Having a piece of my body removed was scary, I don’t care if I am “just a mule” to some people. Mule mama says it all the time, I’m not stupid, and surgery morning, well I knew something was up because the dad came with her to take me for a trailer ride. Me not being so fond of men hasn’t given us a chance to be the best of friends, so I figured out pretty quickly that this wasn’t going to be a regular day away from the barn. When we got to Mr. Vet’s office, mule mama took me into a stall. Ugh, I’m so not a fan, but she and the dad stayed with me until another man came and led me across to something called a procedure area. That’s when I got a little, shall we say, uncomfortable. Mule mama and the dad left the area so Mr. and Mrs. Vet could calm me down and work their magic on me. It seems that’s exactly what happened.
I’ll clarify – I wasn’t a changed mule overnight. I went home with a shaved shoulder full of sutures and eventually the pain medication wore off and I realized I was in a stall. Ugh…freedom of the pasture had been lost!!! By the next morning I was downright grumpy and rude. Mr. Vet came for a visit and wasn’t happy with my attitude, or the fact that I’d already popped a stitch out of Mrs. Vet’s beautiful handiwork. The goal was to keep the rest of the sutures intact for thirteen more days. Challenge accepted! I managed to bust out at least 4 more by the end of the week, which Mr. Vet assured would only aid in making my scar ugly. Hey, chicks dig scars, right?! It’s not like a mule named “Z” with letters on his butt and spots all over his body couldn’t easily camouflage a piddly little six inch long scar, right???
Fast forward to when day fourteen arrived. My girl and her sweet friend took out what was left of my sutures. Ohhhhhhh, goodness gracious, did that feel great. And then I got to go outside to roll. Poop, dirt, mud, more poop, I rolled in it all and it was uber fantastic. Mule mama cleaned me all up and decided to keep me inside a bit longer, much to my supreme disappointment, so I made myself comfortable back in my stall and settled into a new routine. Over time I noticed something was changing in me. And my ladies noticed it, too.
I felt less fear, less anger, softer, gentler, more trusting, like these ladies were going to be with me through anything, no matter how scary it might seem. We work together, and we play together. We get happy together when we hear other people say nice things about my behavior – especially the ones who have seen my less-than-pleasant side before.
By the spring following my surgery, I was a master of a trail course from conquering the bridge, tarps and everything else mule mama could think of. I had also finally given my girl enough opportunity to trust me that she felt confident enough to ride me in her English saddle, at a posting trot and all. That was one of our favorite days together. Another favorite day was the one where I returned to my life on pasture. I admit, I’m a mule who loves life without walls, until the weather isn’t to my liking, then I’m a mule who enjoys his run-in barn.
Mule mama and Mr. Vet figure there was something psychological also attached to that nasty sarcoid tumor. I don’t know about all that, but I’m so glad it’s gone. It was ugly and made everybody think something was wrong with me. I didn’t really care for all of that attention, but I had to learn to tolerate it. Now that the tumor is gone, I don’t mind people checking me out so much. I still have my john mule days, and I can be pretty standoffish to strangers, but I’m coming around.
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