Surely Awesome Part 4: Waiting, worrying


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On Thursday in this excerpt from the book Equine ER, Surely Awesome went to surgery. Dr. Al Ruggles’ goal was to repair the mare’s shattered long pastern bone, and then hopefully, Surely Awesome would be able to carry her foal to term. 

Given what he had seen in his career, Dr. Al Ruggles gave Surely Awesome a 50-50 chance of surviving, and a 70 percent chance if nothing went wrong in the first four weeks. The month spent waiting to see if the mare could carry her baby passed slowly for the worried humans involved. Techs took her out to graze a bit to keep her from getting bored. Surely Awesome had always been cautious on concrete, and stepped gingerly on the asphalt until she made it to the grass, where she seemed at ease. The X-rays showed the fracture was mending on schedule, and no signs of laminitis surfaced in her other feet. Roughly once each week, Dr. Bonnie Barr put an ultrasound to the mare’s abdomen and looked at the fuzzy night of the screen to check the health of the fetus, timing its heart rate Ð too fast or too slow would indicate stress Ð and making sure there were enough fetal fluids, and the placenta and uterus were healthy. The foal looked well, although it was impossible for the ultrasound to catch everything.

As the baby got heavier, Surely Awesome was found lying down more. However, she was managing better than other mares the hospital staff had seen in similar situations: she had been in good physical condition before the accident and had the personality to handle stress: mellow and patient. She liked her medical team, and when they scratched her withers, she scratched their shoulders back with her muzzle, never nipping with her teeth, as if she knew that would hurt.

Dr. Eric Carlson was the vet on call the night Surely Awesome foaled. He had been an intern the year before and was helping out for a couple weeks before going on to another internship. It was 2 a.m. on a Friday, four weeks after the mare arrived, when he got a message on his cell phone that she was starting to foal. He ran down to Surely Awesome’s stall

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