When The Poop Emoji Is Your Favorite, Patient Report #1

Anyone who has dealt with colic knows how exciting this picture is. Second poop post-surgery.


If you are just joining our program, Milton had colic surgery a week ago Saturday. What follows is my first post since the brief announcement last week. [When Weekends Go Wrong]

I have been doing daily reports, on a page instead of a post, so that the information stays in one place. [Milton Update page removed, Begin]

Day One

On the evening of Friday December 30th, Milton present with a mild colic. Responded to Banamine. Vet wanted to see him, either a farm call or bring him in. Off we went to the clinic. Rodney got put in the stall, not because he needed it, but because the people couldn’t cope with any possible problems.

Rectal and ultrasound exams. Passed the cookie test. Patted nose & left him at clinic. Rodney stayed in stall overnight. We figured Milton’s case was mild. We would pick him up the next day. Rodney could stay in the stall until then, again mainly for the sanity of the people.

Early morning, Milton’s pain signs increased. Vet started on IV fluids in the hopes of softening whatever was blocking him. No luck. Prep for surgery. We arrived right around the time they got started.

We waited. And waited. And waited. As one does.

Vet finally came out. Illial impaction, of an impressive length. One does not want to be the one to impress the vet, or dentist, or the IT guy. Ask me how I know. They were able to work it out without cutting into the digestive tract. Yay!

As Coach Kate said, “Sounds like the ‘best’ kind of colic surgery. Which is truly a weird statement.” No lie.

Got him settled. Went home. Let Rodney out – he was fine with it. Went back to see Milton.

Things to watch out for were the incision healing, infection and getting the gut moving again. I think. There were three thing. I’m hazy on exactly which.


Exploratory laparotomy was a success. Abdominal cavity not a festival of melanomas.

Glad we were not doing this the previous weekend during the cold snap. So much waiting around.

Why is it always a weekend?

Lesson: Don’t worry about the future. It will be so much worse.

Week One

Both of us believe in the power of emotional support for patients. Plus, Milton likes to have people around. One of his favorite activities is to hang with the people. So, we made a point of visiting him twice a day. On the weekends, we would go together. During the week, I would go for a few hours in the morning; Greg would stop by after work.

In hindsight, Milton came through smoothly and quickly. Of course it didn’t feel like that at the time. (Nor is he done, she adds quickly and superstitiously.) Fortunately, Milton’s gut was quite interested in getting back in business. Part of his crankiness at the beginning of the week was discomfort; part of it was that he was HUNGRY!

Even when he looked puny, he’d always perk up if things started happening, Particularly if food might be involved. Milton is a very food-motivated horse. So was Previous Horse. I think it might be a racetrack thing.

As I type, on Tuesday, Milton is still at the vet clinic and looking good. They think he might be able to come home Friday or Saturday. (Crosses fingers.)

Annotated Updates

Text from the Day by Day Milton Updates page copied over to here. Will remove page once crisis has passed. Therefore, storing the information in weekly posts. Have added thoughts to the days, as reward for subjecting you to repeat material & bc I don’t know what I will remember in six months, so I’m noting everything.

Milton Update for Friday 30 Dec (3 Jan). Milton refuses cookie. To clinic.

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Doesn’t finish dinner. Refuses cookie. Alarm bells.

Walks. Banamine. Clear stall.

Feels better. Eating cookies.

Call vet bc that what we do. Expect to hear put in stall & watch. Bring in. Huh?

To clinic, 9 ish? maybe

Rectal. Ultrasound.

Milton Update for Saturday 31 Dec (3 Jan). Surgery. Illeal impaction. Docs able to work wodge out without cutting into digestive tract.

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6?6:30? am. Call from vet. Pain. Asks about starting IV fluid to get things moving. Wait? What?

8:30 am. Text vet. S’up?

9 am. Call from vet. Prepping for surgery.

Well, shit.

Load up & go

Wait. Wait more.

1st report from vets.

More report from vets.

No gut cuts! Yeah. Needle for gas & then worked the wodge out. One long wodge in small intestine. All three docs impressed with size of wodge. Secondary, smaller impaction farther along. As I understand it, waiting on wound, infection, and gut getting back in the game.

Went to get coffee while they got him settled. Greg says docs don’t want family around when they are getting the patient cleaned up & into bed.

2:05. In stall. Very stoned. Woke up enough to be pissed off when Greg went in to pat nose. Milton has bad White Coat allergy.

Pat nose & leave

6:12. Poop pic, Yay!!

Milton Update for Sunday 1 Jan (3 Jan). Visit twice. Perky in AM. More punk in PM, back on IV. Perked up with company. Dumped water bucket. Small meal.

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AM. Perky. Brought dogs but did not take out of truck.

Want a cookie! I will not be soothed! Want cookie! Um … did anyone get the number of that bus? 🐴

6:19. Punk. Back on IV. 😦 Perked up. Brushed mane. Did not bring dogs. Some pain this aft. No reflux. Had small lunch. Made G*dawful mess trying to get to handful of grain in bottom of water bucket. Was there to get him to drink. He figured he spill it out instead. Get this &@^#^ water out of my way. Owners not in least surprised. Interest in food earned another small meal. A qualified yay.

Feels like a week, at least. Was yesterday.

Milton Update for Monday 2 Jan (3 Jan). AM. Cleared for short hand walk! Good gut sounds. PM. Pissy Pony. Sore, hungry, bored. Continues to get good reports from vet.

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Permission for hand walk! Very short, very slow, if he does anything back he goes handwalk.

PM. Pissy pony. Annoying his nursing staff. Playing with water bucket. Dumping feed bucket while it waits outside stall. Prob sore, not pain, but sore. Def hungry. Getting meals, no hay yet as far as we can tell.

Milton Update for Tuesday 3 Jan.

AM. Excellent report from vet. Everything moving in and out as it should. Has stopped dumping his water bucket. 😂 K

🎶 Food, glorious food … 🎶

PM. Looks good. Quiet but curious. Enjoys having mane brushed. Would prefer cookies. G.

Began split shift visiting.

Rodney being very very good about staying by himself, although milking the situation for sympathy cookies. [Rodney’s Semi-Permanent Gold Star]

Post [When Weekends Go Wrong]

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Milton Update for Wednesday 4 Jan

AM. Milton continues to do well. Getting small amounts of hay in addition to small meals. Wants to roll but doesn’t quite feel ready yet. Pawing. Tentative crouch. Nope.

I sat on a stool in stall. Used time to do reading for a class, along with texting, walk breaks etc. Lasted less than two hours. Left because I was exhausted.

PM. Greg says the IV input has been removed from Milton’s neck. Milestone! Tired, possibly because he is comfortable enough to be tired. 🤞

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Rodney boopy & stoic during bodywork. He misses his buddy. Long night, dislikes going thru storm solo.

Milton Update for Thursday 5 Jan

AM. Good report. Bright-eyed and interested in food. Gut doing gut things. Minor incision infection, not unexpected 5 days (!) out of surgery. Stomach edema. May get belly band for support. Waiting on poop, so no lunch or hay, Sad horse face. Was quieter without me in stall, so I left. I think ‘No human equals no chance of food. Might as well chill.’

PM. Looks better than last night. No belly band. G

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Banamine in am. Lots of discussion of back inner belly lump. Could be dire, mostly likely a melanoma. Grays get bumps.

Milton Update for Friday 6 Jan

AM Better mood today. Lunch! Belly band taking pressure off. K

PM. Everyone continues to be pleased with progress to date. Has new belly band for better fit (see 7 Jan). G

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AM. Waiting on lunch when I arrived. Belly band on. Weighed. 1065. Losing weight, was 1121 last time he was weighed. Walked well. Lunch! Sat with. Vet tech brushed & he was with good with it. Doc adjusted band, cute trick on a horse already girthy. Hay. Alfalfa shaken out to be less stemmy. Served in bucket.

Milton Update for Saturday 7 Jan

AM. Check. G

PM. Quieter than he has been in AM during the week. Hard not to see it as punk, but everyone says he’s doing well. (Crosses fingers. Crosses fingers.) If I am reading the chart correctly, one scoop for dinner! G&K

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G in am (K class), both in PM.

Dunno who if anyone is reading these day by day. In the event someone is (waves hi!), can’t stop now. Dropping out of sight would be unfair.

Milton Update for Sunday 8 Jan

Heading into week two at clinic.

AM. Check. G&K

PM. I understand how you dribbled dinner onto your leg. How did you get it on the back of your ear? G&K

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Getting glimpses of his normal snarky self

Milton Update for Monday 9 Jan

AM. Check. K

PM. Belly band off. Slight drainage from front of incision. G

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Horse across the aisle was acting the fool. Milton did not participate nor get upset. He just stared at him. ‘Who is this clown. My neighbors are weird.’

May come home as early as Friday. Yay! Cue increased running about to get everything ready. Last date we saw was Jan 16, next Monday. We figured we had another weekend to get the barn ready for a resident on stall rest. Happy to be wrong, if so.

Milton Update for Tuesday 10 Jan

AM. Belly band back on. Definitely seeing more and more of the normal Milton.

PM. May not come home until Monday, only b/c everyone wants to be sure that he is ready. What’s another weekend at the hotel? (Sobs quietly into checkbook.) Slight incision leak drying up. Next step is to remove the staples. G

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11 thoughts on “When The Poop Emoji Is Your Favorite, Patient Report #1

  1. I am so glad to hear this! How did Milton get food behind his ear? Probably the same way Eowyn gets food on top of her head…I think the critters do strange things like this every now and then to keep their humans on their toes. I hope he’s back to himself all the way very soon.

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