Friday, January 21, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - An Injury

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "An Injury."

I had an easy time picking an injury to write about, because I've fortunately had only one significant injury - and it happened Monday, May 13, 1985.

I was at the stables that day for a riding lesson with one of my great riding instructors, Deb. It was a beautiful spring day, the day after my youngest brother's birthday, and toward the end of the school year, my eighth grade year.

I clearly remember being dropped off at the stable after school so I could spend the whole afternoon there, taking care of my horse, Chico, taking a lesson, and hanging out with my friends.

There was a lady who boarded her gray horse there, too. I don't remember her name or her horse's  name, but I do remember something remarkable about this lady - she was legally blind - but that did not stop her from using what vision she did have, getting out there to do something fun.

Anyway, I remember talking to her in the tack room when I went in there to get my brushes before heading out and grooming Chico.

I remember tacking Chico up so we could head out to the outdoor arena for our lesson. And I remember working on the flat.

Then we began practicing jumping a course, so we could consistently produce a nice, flowing, smooth round in the show ring. I was enjoying the lesson because we were jumping a lot. It was fun!

And that's about all that I can clearly remember.

The next thing I know, I was in the dimly lit barn office, with Deb and my friend Leslie. I distinctly remember saying, "This is just like the movie International Velvet . . . this is just like Sarah Brown in International Velvet . . . "

While we sat in the office, I also remember getting (seemingly) ridiculous questions from both Deb and Leslie, like, "What's your name?" or "Where are you?" and even "How many fingers am I holding up?" and "What's your home phone number?"

They kept repeating questions, and I kept getting irritated, telling them, "I told you that already."

And then I was suddenly out in the bright sunlight, getting into my grandfather's silver Subaru (this was when my maternal grandparents lived, for a couple years, in our same town).

He and Deb were talking and talking . . . and talking, for what seemed like forever.

I remember trying to close the car door - I was in the front passenger seat, but I found I was having trouble reaching my right arm out to grab the car door. It felt like shards of glass were grinding around in my shoulder every time I tried using my right arm.

And then Deb closed the car door, and my grandfather pulled away from the barn.

As we headed down the dusty dirt road and over a couple sets of train tracks, I was in some major discomfort. The jostling hurt my shoulder and made my head throb.

After a few minutes, we were finally on a paved road, and I was much more comfortable. I don't remember having any kind of conversation with my grandfather. I vaguely remember heading down a familiar street.

The next thing I know, I found myself on a hospital gurney next to a wall with a big "X-RAY" painted on it in navy blue letters. I remember people walking past, peering at me curiously, trying to not be conspicuous about looking at me.

Then I was in a dim room, with lots of friendly faces telling me they were going to have to move me, and it may hurt for a moment. (They were going to move me onto the x-ray table.) Again, these friendly faces kept repeating things to the point where I got irritated, and said (or thought I said), "I heard you the first 10 times. Just move me already!"

And here is another spot where my brain didn't accurately record current events. Immediately (or so it seemed) after being moved onto the x-ray table (and yes, being moved hurt like you-know-what), I found myself alone again, this time in a hospital bed, in a room by myself.

Suddenly a nurse (a male nurse - no Meet the Parents/Meet the Focker jokes, please!) with a shock of vibrant red hair and a full red beard rushed in. He talked as fast as he moved, and then left me alone again. I was a little confused. I had my dirty jeans on, and one of those "wonderful" hospital gowns on top, and was in a hospital bed.

Some time later, and it could've been just few minutes or two hours - I don't know, the red-haired nurse came back in, asking me if I wanted a shot or a pill. Imagining a big ol' 2-ft needle, I opted for the pill. (It was for pain.)

Sometime later, my mom was there. I really had to go to the bathroom, and I asked her to help me sit up (trying to sit up on my own caused sharp pains to blow through my shoulder - I'd already tried it). She said she couldn't; I was confused as to why. A gray-haired woman in a nurse uniform came a little later in to help me sit up and get to the bathroom.

When I came out of the bathroom, I was told I could get dressed, and then this second nurse disappeared.

Well, getting dressed was easier said than done. It hurt trying to get my shirt on. It hurt to bend over in an attempt to get my boots on. Bending over put tremendously painful pressure on my shoulder. I noticed, at some point, that I had a foamy, supportive "strap" going around both shoulders, underneath my arm pits and across the back of my neck - well, just below my neck.

At some point, as I tried to bend over and get my boots on, my dad poked his head in the door. I asked for help. He said he couldn't because he had an emergency to tend to (he's a cardiologist). I wondered why *I* wasn't the emergency! He just poked his head in to see me; seeing that I was sitting up, and getting attempting to get dressed, he realized I was okay - as okay as the circumstances allowed.

After a few minutes of struggling to get my boots on my mom finally came back in. She helped me finish getting dressed, and then we were off.

As we got closer to the house, I remembered there was a "shortcut" with a short, bumpy dirt road. I told her (a few times, I think), to NOT take the dirt road, and go the "long" way, which would actually only add an extra minute or so to our total drive time. All I know is that I was NOT going to go down another bumpy dirt road that day; it hurt too much being jostled.

And then we were home and I was in my room, in my bed, expected to get some rest. My body needed to heal my broken right collar-bone, and my head needed to recover from a concussion, after all.

I'm riding Chico in a show in 1981, 4 years before the accident. Photo © Rick Bate.

Please check back next week, when we have another "No Theme" week.

Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs. Please click on the button below to read her post for this week, as well as any other entries for the week.


varunner said...

So I guess you took a rough fall huh? Alas, horses involve some risk, but totally worth it in my opinion ;-)

Sonya Heilmann said...

Yeah, that's the only part I have never remembered - the actual fall.

You're right about the risk involved, but that horses are worth it!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sonya, so glad to meet you, and thank you for the comment on LazyonLoblolly.

Love blogging and blabbing!I am new follower!

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