All I remember about my daughter’s trip from her horse barn to the trauma center is in tiny painful vignettes; some in living color and some in soul breaking sound. My heart was whooshing in my ears, I suddenly had tunnel vision and colors appeared in Technicolor. I remember the fear on her face and her mangled arm. I remember being worried if her head was ok and terrified because my usually vocal girl was stone quiet. I remember her primal, sickening wail. I threw up. I saw my sister , who excels at emergency medicine, standing over her and removing her clothes, advocating to the nurses and doctors and translating the medical jargon to me. My best friend, who works at the hospital, was making sure radiologists, surgeons, RNs and anesthesiologist were doing their jobs. I was standing next to them but couldn’t hear them. But I could hear my girl crying, sobbing and giving in to the drugs with a defeated sigh. Surgery, internal amputation, Dilaudid, C Scan… I cannot do this. Not my girl. Not ever.
She and my sister were taking Girl’s barrel horse down a road to an arena to work with him. Girl was riding Trooper and taking their leisurely time. No speed, no tasks, no noise…just forward with the August warmth greeting them. Somewhere along the way Trooper slipped. We have no idea why or how but down he went with Girl in the saddle. Trooper is a very large horse, we suspect he is Quarter Horse with some sort of draft breed. He is all muscle, legs and speed. Girl is none of those things: she is barely five feet tall and built like a baby bird. Mighty but tiny. Trooper is in love with Girl and because of that, when they slipped, he did not roll over her. If he had, he would have crushed the life from her. Witnesses were amazed to see what they saw. All of Trooper’s feet slipped out from him, they fell to the pavement. Girl hit the hard asphalt first with her elbow and knee making the first contact, then down came Trooper atop her. Amazingly, he knew he was about to roll over her and he froze; all four legs in the air and half of him on her. He froze, corrected, got up and stood vigil over Girl. His herculean effort may seem simple, but he is a two thousand pound horse and what he did was against the laws of Physics and gravity. Her left arm was completely turned around from the elbow down, the medial head was sheared off , the Ulna was shattered , muscles and tendons ripped from the bones; internal amputation. Her left foot was crushed, her knee was mangled and Trooper had a tiny scratch on his butt. My sister used a lead rope to stabilize Girl’s arm and that is when I got the call that my heart and head already knew was coming. I knew she would never be the same Girl I hugged that morning.
Knowingly. “Just tell me what happened to her.”
Quietly. “She’s ok but Trooper fell and…”
Resigned. “I’ll be right there.”