Friday, February 12, 2010

Off Feed (Illness)

I spent the first couple days of this week feeling pretty lousy. I didn't have any obvious symptoms other than an upset stomach and fatigue. If I had a 9-to-5 job, I probably would have called in sick and slept on the couch for two days straight; but sick days aren't really an option when you're a self-employed parent, unless you're too sick to stand.

On Sunday, Dan asked me if I was sad.

"No, honey," I told him, "Mama's just sick. My tummy doesn't feel good."

"Drink some chocolate milk, Mama," he replied. "Chocolate milk help you feel better."

I wish it could have been that simple. But, usually, when I feel like I can't eat, it's better that I don't. When we were growing up, my dad always told us to stop eating as soon as we started to feel sick to our stomachs. I still abide by that advice.

On day two of dragging myself through my chores, Glen asked me, "Do you need to be stomach pumped?" (There's no line in our family between what happens to cows and what happens to people.)

"No," I said. "I'm keeping myself hydrated on my own, thank you."

When our cows stop eating and the vet can't find anything else wrong, the event is recorded in Scout as Off Feed (Illness). It's a vague, catch-all category for illnesses of unknown causes. We take cows off-feed pretty seriously – most cows can't live on nothing but applesauce for two days.

Thankfully, losing body condition and twisting my stomach were two things I didn't have to worry about.

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