Archive for December, 2009

Bobby Lee Payne (my Dad) was born the first son of a farming family in Curdsville, KY in 1936. Hard work and hard lessons would serve him well.

He had to grow up fast, first to help take care of his 3 younger brothers and the farm, then to take care of his own fledgling family. He married his high school sweetheart and became a father at the tender age of 17. Having two girls, Vicki Anne & Rhonda, one right after the other, made the boy have to quickly become a man. I don’t know all the specifics but I know he and Barbara tried hard to make their marriage and family work. But they were kids themselves. Back in those days, divorce was like a scarlet letter. It was simply not done. It didn’t matter if people were terribly unhappy, you suffered through it. That is, unless you were strong enough to go against what society says you should do. Both of my parents were just that strong.

However it came to be, Bobby met his soul mate during this heart wrenching time. Aggie (my Mom) was coming from the exact same place. She’d ended an unhappy marriage herself and was raising 4 young kids on her own. Wow! I can only imagine the talk of the small town when these two got together. They married despite all the disapproval. I came along a few years later. It would take me a long time to fully understand why I was told by my grandparents, “I love you anyway, even though you’re Bobby’s” or “I love you anyway, even though you’re Aggie’s”. I hold a unique position in our family, as I am the only one, while being part of many.

That’s Dad trying to teach me how to give a kiss.

Blended families are part of our everyday culture now. In the 60’s it was not. But Mom and Dad did just that. They blended the two families – Vicki Anne & Rhonda from Dad; Julie, Tony, Peggy & Vickie Jean from Mom. Yep, I have two sisters named Vicki. Dad never made any distinction between kids and step-kids. We were all just his kids. They also did something that is quite admirable. Both maintained (and I’m sure it wasn’t easy) lifelong friendships with their former spouses. As far as I remember, they were part of our family.

From left to right: Me, Julie, Vicki Anne, Rhonda, Tony, Peggy, Vickie Jean

Dad was good-looking, competitive, athletic, fun, charming, protective, caring to a fault, intimidating, stoic, yet sensitive. None of us are perfect and he wasn’t, either. But, I do know anything he did or didn’t do came from the place of loving and protecting us. Looking back on things as an adult I can say that most (if not all) of the time, they were probably right. He knew exactly what those boys were after that came to pick up his daughters. He scared the bejeezus out of all the neighborhood boys, even those that were just friends. They called him “The Bear” and he wouldn’t say a word to them. He didn’t have to. He’d just sit there and look.

One of our many vacations at Kentucky Lake. That’s me and Dad.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are going to the driving range and horse track with Dad. Just me and him. We never spoke much. Didn’t have to. At the track he’d park me by the paddock where the jockeys tacked up the horses and he’d go peruse the racing form. I would stay there for hours fantasizing about having my own horse, or being a jockey or countless other things related to the majestic animals. I’ve been able to make that dream come true now as a middle-aged woman. I have two horses to call my own. Dad was excited for me and would always ask about them. I think it took him on a nostalgia trip back to his farm days. My biggest regret is he didn’t get to meet them in person. He really wanted to.

Me, Cass, Scottie & Becca

We were quite the stylish threesome, don’t you think…

As good a Dad as he was, he was an even better Grandfather and Great-Grandfather. He got to relax a bit and enjoy kids being kids. There are 14 grandkids and 17 great-grandkids who will come to know how blessed they were to be loved by him. I’m saddened by the new babies who will only know him through photos and stories.

Kelly snuggling up to her Grandpa.

When Dad faced down death the first time after his heart attack on the golf course, he changed. He began calling more. He began telling his feelings more. I would start to worry if my Saturday morning went by without hearing his voice. If I didn’t answer he’d leave the same message every time. “Kath, this is your Father…” Like I wouldn’t know who it was. I’ll admit, it could still sometimes scare me, thinking I’d done something wrong! He had always been a man who did what he wanted and he took that task to heart even more. He and Tony took his lifelong dream trip to Scotland to play golf. I was so proud they did. One of Dad’s most envious traits was that he could be anywhere, in a foreign land or the grocery store and strike up a friendship with someone. He was just that kind of guy.

Mom & Dad at granddaughter Carri’s wedding a few years ago

Many, many people loved Bobby Payne. Probably more than he would even realize. But my dear Mom has a broken heart and she will never fully recover. She will endure it because that’s the strong woman she is. Dad would want her to. He wants all of us to celebrate him and each other. He wouldn’t want us to bicker and fight or take advantage or disappear. He was always about being together as a family. We must honor him and continue to make him proud. I’ll miss you, Dad. Love up to the sky. Kath.

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Sidekick Is Sidelined

Eva, my ever faithful barn dog, has to take a break for a while. Her “pokey bone” has flared up. When she was not quite 1 year old she had orthopedic surgery at  Affiliated Veterinary Specialists. The surgery was successful for the initial diagnosis of  OCD of the hock. Now we must deal with the lifelong effects of her “pokey bone”.

“Osteochondrosis (also known as OCD) is a common, painful disease in dogs. It is characterized by an abnormality in the cartilage-to-bone transformation. As a result, cartilage and bone fragments may break off into the joint space. Osteochondrosis is not a form of arthritis, however, it often leads to arthritis. Larger breeds of dog have a genetic predisposition towards the condition, which results from rapid growth. (The pain from osteochondrosis is similar to the “growing pains” experienced by adolescents.)

Cartilage is the tissue, normally at the ends of long bones, which contributes to pain-free motion. Osteochondrosis is a congenital defect in normal joint cartilage development that leads to the development of a loose piece or flap of cartilage. This loose piece or flap can give rise to secondary degenerative joint disease. Secondary degenerative joint disease that develops as a result of osteochondrosis, generally occurs early in the dog’s life as opposed to the “wear and tear” arthritis that many dogs experience later in life.

Areas most commonly affected by osteochondrosis include the shoulder, elbow, knee (stifle) and ankle (hock) in young dogs. Osteochondrosis can occur on both sides (bilateral) and may involve several joints. There are several types of osteochondrosis.”

We were hoping not to deal with this until she was a bit older. She only turns 3 in February. When she’s at the barn with me she flies across the pasture at 100 mph chasing the goats and cows. This past friday she was carrying her leg and laying down as I did my chores. She’s never done that! So in she went for x-rays and sure enough, she has arthritis in that joint and substantial swelling. Dr. Rick thinks the swelling and aggravation had been building for while and she must have done something (hit a hole, took a turn wrong) to bring it to where we are now. She’s on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and is on exercise restriction for at least a week. Not being able to go to work with me at the barn is about to make her crazy! Dr. Carson will be coming tomorrow to start acupuncture treatments and there are some interesting stem-cell procedures we are investigating. I miss her being with me but we have to do what’s necessary for her to be pain free. She’s far too young to be lame. Since we started her restriction the swelling has gone down and she’s using the leg again. All good signs.

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Our Sweet, Loopy Girl

Cass has dealt with health issues the whole time she’s been with us, which will be two years in March. This summer was spent trying to figure out her hormonal issues and if she does or doesn’t have a tumor on her ovary. We still don’t have a definite answer but the Chinese herbs have kicked in and are keeping her hormones and behavior in check. Since the beginning of November we’ve been dealing with her mammary glands being infected. Of course, she couldn’t have just everyday, run of the mill, normal mastitis. She had a strange bacteria that had all the doctors perplexed. She’s been on heavy duty antibiotics for weeks and weeks. We got news today that the strange bacteria (rhodococcus) is clear but now she’s developed three other types of bacteria in her mammary glands! It’s all about opportunity.

Because of her years spent as a broodmare, having baby after baby, her body is now paying the price. Her mammary glands have permanent scarring and keep a residual amount of edema (swelling) in them. This is a perfect, warm breeding ground for bacteria to grow. If her immune system and mammary glands were normal the bacteria wouldn’t have the opportunity to take hold. But, because they’re not, the bad stuff can grow and thrive. An additional monkey wrench thrown into this is she’s also developed severely itchy skin. She’s practically scratched her mane completely off. My poor girl is miserable. I’m miserable right along with her.

These pics are from early November when all this began.

Cass is sedated so we can strip the bad stuff out of her mammary glands. Without sedation we would have been kicked to high Heaven to even try to touch them as sore and swollen as they were.

Dr. Fowinkle and Terri are trying to get a good look at things.

Have to milk her to get the sample to send off for testing.

Watch out! Pus was flying everywhere!

The cows ask, “why is this horse being milked?”

She had to strip as much out of the glands as possible. Then she actually injected antibiotics up into her mammary glands.

Cass is glad she doesn’t really know what’s going on.

Then my girl had to get two types of antibiotics injected into her neck.

Billy decides to take cover in case we were getting any crazy ideas about him!

Is she just the best girl, or what?

We will get this thing beat. Those ranchers had years to misuse her body and it’s not going to get better overnight either.

Billy and the rest of his goat family are glad when the doctor leaves.

That’s our new baby goat. He’s very cute and strong.

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