The major element of my recovery right now is protecting my chest, which was cracked open during surgery and then put together again with metal plates and stainless steel wire. It takes a couple of months at least for the chest to heal and for the metal to fuse with the bone and if one is not careful, the chest can – and often does - open, especially if you are a large man with big shoulders and a large chest. I have talked to people who have opened their chest, and that is a hellish thing, I am not going to do it.
After two or three months, the bone fuses with the metal, and you can pretty much do as you please.
My chest is the major reason I can't lift heavy objects, drive, ride a mower, push or pull things, lift my hands over my head. The heart is also healing, I should add, and I need to go slow and protect it as well, but it the chest they seem to worry the most about right now, my heart is looking strong. I am acutely aware of where the metal is and of the healing going on in those wounds, it is a strange and heavy feeling, and sometimes painful to breathe, but getting better all of the time. So I am wary of sheepherding, because if one of those ewes plows into me, I will be back in the hospital in a flash and will know pain and suffering.
The sheep have lost all discipline. Between lambing and my surgery, we have not worked with the sheep and the new lambs for months. The lambs are blowing off Red and the ewes have been defying him. Sheep don't like to be herded in warm sun, they can get belligerent and the past couple of days I didn't want to push things, it can get rough. I've been knocked down way too many times not to take it seriously. The sheep have simply defied Red, refusing to move. He has handled it graciously, but not easily. I have held him back.
But I couldn't quite settle for this chaotic state. So we went out to the Pole Barn today, determined to get things in hand. The sheep were dug in, it was warm. I sent Red in and he tried to move them head-on, the lambs ignored him, the ewes lowered their heads and just blew him off, a couple butted him. I gave him the get tough command, "get 'em up," and he went in low and nipped Ma on the nose. She moved out, pulling most of the ewes and lambs with her, Susie and Pumpkin defiantly stayed behind, I sent Red behind them in a "come bye."
Solitary sheep are not brave, these two both bolted the barn and joined the others.
The flock kept trying to return to the Pole Barn, I moved Red back and forth to head them off, he is stellar at this, he backed them out into the pasture and by the water feeder. Success. I backed up about 15 yards to stay out of the way, my heart was beating enthusiastically, I love herding sheep with Red, he is such a pleasure to watch.
Red has great force and authority, you can see it in his stance. He is also a professional, he does not ever overreact. I admire his patience and purpose, once he understood he had the go-ahead, he got it done quickly. It will take a few more days to get things fully in line.
The sheep lowered their heads and accepted Red's authority, he gave them his best and most focused eye and I saw him regain control of the herd. I called him off and went inside to rest. I think we will do this every day, I will take it slowly and carefully. I think Red is getting the idea of keeping the sheep away from me, he kept them in line today. More later. So great to be back at work with him, it is a profoundly healing thing for me.
Recovery is many things for me, I believe in recovering one step at a time, one day at a time. We took a big step today.