Tag Archives: good health

ADR…

Sometime in the later part of the 90’s, not too long after I moved to Nebraska and went to work at the feed yard, I asked my consulting veterinarian to come out to the farm and help me diagnose a calf.  I knew that something was wrong with it, but I was not experienced enough at the time to figure out exactly what ailed the animal.

When the vet arrived, he looked at the calf and said, “Anne, this calf is ADR”.

I replied, “Doc, what does ADR mean?”

He responded, “Well Anne, ADR means ‘ain’t doin right’.”

At this point in the conversation, I found myself getting a little bit frustrated as I knew that the animal was having difficulties — I was smart enough to figure that out on my own. What I needed was help figuring out specifically what was wrong so that I could enable the calf get better. We eventually got to that 🙂 And, I spent the next decade using his advice, along with my growing knowledge of the bovine animal and pyche, to become a intuitive animal care giver.

Over the years, Doc and I established a truly meaningful relationship and I think that we each got smarter as we traveled down the cattle care journey together. Much to my children’s chagrin, I started bringing home his interesting verbal lingo. Perhaps more importantly, I also developed an innately acute awareness of the concept of normal and healthy vs. abnormal and sick.

Anyone who has children recognizes that their good health will be interrupted with bouts of sickness. The key to being a good caregiver is recognizing the point that the pendulum shifts from healthy to ill, and acting appropriately to help diagnose and treat the challenge. We take our kids to the doctor when they get sick, but we still play a critical role on their diagnosis and care team. It’s really not very different from the relationship that I had with my veterinarian caring for my cattle.

The observations that we (as caregivers) can offer to the doctor, and the intuitive awareness of what level of support those that we care for need throughout the illness helps to aid in their recovery.

This past week my favorite brunette was challenged by a nasty viral respiratory infection. Despite a trip to the doctor and a round of tamiflu, she progressed past ADR to a level of illness that made my “caregiver’s instinct” uncomfortable. After almost 7 days with a fever and nasty cough, I sent her back to the doctor as I feared a secondary pneumonia infection. X rays showed pneumonia in the right lung and she began antibiotic treatment.

When she and her dad got home from the doctor, my favorite farmer looked at me and said: “Well, I guess you were right. I should know by now to trust your gut instinct.” I am glad to report that the pneumonia infection appears to be susceptible to the doctor’s choice of antibiotics. After 10 days of misery, she was able to swing back past ADR to a much better part of the health spectrum.

While I know that I sometimes drive my family nuts with my cowboy euphemisms and diagnoses, I think that the knowledge that I gained working with my vet made me a better caregiver — both toward my animals and toward my children. Awareness, intuition, education, and a practical team based common sense approach sets both our animals and our kids up for success.

It is good to have my baby on her way back to good health. While her recovery is slow, hopefully in the next week or so she will be back to answering the call of the track as she is going a bit stir-crazy being banned from running and exercise…

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Filed under Antibiotics, Family, General

Learning to Maintain Good Health…

According to my children, Matt has now reached middle age.  Fortunately, although I celebrated my birthday last week, I am “not THAT old yet”.  As you might guess, I rely heavily on my children to maintain humility and perspective…

My greatest joy...My source of humility...

Even though this particular birthday was not instrumental in changing my worldly status (according to my children), every year on February 7th, I feel compelled to take an introspective look at my health and my life.  I learned the hard way the year that I turned 30 that good health was a blessing not ever to be taken for granted.  I was a typical young woman with a career and three young children—I thought that I was Superwoman—I was ready to conquer the world…

God seems to always have a way of placing perspective back into my life.

With a five year old, a two and a half year old, and an infant; I found my health deteriorating.  I was frazzled, I was weak, and I felt as though I spent every day running a marathon but my steps simply kept getting more labored.  Riddled with numerous infections, weak with anemia, exhausted beyond anything that I had ever known, I kept getting out of bed every morning and moving forward because that was my personality.  When I could barely lift my youngest child, and I became short of breath when I read out loud to my middle daughter; I finally gave in and went to the doctor.

They needed me to be strong...

The anemia was easy to diagnose, but I knew that there was something else that was instigating my symptoms.  I weighed in at 98 pounds with my boots on the day that I was diagnosed with an auto-immune system disease called Graves Disease.  I left the doctor’s office and drove down to our river pasture ground.  There, I sat amidst the grass and the trees and cried.  Every once in a while, I would look up at the sky and simply ask “Why?”

The inherent peace found at this place helps me to maintain equilibrium during times of challenge...

I had never given a thought to my thyroid gland until it started trying to kill me.  When Graves Disease manifests itself, your body becomes confused and starts to think that your thyroid gland is a foreign invader. What results is a perpetual battle that causes significantly elevated levels of thyroid hormone, and renders the patient in a constant state of hyperthyroidism.  When I think of how I was during that time, I think of a frantic right-brained horse.  During the worst times, I was perpetually out of breath and had a resting heart rate of over 120 beats per minute.  Matt could literally take my pulse sitting across the room from me and watching the blood pulsate in my neck.

I started each day telling myself that God would never give me more than I could handle…There were certainly days when I was convinced that God overestimated my strength.

The responsibility that I felt for my family and my animals kept me going, getting me through the toughest days.  The regimented schedule of the feed yard and my children’s needs helped me to focus and to move forward.  My husband’s stalwart love and support eventually convinced me that I would again attain normalcy.  I celebrated my 33rdbirthday in the nuclear medicine ward of the University of Omaha’s medical center undergoing a radiation treatment to destroy my thyroid gland.  Normalcy was eventually attained, although due to additional complications with the radiation treatment it took much longer than I had ever imagined.

They also need me...And I need them...

Two months ago, I celebrated having the first normal blood work in 7 years…

My journey with Graves has been one with many twists and turns, but it has ultimately brought me strength of character and a new perspective on life.  Today, I take nothing for granted and I spend each day working to use my gifts to the fullest.  I also have a deeper appreciation for the animals that I raise and the beef that they produce.  They nourished my weak and anemic body, and have subsequently helped me to regain normal iron levels and the glow of good health.

Today I have many things to celebrate and I thank God for the blessing of good health and the ability to use my gifts to make a difference...

I am celebrating a hemoglobin score of 12.8 while also maintaining a triglyceride level of 36, a cholesterol level of 151, an HDL of 76, and an LDL of 67.  I am walking proof that a diet rich in beef can not only be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, but can also be an important factor in helping iron-challenged individuals regain good health.  I believe that beef (and iron supplements made from cattle) played a key role in helping me to regain my physical strength after struggling with a chronic illness for many years.

I am so thankful for my bovine animals whom provide me with nutrient rich food to fuel my good health...

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Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)