We have had many things break our way in the last couple of days, 1. They identified the bacteria in Epona's lungs, and the results came back earlier than predicted, with a medication that should be successful, and 2. She is eating and drinking well at the hospital, and has maintained a great deal of energy and gregariousness. She does very well eating and drinking at chest level, and can even tolerate eating hay at lower headsets.
The overall prognosis, right now, is very good. They want us to continue this form of eating indefinitely, but expect that she will mature out of most of it. If there are any lingering effects, when she starts her athletic training, there is a surgery that can be performed when she's older that pulls the flap forward where food and water go down. It doesn't retract properly in her. I'll write more about that later, when I understand it better. But the vet said that is way, way down the road, and might not ever be necessary at all. It's good to know there are options down the road, if needed.
Her eye is completely healed, and she has started the new antibiotic regimen, so she is ready to be picked up tonight at 4:00 pm, when the vet can talk to us more about follow up here at home.
Concerns now are keeping her on solid food once she gets back here and sees mama, and dealing with behavioral issues she has developed, what my friend calls "typical bonding security issues of foals". The vet doesn't want her anywhere near mama, or any mares that might start lactating (such as Foxy). She said it is very common for mares to develop milk when they're around babies, as we saw Foxy do a couple of weeks ago. And mamas will take their babies back even months after a separation. For that reason, she suggested giving her a gelding as a companion.
A gelding as a companion? That really leaves us with Tumbleweed and Cowboy, and since Tumbleweed is being pulled out a lot, and needs the space to run with the herd, I'm thinking it must be Cowboy. I'm not sure if Cowboy has what it takes to curb an athletic foal like Epona, but we will give it a try. In the near future, they will only be stalled next to each other, and not let out together, so we'll have plenty of time to evaluate.
My "empty hands" lesson in life has already helped resolve many lingering issues. One, I had someone close to me hurting, and I had intervened, thinking I had just the right words or advice to help. I did not. It backfired spectacularly and damaged our relationship. Yesterday, I sent a text to that person, apologizing for my poor choice in words, but making myself available to them, should they need me, and expressing the fact that it was done in love, however misguided and inept it had been. They responded back immediately in love and appreciation. Empty hands, extended in love, letting go of the outcomes that are beyond our control.
Second, it helped with Epona. I feel quite free now, when contemplating her future. I'm not singularly cursed, as I saw by spending a week in a veterinary clinic. And I'm not entirely in control of the outcome. No one is. Her vet bill was much lower than expected, which I hope will encourage my daughter to keep full ownership, but if not, and the future is too uncertain, I will gladly take on the co-ownership--whichever works out best for all.
Not having Epona here at the house left an empty spot in our hearts. My husband and I missed her very much, and we're looking forward to this next chapter of her care.
Epona came into our lives for a reason. Her presence has taught us all hard lessons. But she has also expanded our hearts in ways we never imagined. Even our love for each other, as we come together for her sake, in this densely intertwined family journey.