It had been 7 days since we took new x-rays of Metro’s knees. It had never taken that long to get the results back before, but for some reason it took Metro’s vet, Dr. Kim Brokaw, a week to get back to us and make an appointment to talk about them. I already new what the news was going to be though. One good thing about having a vet that rides at the barn every day, is that I get to pick her brain about Metro. I had once asked her how Metro was going to go out of this world. Having a horse with as many health problems as Metro, I knew he wasn’t going to live a long and healthy life. Metro was not going to die of old age. Long before his time, there were going to have to be tough decisions.
And I made the mistake of asking Kim what Metro’s end would be. Kim is a brilliant up-and-coming young vet, but she doesn’t sugar-coat anything when she gives you bad news. If your pet is going to die a painful death, she will tell you. There is no “rainbow bridge” or green pastures with wildflowers. Only pain and death. She had told me that eventually bone would start growing in Metro’s damaged knees, closing the gaps to where he would have no flexibility. Every day life would be painful for him, and one day he would lay down, and not be able to stand up again. There was going to be no happy ending for Metro. This was not a Sylvester Stallone movie, Metro was not going to come back and get a shot to fight the champ. He was done being a horse.
As we sat on Ed’s porch, holding Metro’s X-Rays up to the sun, I found out why it had taken so long to get the X-Rays back. Kim had them, she was just afraid to delivery the bad news. She was also using the time to research treatments to save his life.
“How long does he have?”
“One year…maybe two.”
He was no longer healthy enough to carry a rider, or do ground work. Pretty much, he was just healthy enough to turn out to pasture and wait for the inevitable to happen. Kim did offer a treatment we could try. It was unproven treatment, the drug would need to be imported from Europe, because it was not approved by the FDA, would cost thousands of dollars, and she had no idea if it would work. A “Hail Mary” pass with money we did not have.
I sat there in silence as Kim waited for me to say something, anything. To ask her a question. I only had one question….
“Is he healthy enough to paint?”
To be continued in Part 2…
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