The Whole Picture is Nothing But a Compilation of Details.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Life on One Leg 2008

Life on One Leg

Thanksgiving hunt ended abruptly. THUMP! And there I was, sitting on the ground watching my horse Lars galloping across the field to catch up with “first flight” – the jumping field, after one and a half hours of pleasant riding. Twenty-four years old he is my foot! Then again, I’m the biggest supporter of the saying “age is nothing but a number”. Serves me right.

Falling off a horse is usually a gradual process of “oh”, “oh no”, ‘NO” and “OH SHIT”! Not this time. There was not a moment of fear or time to look down at the ground to see what I would hit upon the imminent and unavoidable collision with Mother Earth. I simply sat there. On my ass. Surrounded by the riders who had stopped to help me.

Heather Hunt, who was riding right behind me when Lars hit the eject button, had already dismounted by the time I oriented myself and realized I was indeed on the ground. “That was really mean. You didn’t stand a chance. No one would have sat that” she says. (This is always nice to hear.) Next order of business: Quick self-diagnosis. Blood rushing to my right ankle, making it completely numb; never a good sign. My head seems intact, albeit whip-lashed, arms OK, back OK. Altogether - not life-threatening by any stretch of the imagination. Good. What’s next?

Being situated in the middle of a field with a completely numb and unserviceable ankle presents a bit of a dilemma: I need to get to a place I can get picked up but I realize that I have no use of my right ankle/foot (as you all know I am the last one to admit to being hurt but I am sure of this one…). Hmm. Lars has now been captured from his moment of freedom, and brought back to me, so I can do one of two things: 1. hop 300’ on one leg over uneven ground, or 2. get on a four-legged, hairy, flea-bitten grey wheel chair which I just came off. Considering the certain outcome of # 1 (falling on my face, twisting the other ankle), I opt for # 2.

Mounting a horse from the ground with the use of one sole leg presents a challenge. Fortunately Lars is size smaller, so by lengthening the stirrup leather as far as I can and grabbing the saddle I manage to heave myself up onto his back as Heather is holding him steady. The Myopia 2-horse trailer is already en route. We really need flashing lights on that thing like the ambulance… it is not the first time it has had to respond to an emergency.

Little pony Spencer is soaked with sweat (who knew he was going hunting ahead of time…?) and hard of breathing, so for his and his rider’s safety, we pull him out of the hunt as well. I can tell his young rider is disappointed so I channel my energy away from my pounding, numb ankle to cheering her up the best I can. Perhaps I didn’t help her at all, but it at least helped me staying collected whilst waiting for assistance! Dismounting was easier – Lars really is a nice horse. But “nice” is followed by “horse” hence there is still an element of unpredictability involved.

Back at the barn I remove my riding boot to assess if I really need to go to the hospital. (I have a new appreciation for zippered boots.) The outside part of my ankle resembles more that of a really funky-looking root vegetable or gourd than a part of a human leg. I guess I must go. Sigh. Lucky I don’t travel to Argentina until eight weeks from now! One of my wonderful boarders insists on taking me right away. We just have to pick her car up down the street.

At the emergency room the staff smiles as I enter. “Another riding injury” they comment. Now I know where the other guy went. Without violating any hospital confidentiality, the nurse insinuates that he is also here, and doing OK. Wow! We can have our own Thanksgiving dinner! I am poked, prodded, and x-rayed in typical fashion, waiting for the doctor (in typical fashion) when the phone rings in my room. Strange, I think. It stops, and rings again at which point the nurse comes in and picks it up. I am in a neck brace so I can’t do a thing. She says it’s for me. Huh! Who knows I’m here? AND – who is not occupied with Thanksgiving but finds time to check on little me?

It’s another one of my borders – or perhaps it is an angel disguised as one. She announces that she is on her way and will be there in fifteen minutes. I protest “After all – it’s Thanksgiving!” “I have a whole staff here caring for me!” etcetera. My efforts wasted, she simply says “well I’m already out the door. See you in a minute.” How is that for a “shush your mouth”? Ginny arrives moments later with fresh flowers and continues to demonstrate how wonderful, warm, and generous a person she is: She stays until the poking, pulling, twisting, diagnosing (fractured fibula), and packaging (full cast) is complete, drives me to the barn, and insists I come with her to her house for Thanksgiving. How can I say no? I truly am thankful. Thankful to be surrounded by such wonderful people. I can’t help but smile thinking of the people who believe that the Myopia Hunt Club membership is made up by snobs…HA! I am obviously out of commission for the foreseeable future: So much for my promise of giving the staff Friday after Thanksgiving off.

What would you say if you were in a car accident and the driver of the other vehicle hopped out of the car with a solid cast on her right leg? Yup. I thought so. So would I.

Hence, after a few days of driving (only where necessary, I promise), including moving apartments I come to my senses and succumb to the fact that I am truly an invalid. I should add that the move is the easiest move ever: I watch my friends Kathy and John pack and move all my stuff, including my very crate-resistant cat. Times like these make some friends appear and others disappear. I wouldn’t recommend it but it’s an easy and effective way of weeding the good from bad. 

Two days later, a true friend, Debbie, takes me shopping for necessities such as books, tea, a shower curtain, and toilet paper. After hopping around the store for two hours I realize I can stop worrying about losing my toned, hay-throwing muscles on arms and shoulders over the winter. At least not for the next six to eight weeks.

Finally somewhat settled in my new apartment, I can begin using drugs (prescribed) to help my neck muscles relax. Three days later I’m back to my normally bad neck, discontinue the drug use, and begin to think of possible ways to circumvent the fact that I am a one-legged wanna-be wonder woman who can drive nowhere and is able to walk only for a limited amount of time due to the known fact that using crutches is exhausting!

With my internet hooked up (thanks Paul and Matt!) I research the public transportation system and quickly discover bus #451: it drives practically past my apartment all the way to north Beverly from where I can easily catch a ride or a cab to work. Much easier than hoofing it a full fifteen minutes to the train station! Additionally, the experience of riding the bus is generally more colorful than riding the train. Now on my third day of commuting via bus, I arrive each day at work all giddy. It sounds silly, but oh what a trip it is to travel via public transportation. The sights you see, the people you meet, the conversations you have, and hear around you… I am a huge fan. Of course it takes more time out of your day, but the pressure you feel when in a car -  going everywhere all the time to do everything- fizzles. It is a beautiful feeling.

In five to six weeks when I’m likely to be cast-free, I bet I will be a fully functional one-legged wanna-be wonder woman. Who won’t take the time to write…  L

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