivering, and he seemed to be in shock. He had loose stool frequently. I really thought he was a goner.

Tom showed up with all his calm reserve and I could finally start to see us coming out of this with a horse on this side of the grass. He blocked him from the knee down Capaill calmed. He was then able to get the wire out. It was fugly. He then bandaged it enough so that Capaill could walk to the barn. He was in the west pasture and would have to traverse about 5 acres of pasture. It was dark and I was amazed we'd gotten done what we had with only the lights of the ATV and later a small flashlight.

Tom decided not to stitch it or cast it. He didn't think Capaill would do well in a cast and it would require that for any stitches to hold. So, he cleaned it up nicely and wrapped it tight. Capaill severed a major artery and one of two nerves to the hoof. However, he's going to live and we are all so relieved. We'll have to watch and see how it heals. Oh boy.

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