Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘responsibility

Injury Assessment

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During one period of my career, I volunteered to be a medical first responder to incidents that might occur in the workplace. The company paid for my training to become a certified first responder. One of my motivations for learning advanced first-aid skills was having two young children I was responsible for at home. They would invite friends over for all manner of child’s play which increased the pressure of responsibility I felt, as it also increased the opportunities for someone to get hurt.

If a freak accident were to occur, say something poked in an eye, I learned not to pull it out and some ways to protect the area. Thank goodness I never needed to respond to anything that serious, in terms of injury. Knowing what to do helped ease some of my anxiety over being responsible for someone else’s well-being.

In the workplace, I had the support of many other responders to share the decision-making process when situations arose and I relied on them heavily. In one case where I was the main person tending to an ankle injury at the racquetball courts, I misread the woman’s level of distress and assumed a sprain. After seeing her doctor, she reported there was a broken bone.

I’ve never trusted my interpretation of other people’s symptoms since. It gets even harder when the patient can’t talk because they are a horse. Mia’s behavior tells me she isn’t hurting too badly but she has an ugly-looking abrasion on the back of one of her front feet. My first suspicion was that she scraped it on the icy crust of the snow in the paddocks.

I saw her out beyond the wicked polished ice trying to navigate the deeper snow with Light. In that case, she was limping and favoring it. Once she got back under the overhang, it didn’t look like it bothered her much at all. Our support from This Old Horse stopped by last night to look at it, clean it, and spray on a protective shield, similar to the NewSkin I apply to my hands.

Mia, the most skittish of the four horses, went a little crazy at the sound of the spray can with the metal ball inside. She headed down the hay path toward the waterer and then just kept on going over the slippery ice, through the gate, and out into the hay field. As I was walking down with a lead rope to retrieve her, she headed back toward me, at a full sprint!

Mia stopped right where I was standing. I clipped on the lead, and we walked up under the overhang where Mia stood perfectly while Johanne lifted her hoof to treat the wound.

The wound looks just as fresh and angry this morning as it did yesterday. I am not confident about assessing how serious it could be. Thankfully, Johanne volunteered to return to check on it at noon.

I still don’t like being responsible for someone else’s well-being.



Written by johnwhays

February 18, 2023 at 11:15 am

My Reaction

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Relief. Thinking about the rest of the world seeing we had chosen someone other than Donald Trump. Imagining the possibility of not being bombarded every single day with some new outrageous thing the President had said or done. A television analyst commented about the prospect of having headspace freed from the daily barrage.

That would be a relief.

There remains a fair amount of trepidation over the fact that 70 million people voted for four more years of what we just endured. Whatever portion of those voters were actual believers of the ruse pushed forth, they don’t just disappear. How many of them will be open to being deprogrammed by actual verifiable facts?

The celebrations that spontaneously erupted after multiple sources called the election for Biden are a natural reaction to everything that the world has endured since the GOP chose the course of their candidate for 2016. For everything that has happened since, is happening now, or will transpire in the days ahead, I believe we see evidence that “you reap what you sow.”

Our beliefs and actions have consequences.

Those who became emboldened to spout unsavory opinions and blatantly espouse racist ideologies should not be surprised to find a backlash against their actions.

In the aftermath of the style of governing of the last four years, all the supporters who now want to distance themselves from responsibility for what transpired are saddled by the fact of being guilty by association. All the members of the Republican party who remained silent while outrageous and unethical words or deeds were unleashed are culpable.

My philosophy is that we need to love them all, but my love for them does not allow for unsupported false accusations to which they may choose to cling.

May truth prevail.

May reality triumph over fantasy.

May wisdom overrule idiocy.

May we survive the interim period between the November election and the January inauguration during this global pandemic.

May things get no worse before they begin to finally get better.

No more mocking. No more bullying. No more hidden tax returns.

I am hoping for some ember of possibility the two political parties will work together to help the people of this country under the new President. Will it be possible to pass meaningful legislation? It will take cooperation.

I love cooperation. I’m hoping for unprecedented amounts of it in the near future and beyond.


Written by johnwhays

November 8, 2020 at 10:53 am

Savoring Days

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It’s hard for me to do, savoring time. The minutes tend to blend, one into another, and days seem to keep passing faster than ones before. It’s a luxury problem to have, I expect. In the face of suffering, perception of time is entirely different.

The U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving 2018 is now history. A perceived few minutes ago, I was looking forward to the extra day off from the day-job and gathering with family in the presence of unending food choices.

In my quest to tightly manage my sugar intake, the day of feasting becomes an extra challenge. This year, circumstance worked in my favor to give me an assist on controlling temptation to over-indulge. I was in charge of taking care of our animals at home, while the Thanksgiving feast was being held an hour away in Edina, MN., at Cyndie’s parents’ house.

The hardest part of the whole adventure for me was, making the choice to slip out surreptitiously while most everyone was still at the table(s), finishing first and second servings, and boisterously sharing stories of various adventures.

It went against my every sensibility to not say goodbye, but I didn’t want to cause a fuss and disturb the best part of the day for everyone else. I enjoyed every delectable bite of my sensibly chosen portions of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, giblet gravy, sweet potato, vegetables, cranberry sauce, fruit salad, and Cyndie’s masterful version of my mom’s home-baked buns.

A glance at the time brought me to the fateful moment of planned departure. I had an hour-long drive to factor in, and a time of sunset that was firmly determining the end of my equation. I got up from the table with my plate, just as several others before me had done on their quest for seconds, and I disappeared to the bathroom near the front door.

Amid the sound of many conversations and occasional laughter, I decided to rely on Cyndie to explain my absence, and I stepped out the front door without a word. In my effort to avoid interrupting the festivities for everyone else, I totally disrupted my sensibilities.

Cyndie knew I was leaving as soon as I finished eating, but I had neglected to say anything to others, including my own children. It was a very disconcerting feeling for me to so abruptly depart, but it did save me from facing the decision of how I would avoid eating too much pie for dessert.

Happily, the drive was efficient, despite a surprisingly heavy amount of traffic on the interstate, and the animals were all safe and content when I arrived home. One of the horses was lounging on its side in the paddock while the other two stood watch right beside.

I counted the chickens as soon as I could, because Cyndie reported seeing a badger walking toward their direction from the corn field north of us on Wednesday, as she was leaving to spend the night in Edina. She said it turned around when she stopped and opened her door.

It’s a privilege to have these animals to care for and I want to savor the pleasure they bring, despite the complications of added responsibility. I’m framing the way they altered my Thanksgiving holiday as a feature, not a flaw, since it helped to limit my calorie intake to a lower level than I imagined possible.

It’s certainly not something I would have accomplished left to my own control, if I’d been given a full day’s access to all the flavors available to savor.



Written by johnwhays

November 23, 2018 at 7:42 am

Animal Magnetism

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For most of my life, it was a struggle just to take care of myself, due to a condition of undiagnosed dysthymia. The additional responsibility of caring for pets every day was a burden I found ways to avoid.

Now I know why people who love horses become so passionate about it. I’ve spent the last five years learning what it is like to own horses, and it has changed me to the point I think it would be hard for me now to live without them.

It’s kind of ironic that caring for animals has contributed significantly to my healthier life. The very thing I was avoiding turns out to be therapeutic for what ailed me.

Yesterday morning, Cyndie captured this wonderful moment as our four Arabians made their way along the fence line of the hay-field back toward the barn in the enticing soft light before sunrise.

She and Delilah had just come out of the woods on their morning walk along our trails, a situation that signals to the horses, breakfast at the barn will soon be served.

As powerful an energy as the horses are for us, Delilah radiates her own compelling magnetism. She looked absolutely stunning after a grooming appointment yesterday.

When I walked in the door and reached down to pet her while she was leaning into me in her overly affectionate greeting, I asked Cyndie, “Did you just brush her?”

Oh, no. That was a full-fledged professional job that gave her the silky smooth coat.

Later, I glanced at our beautiful Tervuren under the old Hays family table and caught her paw draped over the antler chew she found in the woods.

Yeah, it can be a lot of responsibility, but I think I’m getting the hang of this animal magnetism they seem to have.

What a rewarding blessing it is to be healthy and have the added benefits of the positive energy our animals inherently provide.