Monday, June 7, 2010

A Little on My Thoughts........Are They a Warning?

With all the chaos around here this past week I'm having a problem getting my thoughts organized for a post. What keeps running through my head is what happened to Sherri Graves and how but for the grace of God go I. Maybe there's a reason for those thoughts and the post that is meant to be is based on that very thought.

We all try not to think about 'what if' when we have horses. They are such big powerful creatures capable of inflicting such damage on our fragile bodies but the rewards of dealing with these amazing creatures certainly out weighs the risks or most of us wouldn't be where we are.

Thinking of the the circumstances surrounding the death of Sherri Graves forces me to think about the times the injuries that have occurred here on my farm. Going what I've learned that a blow to the head or the body should warrant a trip to the closest level one trauma center I have not been good about handling accidents in the way that I now know I should.

Granted that the injury involving Sherri Graves was obvious enough for those around her to know she needed a level one trauma but the fact is that many times people who die from their injuries don't realize they are all that hurt. They are up and walking around thinking they are just fine when a hidden killer has been unleashed inside them.

Any of the instances on my farm could have been one of those types of injuries. I thought I was fine and thankfully I came out the other side just fine. However, that outcome was more luck that sense.

The only one of these instances that was handled correctly by me was the one involving my daughter. Life...........and a Level One Trauma........the Details I don't know if it was because I had learned the lessons drummed into my head from my trauma working friend or if it was the fact this was my child that was hurt, but I did the right thing. Lindsay was taken to a level one trauma center where her injuries were monitored.

Even after Lindsay was home from the hospital it took her weeks to recover from her injury. Watching her condition I recognized the parallels to her behavior and mine when I was scrunched by Reflection. Trying to Get my Breeding Business Back on Track - Training Young Horses - The Fall I didn't go to even a doctor for that injury. It wasn't even clear to me until I emerged from the fog I lived in for weeks that I my thinking had been impaired. That kind of injury never should have gone without being monitored by those who know best the hidden dangers of head injuries induced by horses.

I was knocked unconscious in this incident. A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - The Maiden Season Part 10 I even went to an emergency room but not a level one trauma center. My head injury ended up being ignored by the examining physician.

In this accident Life Delays Twins Saga for Lessons Learned the blow was to my body. Again an ER doc overlooked the gravity of such an injury. I got stitched up but there was no attention paid to the possibility of internal injury.

Looking at these accidents and the possibilities I can't help but think I have used up a lot of luck. The thought process that "I am fine" no matter what happens to me as long as I am still breathing is surely a set-up to run out of that luck some day. I'm hoping there won't be a next time to any incidents remotely like one of these but if there is, I plan on listening to my friend's advice and the thought that Level One Trauma Docs consider an injury sustained to the head or body by a horse to be the all time most dangerous form of trauma. I'll be calling an aid car so they can get me to the closest level one trauma and hopefully Fate will not be tested beyonds her limits.

What about you? Do you tough it up in circumstances that put you at risk?

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  1. Unfortunately, I'm with you on the injuries. I've had a few and never went to a doctor or even a hospital. But probably should have for one or two of the more severe ones. I think my good luck has more than likely been used up and now that I'm older, I'll get treated if the need arises. Hopefully, nothing drastic will happen in the future.

  2. Nothing like a fresh incident to open old wounds. I feel so bad about your friend's death. It scares me. As soon as I read your recent posts I wished I hadn't, because I knew they would affect me deeply and cause me to hesitate each time I go out to work with the horses. Each time I simply lean on a horse or hug a horse, I'm on guard, fearing that something will spook them and they'll knock me down. Still I keep hugging them.

    My arm was in pain for two weeks after that Magpie attacked me and knocked me down, and I just ignored it. It wasn't a head injury and I've still got metal plates in the arm, so I figured that if there was any damage it could heal on its own without the help of a doctor. I think if I hit my head too, I might have gone in, though.

  3. I have also never gone to the hospital due to a horse related injury. When I was dumped a few years ago by my Paint, I was in serious pain and could hardly walk. The back of my helmet had a horse shoe shaped crack in it and I ended up missing a couple days work. But I never went to the emergency room. A year later, after I was having severe neck pain, did I finally go and get it checked out. I now have a bulging disc in my neck, but even if I would have gone to the emergency room right away, there is nothing they could have done for me. It is not an operable disc bulge, so I went to physical therapy for a couple months.
    I did go to my regular DR about my ankle injury a few months back. I just wanted to make sure nothing was broken.
    I have been pretty lucky though, and like you, I work with horses on a daily basis, and handle anywhere from 15-25 horses a day. I just try to be as safe as I can and hope nothing major happens. I am doing what I love and I will not let "what can happen" get in the way. Although it is always there in the back of my mind!

  4. I had a serious fall rock climbing. I recovered completely, but had a head injury.

    They xrayed me, stapled me shut and sent me home.

    And I've never not worn a helmet in a sport that needed one again.

    Prevention is the best preparation, thats for sure.

  5. Arlene, Getting older can sure affect our perspective. I hope I'm done with serious injuries too.

    NuzzMuzz, I'm sorry that you're struggling with fear but I sure understand why you are. A healthy dose of it is good for us but finding the balance isn't always easy.

    Paint Girl, I'm not ever going to let fear stop me from doing what I love either. I'm just hoping a healthy dose of it will get me to seek help if I need it since that's not always been the case in the past. That incident with Reflection will always haunt me. I should have seen a doctor because I was seriously injured. I don't want to make a mistake like that again. I think that's what has hit me so hard about this accident now.

  6. I used to be the queen of "walk it off" then one day I couldn't just walk it off anymore. I am a bit smarter about injuries ,and a whole lot wider awake about prevention now

  7. Breathe, the bad fall I took I was wearing a helmet too. My helmet broke. Don't know how badly I'd have been hurt if I hadn't been. I'm a firm believer in their use especially riding young horses.

    fernvalley, prevention is definitely the best course of action, that's for sure. The older I get, the more sure of that I become. It's too bad it's taken me this long to figure it out. LOL

  8. Please do take care of yourself! I am not even supposed to go near horses anymore, I have been diagnosed with spinal disease, and a lot of my damage occured when I was a child, horse riding, falling off, being trampled by a horse,and just general wear and tear from living on a farm, and my parents were firm believers in, "if there isn't a bone sticking out, your ok, just get over it!!"

    So now I am nearly 40 years old and have two young sons, who depend on their mum, and there are some mornings when my husband is at work and I have to get my son to pull me out of bed because I can't get up myself! The last MRI I had, the Dr's told me my spine looked like someone who should be in their late 70s. A lot of my damage could have been prevented if I had been more careful as a child, and not put as much pressure on my spine when I was still growing. The disease is called Schuermans Disease (sorry I don't think I have spelt that properly!!) and it is more common in boys than girls, I guess I just lucked out!

    My husband is an Ambulance Paramedic here in Australia, and he is always saying some of the worst injuries he has seen, other than car accidents, have been horse related. And some of the most stubborn patients he has ever treated have been those horse people!!

    Please do take care Mikael, what has happened to Sherri has been absolutely devestating, both for the Arabian horse world, and for all the people who knew her, and just goes to show how things can just happen unexpectedly around horses, and we should always be on our guard around these beautiful, magnificent animals.

    Karren from Australia

  9. The older I get, the more nervous I am around horses. I don't know if it's just that I realize just how dangerous it is now, or what.I have not gone to the hosipital after injuries, which in retrospect was stupid. I was knocked out once and a horse show, woke up, dusted myself off and got back on the horse - DUMB!!!

    To keep myself from fear, I just tell myself that virtually everything poses a risk. Driving a car, walking down the street, riding a horse, etc. and try to be as careful as possible. I even occasionally wear a helmet when dealing with an unruly horse on the ground. Regardless, as I get older, I question it more and more. But at this point, it's still worth the risk for me.

  10. RR~ U know my story of the serious injuries due to a fall~ right on my head and neck! I WENT to a local ER where they looked at me, then released me, loaded down on w pain pills. Later, all the symptoms started. I continue to have short term memory issues and tire easily. But, I am one of the lucky ones. Could have been so much worse!
    Had I gone to a trauma unit that night, might things have turned out differently? Who knows?
    I'm just glad to be here, riding again.

  11. I am also with you. I think the most important thing is to at least be aware of the danger horses present and to try to be as safe as possible.... sometimes that might mean being selective about what horses I handle or what sports I compete in. No matter what that danger is still very real and I make the decision to be around horses anyways... though sometimes, like after my sisters (non horse related) accident... I couldnt handle the idea of putting myself at risk when my family was already dealing so much.

  12. Sometimes I feel bad about being I'm being a wimp. And particularly in a boarding barn there can be a lot of peer pressure to deal with..."come on, ride up the hill with us"..."let's ride to the bridge and back"...and I feel like it's something bad that I don't feel safe doing those things. But then I think about it more and you know, it's those little worries that I believe help keep me safe sometimes. I don't think I need to get rid of that bit of fear that I have...what I need is to learn to not be embarrassed about it.

  13. Memorial Day weekend I got my face stepped on by my yearling when I was trying to hose down her swollen hind leg and I tripped and fell backwards with my bad knee. The filly ran over me to get away and happened to step on my mouth. I did a once over and found both my lips were bleeding. I knew my mouth was swelling but I continued what I was doing around the barn, took a shower, and then checked the damage in the bathroom mirror. I took an advil and then iced my mouth. I never did go to the doctor. I do realize that it could have been much worse. She could have broken my nose, or any other part of my face, or hurt my eyes. My glasses fell off but they didn't even break, thankfully. In the last year, I have received a permanently bent finger joint from a horse pulling back on the lead rope and a bad knee from a skiing accident. Sometimes, I feel old, weak, and fragile when it comes to my horses. Sometimes, I'm ready to give it all up. But then, I realize horses aren't the only things that hurt me and so far I've been lucky enough to heal. I just tell myself to be careful but I think I would be hurting more if I didn't have my horses.