Have mercy on me, I am supposed to be the strong one

Nurses General Nursing


This is not a Nursing issue, but I had a very bad night tonight. First I get to work and get a phone call about 1930 from my husband that my Mare is in foal and something is wrong. I've had her 19years and so I'm upset.I tell him to call a vet, I'm at work, can't leave, I AM the relief help. Second phone call , she's down and it's bad, he needs help. I can't leave, no way. I call my daughter, she goes over to my house and calls me, it's very bad. Fortunately, by this time another unit is now over staffed, thanks to 2 codes that went bad, Would I like to go home? Not really, but I love my horse and she's dying. I go home, I get here and find out my husband has been calling the same vet, over and over. I try a new one I've never used, and will from now on, he comes over. The Mare is in a bad way. I'm a Nurse, I got a strong stomach, Right? Evidentally not. He says he has to cut the foals head off , it's dead and stuck , the mare will die if he doesn't. My husband holds her head, the vet hold the metal rod in her vagina, and I have to pull the wire back and forth until it cuts off the head. I am sick, sick, sick. Then we have to pull out the rest of the poor little thing. My mare may die anyway, it's too soon to tell. I can't get the decapitated baby out of my mind. I'm a Nurse, I'm supposed to be strong, but not this! I pray to God I will forget. I am heart broken and I have to tell the kids when they get up. I'm not telling them about the head, I can't. I don't know what I'll tell them if the mare dies. I'm just sick.Thanks for letting me vent.

Mimi2RN, ASN, RN

1,142 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

Oh, I'm so sorry about your mare and foal. She has been a member of your family for a long time and I can't imagine having to do what you did tonight. I hope all goes well with your mare. You and your family are in my prayers.



104 Posts

Thank you so much, she is a member of the family. The loss of the foal will go hard on my kids, but the loss of the mare will be unbearable. Khaia has been a loyal friend for many years, all my children grew up with her and she has many exceptional qualitys you don't noramlly find in a horse. She knew she was in trouble and called to my husband repeatedly until he went to see what was wrong. We are grief stricken. As a Nurse, I feel like I should have been handling things better when the vet arrived and I had to help. But it's not the same as with my patients. No doctor has yet to ask me to assist in cutting off someone's head. I'd never make it in surgery. I'm shocked at my reaction to this. Ain't so tough after all.


195 Posts

SO very sorry for you. Will hold you and family close to my heart.


26 Posts

Oh, God bless you!!! That would be so very traumatic........i can't even imagine.......

Being nurses does not make us "un-human" or "superhuman". You cannot expect to be "tough" when it's happening to you. You are not expected to feel less sick or anguished about what you went through tonight because of the career field you are in. We are all people. We are here for you.

thoughts, prayers, hugs.........



250 Posts

omg! how awful. i'm so sorry for you. i am praying for the mare. even being a strong nurse, some things are gonna tear you up. it does me. you did what you had to do though.


250 Posts

after reading again, i don't understand how the decapitation could have helped solve the problem if you still had to remove the rest of the body. did the vet explain?


104 Posts

A horse delivers with it's forelegs out in front of it and it's nosepointed outward between them. The foal had both of it's legs bend back under his bodyand his head curled down between them, also under his body. They have very long necks too. We were unable to pull the head back up into the correct position, nor were we able to pull the legs up into position because of the neck and head.By removing the head, we were finally, with a great deak of effort, able to break the legs and get them into the proper posiion for delivery. We had to pull it out by the legs with the vet holding onto the neck nub so it wouldn't tear the mare apart., this was a 3 person operation, 4 if you count the one holding the mare. She had been given sedatives and relaxers to stop contractions. There's only so much room in there and when I tried to turn it before the vet got there, I was up to myshoulder, and I have long arms.We couldn't push it back far enough to get it untangled in one piece.It was awful.


250 Posts

that truly would have been a difficult thing. so sorry for that experience. thanks for the explanation.


796 Posts

Oh that is so sad .... so sorry you had to experience such an event. I can't even imagine. Hope your horse is doing better after all of this.


131 Posts

Your not expected to be a nurse when it comes to things so close to home..... remember that!!!!

Nurse Izzy

129 Posts

That is exactly why we aren't supposed to have patients we know - we're too close to the situation. My heart goes out to you!

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