Since my last post, there have been some upheavals in my life. My horse got sick, actually about a week before my last post, but at the time that I posted I didn't realize how bad it was going to get. He had just been in the ICU, but at the time it seemed like he was going to recover okay. I didn't realize how much worse it was going to get.
He landed right back into the ICU less than a week later, and spent a couple more days there that time. When he came home, it was with the plan of feeding him four times a day, which meant that I needed to do two of the four feedings (the barn would only feed him twice a day).
It quickly became obvious that he was still not okay, so I ended up tossing out the vet's plan and coming up with my own. It meant feeding him six times a day, although that worked out okay because he also needed meds six times a day. But it also meant a lot of time either driving back and forth to the barn, or just staying at the barn, since by the time I drive back and forth I only have about an hour, sometimes two, at home.
Fortunately throughout the repeated colic episodes, the stays in the ICU, and the first few days and weeks at home where everything was touch and go, my clients were super understanding and gave me all the time I needed to finish my current work. There were days and even a couple of weeks where I could hardly find any time to work at all, so I will be forever grateful to my clients for their patience during what amounts to the absolute worst period of my entire life so far. There was a time when I was legitimately afraid we would lose my horse, and he is my heart horse, so of course I got nothing done during that time.
Eventually he stabilized enough that I was able to start getting some work done here and there, and over time I've been able to carve out more and more time for normalcy. In the past week or so especially, I've really started feeling like I've got something approaching my old life back. It'll still be a while before we can stop feeding Panama every three or four hours throughout the day, but at least now I can focus on work between feedings, instead of taking care of him and constantly stressing about whether he was going to make it through this.
Of course I still had to figure out how to find the time to get my work done during the day. Ultimately I decided that driving back and forth all day long took too much time out of my day - the drive is only about 15 minutes each way, but that adds up after a while. Plus when you consider the cost of gas right now (for various reasons I wasn't using my electric car for a little bit there), it just wasn't worth driving back and forth.
So for now I've settled into a routine where I get up, go to the barn, feed Panama his elevensies (he's almost a hobbit now), and then settle in with my laptop and my phone as a hotspot. I work for anywhere from two to four hours, depending on how much work I have and how much attention my horse needs that day, from a picnic table in the yard where I can see my horse.
Yesterday one of my barn friends came over to me while she was letting her horse graze in the yard. "Is this just your office now?" she asked.
"Yep," I said, and laughed. And I realized it wasn't really a bad view for a temporary office, so I took a picture.
Panama has a scope on Tuesday to see if his ulcers have healed, at which point I'm hoping we can start transitioning him back to hay and fewer meals per day. With any luck, at some point this summer I'll be able to stop working at the barn throughout the day (not to mention get some more sleep, clean my house, and plan day trips again). But right now I'm grateful that I freelance, so that when I needed that flexibility, I was able to do what I needed to do.