Friday, May 8, 2009


It's been a while since I posted (and I do like to back-date my posts to when they actually happened, since I'm writing this as much as a log for MYSELF than for anything else), but I do need to get everyone up to speed. Now (5/8) that finals are DONE for the semester and I'm officially off school for a few weeks, hopefully I'll be able to catch up on my blogging and pony duties.

Part of why I haven't been posting, is that I haven't been doing much of anything with Diego since he BROKE MY ARM! Yep, little shit-head spooked at Lord only knows what on Saturday, 4/4 out at Bartley Ranch and proceeded to buck me off but good. Since we were standing totally still, doing one-rein flexes at the time, to say I was unprepared is a bit of an understatement. I stayed on well for the first few bucks (did I mention lately how much I love my saddle), but as I was trying to pull him up and around to the left I must have gotten my upper body off balance because I started to tip to the right, then I remember flying through the air sideways - looking at Diego, and then hitting the ground. In retrospect, I don't know that I ever grabbed the horn on my saddle, I think I still had both hands on the reins only. I hit on my right shoulder, then back, then rolled over so I was laying on my stomach. At least I didn't just totally splat! I did roll some.

When I went to get up, my right arm was very obviously not functional and proceeded to drag in the dirt behind me. Hhhmm, that's certainly not normal, so I laid right back down on my belly. I tried to move the arm, and found that while I could wiggle my fingers, I could not in any way move the actual arm itself. I thought it might be dislocated, and kind of wiggled my shoulder around in the dirt, but I could tell that I wasn't going to be able to get into any sort of position to even attempt to "pop" my arm back in the joint. About this time (30 seconds or so since I fell), help arrived in the form of a guy who had been trying to load his horse. He asked if I was okay and I told him I had hurt my arm and couldn't move it, that it might be dislocated. He asked if I wanted him to call the ambulance and after a brief internal debate, I told him "yes."

About this time a second guy came over, who was an off-duty paramedic (Awesome! Talk about good timing). He checked me all over, head, neck, spine, hips, legs, other arm, etc and told me he was pretty sure I had broken my right humerus. He called my husband (AJ) for me. I had Taren (my son - 6 yrs old) with me at the time, and he had worked his way over and was in the arena with me by now. The first guy (or someone else) had taken Diego at this point and tied him back up to my trailer. I actually was able to be pretty calm about the whole thing, I never did cry or anything - just some deep breathing exercises every now and then. It hurt, but didn't hurt too bad as long as I was still, so I just vegged out in the dirt for a bit. Wearing a helmet is a plus because the bubble-head sides keep your face out of the dirt when you're laying on the ground. Note: Several days after all of this I was looking at my helmet and it has a definite indentation and some really good scratches on the right side - so keeping a semi-clean face was quite obviously NOT the only benefit. I always ride with a helmet, and am super glad that I do.

The ambulance arrived about 5 minutes, or even less, after I first crashed (this was around 11:30 am). I thought they were very prompt. The REMSA guys were fabulous! They started an IV in my left hand and administered pain meds and did their best to make me as comfortable as possible BEFORE they even tried to move me from where I was. They rolled me onto a sheet, and then from there lifted me onto the gurney. Overall it wasn't that bad, just keeping my arm still and stable was the biggest thing. They put a pillow under my elbow, which helped a lot since it hurt too much to have my elbow drop normally and lay beside me, so having something to prop it up was a good thing. AJ showed up in time so that Taren had to miss out on riding in the ambulance with mom, which was a bummer for him. I had AJ call my dad and step-mom since I had just talked with them 15 minutes prior and they were driving up to Reno to visit us that morning, and were nearly in town. The worst part of the ambulance trip was the speed bumps leaving the arena, but overall it was a very uneventful ride to the hospital.

Got to the hospital and my Dad and Robin showed up before AJ and Taren, since AJ had to deal with getting Diego home and then getting a ride back to retrieve his truck and such. My dad just was shaking his head in disbelief. I took the icepack off for a bit and showed them my arm. It was already bruising pretty good and had a funny little bump and tuck to it. Hhhmmm.... I ended up having to go down to xray a few different times. They were trying to shoot the films THROUGH my body to tell if my shoulder had dislocated at all. I asked one of the xray techs if it was broken or just dislocated. She said she couldn't tell me, that was the radiologists job. A couple minutes later she said, "I will tell you that you really did a number on it." So I knew then it was broken.

I still had my pillow from the ambulance and NO ONE was allowed to touch and/or move my pillow in any way. It stayed with me for everything, even when they had to strap me into the machine to get an MRI since they weren't having any luck with the xrays. Between all of this, they would take me back to the room periodically and I would hang with AJ and Taren and watch Discovery channel on TV. Mostly I was pretty heavily drugged and kind of dozed off and on. NO doctor ever came in to talk with us about the results of the xrays or anything. Nurses would come and check on me, and they would take me for xrays, or the MRI, but no doctor.

Finally, around 4 pm an orthopedic doctor came in and confirmed that my arm was indeed broked but that I had not also dislocated anything else. He said that if I was seventy-something, they would put the bone back in place, put me in a sling, and send me home - but that since I wasn't seventy-something, they did recommend surgery so things would heal better. Obviously both AJ and I agreed to me having surgery right then (they gave me the option of setting the bone, then coming back later for surgery - Um, NO!). A little after the doctor left, my grandparents got back in town and AJ left to take Taren over to their place. They took me up for surgery shortly after he left.

One interesting thing that happened up in surgery prep was I got to speak with the anethesiologist about medications for surgery. I've been under a couple of times before for dental surgery, so I knew I should be okay with that, but then he asked me about antibiotics. I told him about all my recent troubles with clyndamycin and how I had just recently (like within a week) gotten off taking Flagyl and all that nasty stuff that I had been dealing with. He asked me what I could take, Cipro? I said "Yes! I like that one, it gets along well with my system." So, I got to pick my own antibiotic. =)

Surgery was uneventful (I guess) and the next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. The nurse was talking to me and it seemed that as soon as I responded she came over and helped me sit up. I had been DYING for something to drink for the past several hours (not having anything except a bagel around 9 am) and as soon as she could see I was sitting without flopping over she brought over some apple juice in a little tiny milk-carton like container. NEVER has apple juice tasted so good. I slammed it down and she quickly gave me another. They then had me get up and walk a little ways down the room and back. AJ came in around then. One nurse was talking with him while the other helped me get dressed again. I'd had my most favorite sports bra, a hospital gown, undies and 2 pairs to tights on before surgery - after I had on a gown and undies. REMSA had cut my shirt and sweatshirt (interestingly, as I was getting dressed to go ride, I almost grabbed my good sweatshirt, then changed my mind and put on my most grubby, old, torn one "just in case.") They then gave me another apple juice, brought in the wheel chair and we left, it was about 8:30 pm. I told AJ it seemed like I had barely be awake and here we are, leaving, but I felt okay. It just seemed odd to get up and be gone so quickly.

Things went well once we got home. I had a sling and just some ace bandages around my arm, nothing too major really - all the good hardware holding stuff in place was now inside. I slept in the recliner that night with an ice pack.

Xray of the break

My new hardware - circles are of the TWO main breaks. The upper ball part of the arm has a bunch of smaller fractures as well. This was actually taken 2 weeks post surgery. And yes, my collar bone is *supposed* to look like that, it's normal and totally fine.
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