Wednesday, May 14, 2008

When Horsin' Around Gets Out of Hand

So here's the rest of the story about our little visit to Uncle Rick and Aunt Karen's farm... Sometime after breakfast on Saturday, Savannah and Sabrina went riding again. I was itching to get up there myself and take Elayna. Our turn came, I climbed up, and Rick tossed Elayna up there with me. The girls had been wearing their bicycle helmets for safety, and asked me if I was going to wear mine. I said, "No, we're just going to take a little walk and get down."

We started walking around the house, and the horse started trotting. Then he sped up a little bit. By this time Elayna is crying and not happy about bouncing on a saddle. I'm telling the horse, "whoa" and nothing's happening. After nearly careening into the pond, Rick managed to get Star to stop so we could get Elayna down. So far, the trotting was kind of fun, nothing too crazy.

So after Rick takes Elayna, he tells me, don't pull too hard on his reigns because his mouth is sensitive. Then I give him a little nudge with my heel and Star took off trotting right away. We came to the end of the fence and I thought I would turn him around and come back, but he had other plans. He heads the opposite direction around the fence and off towards the woods. By now he was galloping fairly fast and I'm sitting on this junior saddle hanging on for dear life. He plows on into the woods and runs through the bramble bushes and my face gets scratched up. We come out of the woods and start down a hill back towards the barn. I thought, "Good, we'll be done with this in a minute." Then he starts galloping even faster down the hill. It was all I could do to hang on. I honestly thought I was going to fly off and hit the ground and either die or become a quadriplegic. I think we were probably only going about 20 miles an hour, but for a non-experienced rider who still isn't able to get the horse to stop, it seemed like 60 mph!

We make it up to the barn and start heading towards the curve and my foot slips out of the left stirrup. By this time, I'm yelling at Star to stop. (Obviously not getting the message across to the horse!) As he rounded the bend, I totally lost my balance since my foot was not in the stirrup anymore, and fell off the left side of the horse. As I hit the ground, I rolled and heard snap-crackle-and-pop louder than any chiropractic adjustment I'd ever had. When I stopped, I could feel pain all over my body, yet I could feel it. I said out-loud, "God, you are so good to me!" It was the first time in my life I was thankful for feeling pain, even pain everywhere. I thought immediately about Christopher Reeve and Joni and how that could've been me.

Though I could feel everything, I was definitely not able to stand up right then. I was worried that I broke something. I was groaning pretty loud and heard Rick shout, "Are you okay, Paul?" I yelled back, "No! I need help!" Savannah and Sabrina heard all this and began to panic. Savannah ran into the house and told Audrea, "Daddy fell off a horse!" Of course, that threw Audrea into a state of panic herself.

By the time she and Rick made it out to where I was, I was able to sit up. Rick helped me stand up and hobble over to the golf cart. They took me to the house and I laid there for several hours on ice and experiencing occasional waves of shock (nausea, chills, cold sweat, and headache). As I would try to stand up to see if we could get going home, the pain was so sharp, I would get light-headed and feel like I was going to pass out. So I'd sit down again and rest. We decided we'd head home and seek medical advice. They wheeled me out on an office chair to the van and I was able to pull myself into it. I was really beginning to empathize with disabled individuals who can't walk!

On the way back to Louisville, we called a nurse line and they said an urgent care facility would be fine and an emergency room unnecessary. We found a clinic and then had to figure out what to do with the kids. We really only knew two families at the time and one of them had several children themselves. So we called Josh and Gretchen and asked if Gretchen could come watch the kids while Audrea took me in. She was so concerned and willing to help (THANK YOU, Gretchen!). Once we got the kids settled, we headed to the clinic and was able to get in quickly. The doctor took x-rays and didn't see any breaks. He wasn't really sure where the major pain was coming from. So he told me to stay off my feet for a week, start taking pain medicine, and in a week try to walk again. If the pain was still there, he said to go get an MRI. Once again, we praised the Lord for having a job that I could do while working from home and even in bed!

After about 3 days, I started trying to walk without crutches and found that I could slowly make my way around as long as I didn't move too fast. I waited for a week, and while I was still in pain all over, it wasn't unbearable (as long as I was high on ibuprofen!) Instead of going to a clinic, I knew that the best thing for me would be chiropractic due to the pain all over in my body. On the following Tuesday, I visited O'Neil Chiropractic and had more x-rays done and diagnostic tests. It was clear--I was a mess all over. Now, 2 weeks later after many adjustments and therapy, I'm doing much better.

Yet, there is still some pain in the left hip in the center area whenever I do anything strenuous. Dr. O'Neil had sent the x-rays off to a radiologist. After about 10 days, we got the results back and confirmed his suspicion behind the pain--I had actually broke a part of my pelvis! It's a minor break--a pelvic fracture, but a break nonetheless. (The original doctor looked too quickly at the x-rays.) Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done about it other than waiting for it to heal. Technically the broken bone is in the lower portion of my ischium. I've included an x-ray of someone else's pelvis (I'm a little embarrassed to show my pelvis to the whole world ) . The red hairline is where the break is in the ischium bone.

If any of you have known me for a long time, you know that this accident is not a surprise considering my history! In fact, I told Audrea, "When I call my mom to tell her, I'll bet you $20 she'll laugh!" And she did.

I'll conclude this long story with a comic strip that Audrea's mom was kind enough to send me in a get-well card. It epitomizes me in this situation.

P.S. Audrea and I have been cracking up since this happened thinking about Uncle Rico telling Kip and Napoleon: "Grandma took a little spill at the sand dunes today. Broke her coccyx." Thankfully, I didn't break that!


Jim Peet said...

Wow! Glad you are on the mend!

rickaren said...

what a great story! i laughed and laughed! oh, and i'm glad you're okay too! =)

Mr. Harmless said...

So... You broke your butt.

Nice going.


Paul Fuller said...

Yes, that's right, Mr. Harmless. I, in fact, did break my butt. I guess I couldn't get all the euphemisms past you!

Anonymous said...

only you, Paul! that story is right up there with running over your foot while driving your car. we're all so proud of you!