Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Man Down

Even though the head gate is rusty, it still serves it's purpose, but only if it was installed properly.
Two of our heifers have pink eye and we needed to treat it right away so that is wouldn’t get any worse.  And since we were going to have to go through the trouble of bringing those two girls up, we thought we would bring up the rest of girls and do everything we need to do at one time.  The cattle needed to be wormed and they needed some fly spray. 

Our way of worming is a small pinch of tobacco, and the fly spray consists of Scope mouth wash mixed with a little bit of water in a spray bottle; something that we heard about from a friend (now whether the methods work or not, that we can talk about later).

In order for us to get to where we could "treat" the girls, we needed to round them up and put them in the corral.  Once we got them in the corral, we could run them through the shoot and into the *head gate. 

Now, we've used the shoot and the head gate quiet a few times before; once to pull a calf and other times to worm the cattle.  And THANKFULLY, we haven't had any problems with either one because if we did, it could have been devastating, especially since The Rancher and his wife and The Farrier, who has also doubled as the "vet" have been here to show us and teach us what to do while using them.

But this time it was different.

Barrett, Tanner, and Cooper were able to, without any trouble, get the girls into the corral and run the first heifer through the shoot and locked in the head gate without a problem.  She took her tobacco and got her fly spray and she was off.  She didn't have pink eye, so she was off and back to the corral with the other girls in no time. 

After they were done with her, I called Barrett over by me because I needed to ask him a question.  I was standing near the hay barn which is about 10 yards away from the corral where they were working.  I was working with the new Jersey cows that we just brought down to the farm.

So Barrett walked away and left Tanner and Copper to put the next heifer in the shoot and lock her in the head gate.

Once she was locked in, Cooper grabbed the spray bottle with his right hand and put his left hand on one of the posts that was attached to the head gate and started to spray her.  Then, as Tanner started to walk away to grab the LS200 to put in her eye to treat the pink eye, he heard Cooper starting to yell.  So he turned around, and could see that the heifer had just "freaked out" and pushed her head down so hard that the bottom of the head gate had come loose and the top of the gate had caught and pinched Cooper's finger between the gate and the post.

So Tanner quickly ran back to the gate and pushed in the bottom of the gate which let go of Coopers finger and freed him from the post.  And just as Cooper had taken a few steps back while shaking his hand in pain, and as he started to walk around the corral while trying to hold back the tears, the heifer reared up again, but this time, while still locked in the gate, she completely ripped the head gate off the eye bolts. 

You can see how the bolts are just sitting on the eye bolt and not secured.

Barrett and I heard the commotion, and looked over as Tanner was calling for Barrett.  Then both of us went running over there.  As I got closer I could see that the heifer, who is over 700 pounds, and who was still locked in the head gate, had pushed her way forward out of the shoot.  And the force of her trying to get out, along with the weight of the head gate, had caused the gate to slam her head face down into the ground and her front hooves to stand on top of the gate.

I thought for sure we were going to loose her and wow, what a mess we were in!

The bottom right eye bolt that had been bent at some point before we came to the ranch.

Not knowing how or if the guys were going to be able to get the gate off her neck or not, I called to Shane because I thought we were going to need his help.  He had just come home from work and was in the house which is about 100 yards away from the corral.  First I yelled to him, but then I realized that he might not have heard me, so I **whistled as loud as I could.

He was out the ***door in no time, and was headed over to the corral.

Once Cooper realized what was going on with the heifer, the pain that he was having seemed to disappear for the time it took him and Tanner to pick up the head gate and get the heifer to stand up.  All I can say it that there was a lot of adrenaline flowing at this point, in all of us!

As the heifer's head came up off the ground, she turned and was violently trying to walk backwards with the 200 lb. gate around her neck, while Tanner and Cooper tried to hold it up off the ground.  And just before she rammed herself into the back of the corral, Tanner was able to flip the lever that opened the gate and she was free.

And there she stood, as if nothing had happened. 

After she was free, Tanner and Cooper carried the head gate and set it up against the back of the corral and the pain that Cooper was having in his finger came back in full force.

Then Cooper and I headed for the house.

As we were quickly walking back to the house, I asked him what had happened to his hand and he said that the tip of his finger was smashed in the head gate. 

I knew right away that we had to bleed his finger to relieve the pressure that had built up under his nail.  So while we were trying to get back to the house as quick as we could, I asked Cooper if he knew where a small drill bit was that we could use to bleed his finger.  He said there was one in the barn by the house so he went over and grabbed the drill bit as I went into the house to prepare to drill his finger.

When I got in, I asked Emma if she could do it because I was starting to think about what had just happened and how it could have been worse.  And also, thinking about the pain that Cooper was in, I was starting to get sick so I didn't think I could help him.

Well, Emma gave me a look that I took as, No, I am not doing that!

At that point I told myself that I had to do it and just that fast, I immediately composed myself and got to work.  There was no time for me to have a melt down and feel sorry for myself, I needed to do this because I didn't have time to take him anywhere; it needed to be done now. 

I quickly cleaned the drill bit that Cooper brought to me and then I realized that it didn't have a sharp tip on it and it wasn't going to work.  So I asked him if he knew of another one and he said he did.  So he went back to the barn and brought me another one.  Well, same thing:  no sharp tip!

This kid was in so much pain that I, I mean he, didn't have any time to waste and here I have him running back and forth trying to come up with a drill bit that would work!!

Deep down in my heart, I knew what I really needed to do, but I didn't want to do it.  Why?  I don't know!

No, wait a minute, I do know!  This was something that my husband always did, not me!  But he wasn't here and now I was "the one".  Anyway, all I know is that I was wasting time and putting it off and enough was enough!!

I asked the girls to get me a ****needle and a match so I could heat the head of the needle, but Cooper grabbed the torch instead that just happened to be close by, so I used that instead.

Once Cooper lit the torch, I put the needle into the flame to heat up the tip, then I stuck the nail with the tip of the needle where the blood was pooling and it didn't do anything.  So I did it again, and this time, with more force, the tip of the needle punctured the nail so that some of the blood came oozing out, but he was still in so much pain.  I think I did it 3 or 4 more times and finally, I was able to get almost all of the blood out to relieve most of the pressure.       

When we were done, we had him hold up his hand and put pressure on his finger and try to get him to soak his finger in Epsom salt when he felt he could.  He was starting to get light headed so we just made sure that he was comfortable and that he wasn't going to try and get up anytime soon.  He was down, at least for now.

Unfortunately, Cooper, was right in the middle of raking hay when this happened, so I though that he wasn't going to be able to finish, which is not a good thing, because once you start the process of making hay, you have to keep at it until it's done.  You never know when the weather is going to change, and if it rains on the hay, we could loose the whole crop. 

Thankfully, a couple of hours later into the evening he was feeling better and was up and walking around, but I still thought that he wasn't going to be able to finish the hay and we would have to put one of the other guys on it.  But thankfully, by the next morning, as if nothing had happened, he was right back on the tractor, back to raking the hay.

We've had enough "accidents" happen in our lives that we've been able to learn a few things here and there, just like other people.  And that helps us to be able to do some quick fixes or treatments that we might need to do.

The last time we had a smashed finger, it was Shane that we had to take to the doctors office to relieve his pain.  But this time, when the doctor bled his nail, blood went shooting all over the office.  It was quiet disgusting, but Shane felt so much better and we just laughed at the whole thing once he was done.  Actually it was pretty “cool” and the Doctor wasn’t phased by it at all.   

We live pretty close to a small hospital if we really need to go to one and we also have Air Evac, but there are times, just like what happened to Cooper, that we need to be able to take care of somethings ourselves.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When I was younger I worked as a life guard and along with my "life saving" training, we also had some basic training in first aid, but it's been a long time now, and I think it’s time to take another course.  This time I think our whole family needs to take a course because you never know when we might need it.

One thing that I've realized, and I guess I have known all along, is that when you're hit with an emergency or an accident, don't panic.  It's easy to say and it sounds good in a book, but when real life situations happen, that's when you really need to work at not going into panic mode.  Stay calm and think about what you need to do to help the other person.  And then, do what you need to do as far as calling for help,

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Coopers nail looks really good and only time will tell if he is going to loose his nail or not.  And soon, this too will become just a memory.

And as far at the heifer goes, she hasn't shown any signs of trauma and so far she is doing great.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*head gate - This head gate was here when we purchased the property so we had nothing to do with it's set up.  But now looking back, we should have checked to make sure that it was in working order and that it was properly secured.  But who would have thought to have done that?  And unfortunately, that's why things are called "accidents" because you don't anticipate things going wrong.

**whistled - My dad taught me to whistle when I was in 4th grade and I practiced and practiced until I could whistle, first with 2 hands and 4 fingers; 2 fingers from each hand (index finger and middle finger), then with 2 hands and 1 finger from each hand (index fingers), and then only one hand, making a "circle" with my thumb and middle finger.  It's not very "lady like," I know,  but it sure has come in handy a lot of times in my life. 

And I don't tell you this because I think I'm something special - not at all.  It's just something that I learned when I was younger and had no idea how important it would become.  Only Shane has learned other than me and he can whistle really loud without any fingers.  My family knows to answer to my whistle and it's soooooooo much louder than I or anyone else could ever yell.

***door - When I asked Shane later if he heard me, he said that he heard me call, but when he heard me whistle, he told Emma that something was wrong and they both jumped up.

****needle - After talking to The Rancher and his wife about what happened, they said that they have done the same thing with a paper clip instead of a needle.  And that makes sense because the tip of a needle is a lot smaller than the tip of a paper clip.

August 25, 2015

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