Sunday, July 26, 2009

When things go bad

As difficult as it its for me to actually write this post, I need to for my healing to continue.

Sunday July 12 started out like any other extremely pleasant day this summer. A friend and I made early morning plans to ride (before it got too warm). I planned on riding my green gelding, whom, I might add has become extremely obese this summer, (as in, can't even find his withers obese, and this is a purebred Arabian!). Needless, to say, the bet I made with another blogger has to be paid up, I lost, my horses are all still obese and I bet her they would have lost their
' winter weight" by July...( I wonder if I could slip by on the technicality of not specifying WHAT YEAR...). Anyway, I digress, we had already decided not to ride a long distance, (I am trying to keep his rides short and sweet), and were well on the way. I might mention that my friend doesn't have a boatload of riding experience, but, does OK on a well trained horse. This day, however, she was having trouble with the mare I had her on, and I was concentrating on her inability to handle the problem, and getting frustrated since I knew we would be unable to switch horses. My frustration communicated itself to my own mount and he started to throw his head. Having experienced this with him before, I tried to give him a job to do so he would have to focus on task at hand rather than head tossing. Seemed to work, we had turned around and started back home when it happened, my horse exploded.
To bring folks up to speed here, I am extremely overweight and haven't ridden a green horse in about 18 years, I had mentioned this previously to my riding friend, because my reflexes are definitely not as quick as they once were, and neither is my recovery balance. This is why I have been so wary of riding this green horse, I will only ride him if I have someone accompanying me hence, he doesn't get ridden but, on the weekends. As the sole breadwinner of our family (damn child labor laws, my 11 yr old could be bringing home the bacon also!), I just can't afford to get hurt, or so I thought...
Meanwhile back on the trail, my horse has taken his first ever buck, and it is a doozy, I lost my balance and was leaning to his left side, second jump had me falling, and then he started to run, I hit the ground with my arms extended as if still holding the reins, all my body weight landing on my upper torso and arms. I rolled onto my back as I hit knocking the wind out of me. As I lay there I tried to take stock of what hurt most, definitely couldn't breathe, but, knew that would get better in a moment, my arms hurt a little, but, since I landed as I did I figured it was the road rash, of which I had plenty all the way to my elbows on both arms. Rolled over and pushed myself to standing using my arms (this is OK I thought, nothing badly hurt), didn't take into account the adrenaline rush...
Of course, my mount had run a ways off, but, decided to run back to us (thankfully, the trail we were on is adjacent to a busy highway) I tried to get close to him and finally was able to grab a rein, as I was trying to tighten his hackamore, my left shoulder gave off this giant snap!!! Never heard anything like it in my life, and I work in surgery...Immediately got light headed and felt like throwing up, all I could do was stand and pant for a bit. My friend who happens to be an ortho pedic physician's assistant thought maybe I had dislocated my shoulder and the snap we BOTH heard was it popping back into place. Meanwhile, I was slowly realizing I had severe pain in my right arm also, so much so, I was unable to lead my unruly horse. I instead offered to lead her mare who is a good girl, and kind to lead ( no pulling, no leaning, no forging ahead) I was unable to even move my left arm by this time and could only comfortably keep my right arm at a right angle against my body, so we began the mile and a half trek back home. During the walk, we decided to get me medicated,enough to make an appointment for the next day at her clinic and get xrays then, saving me an emergency room charge ( high deductible makes for trying to keep costs down). As I trudged along, I realized how much I was hurting, I couldn't move my right arm twisting back and forth, that movement brought me to my knees. My left arm was completely unmovable without severe pain shooting up the back of it, and my ribs were aching like someone had stomped on them. My head was OK, the fall hadn't even dislodged the visor so, I figured my head hadn't actually made contact with the ground initially. I considered myself lucky, I was alive and my legs were working properly, just the rest of me was in agony. Upon reaching the farm, my friend proceeded to take care of the horses, as I tried to let myself into the house. Failing to be able to open the door, I realized there was no way I would avoid a trip to the hospital, and after that walk, I no longer cared what an emergency trip would cost me, all I wanted was some relief from the pain, /I didn't care what they did to get me that relief. i wouldn't let them cut my t-shirt off of me ( I liked that shirt...), so I endured some more agony having the ER staff remove it . After xrays, found my right proximal radial head fractured, and possibly my epicondyle of my humerus also. o fractures showed on the left shoulder, so, they doped me up big time, splinted my right arm, put a shoulder immobilizer on my left arm, and sent me home to sleep. My friend took care of me for the next hour or so, then my 11 yr old son became my caretaker. I am sure he had many trials with a doped up mom who is fiercely independent, I know for sure, I was unable to get up from the bed by myself, and unable to even go to the bathroom alone, poor kid, he got saddled with a job many grown ups don;t want to take. Monday morning brought new pain, in the form of another trip to the hospital, this time for a CT scan, the entire trip is mostly lost for me with a vague memory of xray...
Tuesday, another lost day, but, I know my friend Jen is a hero, who took time out of her clinic schedule to come out and feed me get me more doped up, then take me to her house for a shower ( which I had not had since the fall), The next day, Wed, she had a surgeon in the cities lined up for me to get my elbow fixed with. I don't recall meeting him, nor do I remember the ride into the cities, I imagine I was pretty miserable, they were unable to repair the injuries to the radial head, so, they had no choice nut to put in a prosthesis, the xray makes it look like an over sized lug nut in my elbow. I am still in a splint 2 weeks after the initial injuries, so I can't test out the stability of my new joint yet, but, from the limited reading I have done on these type of prosthesis, the outlook is good. During those 3 days I was so doped up, I made arrangements for my gelding to go back to the trainer's, and apparently accompanied him to her farm, the scary part is, I have simply no memory of it. I also blasted another good friend of mine for being unable to do my chores one evening, this also, I have no memory of, but, have since sincerely apologized, she realized it was such bizarre behavior for me that it might be the drugs affecting my behavior, thank goodness, she did not hold my drug induced behavior against me. So, now, 2 weeks from the injuries, I am making small but, significant strides toward recovery, my friends and family have been so supportive, I have enough disability payment to cover my major expenses. And people have come from near and far with kind offerings, from my friend who took my 3 geldings to her pasture, so I don't have to feed any hay, to my farrier who tried to inconspicuously drop off a monetary gift (I caught him though, and his kindness will not go unrewarded). My church has been kind enough to arrange meals so I don't have to cook, my mom came and cleaned my house, friends came and mowed my yard, my blessing have been innumerable, it could have been so much worse... hug your family, and your horses tonight, think of me, say a prayer of thanks, I did.


  1. I heard you had a bad wreck, ouch my goodness girl that sounds terrible . Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  2. Thank you so much Fern, it means a lot, and I am actually getting better, the fact that I typed this with 1 finger sitting at the computer for a couple of hours doing so proves it. Could have been so much worse, and as we age that immortality fantasy I had in my 20's slips further and further away from me...

  3. And here I was worried about the bees. Whatever was I thinking worrying about the damn bees.
    I thought the farrier was slicker than that.
    You caught him?
    Shame on

  4. Not much gets past Did you tell him about my accident Dena? That was quite a surprise to have him drop in...

  5. I sure hope everything is coming back on an even keel for you. There is nothing llike having friends who come through for you when you need it the most. Best of luck to you.


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