This whole business with Flora has made me realize that I have come such a long, long way from the beginning of my homesteading experience, a little over six years ago. In my previous life, I had chickens, goats, a llama, and an alpaca. But - for any problem/issue at all, I called the veterinary and they sent someone out. I had cute rubber boots with flowers on them. I wore little goatskin gloves and designer coveralls. I had a full time job and a boyfriend. I ate out at restaurants and had a clothing budget. Then that particular dream turned nightmarish and ended.
When I moved to this little place, I put chickens in as soon as possible. Then I moved through a series of good moves/bad moves (turkeys/quail/pigs/ducks/too many sheep). I think that, when you've waited all your life for this kind of life, you can sort of lose your mind if you're not careful. After a rough patch of hiccups, bumps and missteps, I am closing in on the right balance. I learned quickly that you better take out a second mortgage if you're going to be calling the vet for every little thing. Even for bigger things that you don't think you can handle on your own. Thanks to good fortune, a benign Universe, pure luck, and a little divine intervention (just to cover all my bases), I ended up with friends who have been there/done that, and - most importantly of all, just down the road there is a knowledgeable, funny, smart neighbor (that would be you, Kay) who has helped fortify my self-confidence immeasurably. I've also taken the time to read a lot and have developed a good animal husbandry library. That beats running around, wringing your hands and looking for someone to save you any day.
Flora has been a handful. A sweet, loving handful, but a tough nut, nonetheless. After reveling in my celebration-ette of finishing the nine day penicillin treatment, I went out Thursday morning to find fluid building up under her jaw. Again. This time, I called the vet. But, instead of making an appointment for a farm call (cha-CHING), I asked to speak to one of the vets. I then went through the litany of symptoms, treatments, temperature, yadda-yadda. We talked about cardiac problems, parasite problems, fluid build-up, quality and quantity of sheep droppings. We talked raspy breathing and runny noses. She prescribed two new medications, to be injected sub-cu every three days (hooray on both counts). When I hung up the phone, I stood and emptied my pockets - hanky, reading glasses, empty syringe, notebook, pen, green tomato, and goat treat crumbles.
I still had to take a 5 minute shower, dress for work and drive an hour and a half to the vet's to pick up the meds, then an hour and a half to work. But I believe I am getting close to arriving at where I want to be.