Friday, February 2, 2007

Life Delays Twins Saga for More Lessons Learned

I apologize for taking a break from the saga about my Arabian twin foals and their mother, but another one of those life lessons has come along. I thought it important to preempt the twins’ post based on the gravity of the lesson.

I posted last week about the injury I received getting kicked by a young horse. Life Delays Twins Saga for Lessons Learned I really thought I had handled things as I should but I’ve been getting a lot of flack about it.

First off, my husband, Dave, is not happy that he was sleeping in the house and I didn’t let me daughter, Lindsay, wake him up to help me. My excuse was he’d just gotten home for a 12 hour shift and I didn’t want him not to get his sleep.

His contention is that my life is more important than his sleep. Well, obviously, I believe that’s true but I didn’t think that my life was at stake. So I made the decision to wait a couple of hours before I actually got help.

I was operating under the assumption, that I felt fine – I mean my darn hand hurt like a mother bear but once I caught my breath I was a little stiff by ok, my hand was a long way from my heart. I could wait to get stitched up.

Yesterday, Dave and I had lunch with my friend, Jean. She’s a medical professional and works trauma, so she does a lot of emergency room work. She sees it all. She knows what are the biggest mistakes that people can make and what their consequences can be. I trust her immensely, if she says I screwed up, I listen, it could mean my life.

Jean was interested in all the gory details of my accident. She actually likes all the blood and guts stuff. So I explained about the horse kicking me and where – my hand and my chest and what I did to deal with it, and what the doctors did to deal with it. Dave gave his two cents worth about not being awakened to take me for help and I depended my position. We went through the whole thing.

Now this is the part that’s important. Jean started off saying, obviously it turned out ok BUT being kicked by a horse anywhere in the body cavity is considered to be the single most dangerous accident for trauma specialists to work with. The doc that Jean trusts the most states, “give me a gunshot any day of the week, I know what to expect from that but a kick by a horse can be deadly and not give me any clue. The patient can be fine one minute and dead the next. That’s why even if they check out ok, I tell them it’s imperative to stay quietly in bed for three whole days after any kick, no matter how good they feel. I warn them f they don’t do it, the consequences can be grave even deadly.”

Jean definitely has my attention. While I knew it was possible to be injured internally and not know it, I believed that they docs could tell by my blood pressure that I was ok. So I had made it a point to notify the emergency room that I had been kicked in the midsection and had the wind knocked out of me. I, obviously, was not triaged by someone who understood the injury potential of being kicked by a horse. Only my hand injury was attended to, The possibilities of internal injuries were not explored.

Normal protocol should have been a chest x-ray to verify I didn’t have a lung collapse or partial collapse. Blood work run, examination of the injury site on my body, possible CT scan and, even if all other tests don’t show anything ,the ordered bed rest.

Now I could go into all the technical terms of what all the possibilities are but I don’t think the terms are as important as the outcome. What it all boils down to is it’s very possible to be injured in such a way that you feel fine but just moving “the wrong way” can cause a “bleed” (rupture in an organ) and you can bleed out (to death) in minutes. Normally with a few days bed rest that injured surface will heal enough to prevent the bleed from happening.

Many people don’t know the same thing is true with head trauma. If you have a concussion and don’t protect yourself (staying quiet until it heals) and you bump your head even slightly again, you can drop dead instantly. The risk of further head trauma goes up with each concussion, but a concussion on top of another concussion the danger level goes up to scary extremes.

Most horse people I know either don’t know these facts or ignore them about both circumstances, the kick to the body or head. We tend to believe if we can get up and walk away from it, we are fine. Well, there’s a really good chance that we’re not fine and I for one will not take another chance with my life like I did last Tuesday.

Next time, I’m calling 911. And if the ER docs don’t order the required tests, I’ll be making lots of noise because the odds are NOT in my favor that everything will turn out fine. And I’m writing up a set of emergency instructions, leaving copies by all the phones and in the barns, in case I’m unconscious or not lucid the next time.

For more information Handling Emergency Situations on the Farm


  1. I understand the statement very clearly as I have kicked by horses on more then one occasion.
    The first time I was on a friends TWH mare. She freaked out and started bucking and I came off. When I landed the mare was looking at me. She then spun around and kicked me in the back of my head right behind my right ear. I remember it all and I was luckily with a friend. We walked home and my friend freaked out (I was the expirenced one). They ran every test possible but I was lucky...Very lucky not even a concusion. I was 16.
    The second time I was feeding my NSH filly. We had just weaned my mom's appy filly and she was in with my filly. We still don't know why but my mare whirled on me and pinned me between the fence and herself and kicked me in the right side of my face and stomach. Again tests were run. They figured that she shattered my cheek but again I was lucky. There are some days I can tell there are some nerves that don't work quite right but it could have been and in all reality should have been far more worse.
    So I feel your pain and understand exactly what you mean!
    Take care,

  2. Wow Mikael that is certainly food for thought and Brittany those are real horror stories, and I will definitely learn from your bad experiences. I am fortunate that I have never been kicked badly, bitten a time or two but never kicked but if it ever does happen your guidelines will definitely be in the forefront of my mind.

    Mikael hope you are feeling a lot better now. My hand still aches sometimes and it has been three years since the accident.


  3. Brittany, sounds like you had a time of it with getting kicked too. At least your doctors checked you out correctly. Mine didn't and that really concerns me. I had had been hurt badly, I could be dead now because they didn't do what they should have.

    Lori, I've had my share of bitting too. I was bitten one time so hard, my arm would have been broken had I not seen it coming and jumped back. And thank God I was wearing long sleeves. That was a new broodmare I had just bought who had no manners. Now she's a sweetheart.

    Don't tell me this hand is going to hurt forever!! That's not what I want to hear. I need it over with, I'm dying of boredom not being able to do anything with the horses yet. My withdrawal is getting more severe just thinking about it.

  4. Thanks for sharing this information. I never knew about all that a kick could do. I was kicked in the thigh probably seven or eight years ago and have ended up with half a hoof imprint in my leg. Again, thanks for spreading this information. I am enjoying reading about the twins aswell.

  5. LOL no Mikael it doesnt hurt as such just gets an almost itchy achy feel to the scar. Dont overstress about it promise it wont impede you in any way.

  6. I meant to answer two of your questions on my blog and thought this way would be better rather than you hunting through my blog.

    Yes I am sure they are grooming LOL I had one colt (the one which was the stock image) that ate his dam's entire mane off right to the roots!!! We tried everything to stop him to no avail and she is a horse with a very long and thick mane. He doesnt do it anymore though so maybe it was a deficiency or something??

    Catblogging came from one of the members of DPChallenge which is a photography site I belong to. About 100 of us challenged each other to keep up A Photo A Day and I can't remember which one suggested it but I have tried to keep it up every Friday. Gives a change to the horse theme until I can get out and about more and shoot different stuff LOL.

    Have a great day.


  7. Hi Lori, the thing about are you sure was me being silly since after Trouble ate his mom's mane off and I have a secret tail chewer in my Leg's daughters field.

    Pretty cool, you guys all got together and challenged each other. I'll bet it helps with the motivation.

    I'm thinking we could be emailing if you'd like, go to my blog, click on the link to my website and email me through the contact email and it will forward to me and I can email you back with my direct email.