On Tuesday, I took Boone out for a ride about eleven in the morning. Little did I know that some of the nearby property owners and two workmen who saw me head out on my ride might come into play in my day.
We rode about 1/4 mile up the main road and up a private drive to a groomed path–a path that a horse friend had told me was okay to ride on and the owners didn't mind. When I got to their house, I saw a car, and I called out hoping to meet them, but nobody came to the door. I had ridden the path last week and it was really nice, cleared and safe and led all the way down to the water, maybe a half mile or a 20 minute ride down.
I remember all of the ride, making it to the water, and turning around to come back. I remember trotting a lot, and at some point I asked for a canter. I remember thinking,
We need to walk now because the path is shifting levels...
I don't know if that is when I fell. Maybe Boone stopped sharp, he can do that sometimes since he was a cow pony once. The next thing I remember is being in the first medic truck. I had come out of the wooded trail, and knocked on the house door. Before that I guess I had called Martyn six times [I later listened to the messages in the hospital] and at some point I called 911 and they pinged my location. The man at the house also called Martyn. I was very disoriented.
Boone was gone.
Once in the medic truck, I started getting oriented. But I was clearly out of it. They took me to the nearby hospital ER where they did head and body scans. Martyn arrived. And I could hear one of our local friends in the other room. I heard the doctor say,
"You have blood all over your brain and we're sending you to Portland to see if you need surgery."
Surgery? Blood? Brain?
Off we went. It was all weird and I remember thinking life had changed. I didn't know how much at that point.
The next hospital was well equipped for head trauma. I optimistically thought I'd get out and go home. Not. They admitted me for urgent care and I spent the night. Every two hours they came in and gave me medication and stuff. The man next door was in real pain. I prayed for him. Besides a stiff neck and full head, I felt okay, just stiff.
Early in the morning around six, they did another C-scan and the doctor came in to review it with me. The bleeding was stable. I asked on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst, what scale was it, and he said,
"Hmmmmm, a 3."
All day long doctors and PT's and neurological people came in and checked me. They all gave me the green light to go home, with many precautions. But the final okay was up to the head trauma doctor. She finally showed up and told me I had a very bad fall.
I told her I was not taking it lightly. I told her I'd been riding since age five and falling is part of being a rider, but had never had such a severe fall or gone into black out.
She then said,
"The next one will kill you."
I was really shocked. I know I was clear headed, despite all the meds. I told her I would continue to ride. She sort of rolled her eyes. We talked about something else and I just found her...annoying and in the know. My main nurse came in and I told her how upsetting that last doctor's statement was, and the nurse understood.
NOTE: I found the staff at the hospital to be wonderful. My night nurse, the medics, supporting staff, they were all wonderful. My care was very good.
So I got to go home. I am to go back in 4 weeks for a head scan, unless I notice certain tings in which I should go to the ER. At home, I slept. I did everything they told me to do. I am continuing to do that. Like I said, it was serious fall and I don't take it lightly.
So many things cross your mind in a situation like this. I thought of many things, scary things. I thought of Martyn if I died. I thought if they had to do surgery would they shave my head and if they did I thought I will just get more GirlBands to wear. I thought of Boone and what that doctor said, her fear mongering statement that the next fall will kill me. I thought of how I could not wait to get Boone home. I thought of all the people I knew that had serious health issues and had to be in hospital. I thought how lucky I was, how it could have been worse.
I started to put the pieces of the day together, the day of the fall. When Boone left me, he went to a nearby hay field. I always wondered if I had a bad fall would Boone stand loyally by my side. I imainged he looked down at me and I was out cold, and he thought,
Well, she is not leading me right now, I will just go eat grass.
The town clerk saw a riderless horse, and called animal control, but also called a woman who happened to be my friend and another horse owner. She in turn called another man that knows me and my horse and was actually the man who told me to ride that trail. They both rushed down there, and got Boone and the man now has him in with his horses. I am so grateful Boone wasn't hurt. But when I got out of the hospital, I called the town clerk to thank her, and told her grateful I was for my friends and for her for helping. She told me that they weren't the only ones who called. As I left my house to ride, the neighbor across the road saw me leave, but not come back and he at some point alerted the town clerk, or he got in touch with someone. And the two workmen I mentioned, they saw me leave, but then saw the riderless horse and called 911. The town clerk said,
"You moved to the right town."
Boone is not a spooker. My one riding friend who has Boone wondered if he stopped suddenly [which he can do as he was once a cow pony] and I fell forward hitting my head on him hard. My glasses were broken at the nose bridge and I was cut and bruised on my nose. Oddly, I had no cuts or scrapes anywhere else, even on my hands. My left side is more sore, but I had no real scrapes and my pants weren't dirty. My helmet had smudge but no dents. The fall remains a mystery I haven't solved.
Only Boone knows.