Healing and (kind of) Riding Again April 30 2011, 0 Comments

The moment I've been waiting for will finally be here in only 3 more short days!  It's my follow up appointment with the Doctor and I am awaiting his green light approval for being able to get back on Tuxie and ride.

Ok,'s just a technicality because I must admit, I have gotten back on Tuxie a couple of times in the last 10 days or so.  Mostly out of curiosity and also a desire to be re-connected with him and what I love to do.   I've watched my Instructor ride him and I never missed a stride - I know what it's like to be up there and I would sit on the bench and vicariously ride him.

Not riding over these last several weeks has really showed me how much a part of my life Tuxie has become.  I know I can't live without him - I just love that horse!  The only time I wasn't with him during this whole period was a few  days when it initially happened and one or two days when I had the surgery.

I did make the most of our down time, though.  My good left arm became accustomed to grooming him.  Eventually, I was able to get him ready for my Instructor to ride and cleaned him up after she was done.  It was my pleasure to spend time with him however I could.  I did ground work with him and we improved our walking together at liberty.  Let's just say that walking together is an area where there is room for improvement with us!  All of these experiences were special and magical and helped pass the time.

Working out at the gym several times a week with a trainer really helped harness a lot of my energy and as I got stronger I could also feel my body working away at healing.  Some days were better than others and then they just got better and better!

But back to the riding part...

A few times I felt like it was ok to get on him and cool him down after he'd had his training with my Instructor.  I'll admit it felt strange to be up there again and that threw me off a bit.  I only walked around and tried out a little posting trot but that was all.  However, that left me wondering how long it was going to take me to get back to where I was before the accident.

Another couple of days passed and I did actually have a mini-lesson - I did walk, trot, canter and it felt really good.  My confidence obviously isn't going to be much of an issue and that was a relief to me.

Having done the preliminary research I decided to take it easy and make sure that I was still in one piece when I go to the Doc next week.

Fingers crossed.

Surgery April 02 2011, 0 Comments

Since the surgery was scheduled for the next day, I didn't have much time to think about it.  I was so ready to get to the healing part that surgery was a relief at that point.

Tom took me to the hospital at 6:15 a.m. In surgery at 8:15.  I can't say enough about how kind and caring the staff was to me.  Sure, it was their boss, THE Director of Orthopedic Bone Trauma that was doing the operation and they seemed to hold him in the highest of esteem.  I was very comforted by that because it was very clear that they thought there was no one more talented than Dr. Wiss.  In a lighter moment and as a needle was being placed into the top of my hand for fluids, one of the Anesthesiologists assistants showed me his busted up collarbone that he didn't get the surgery done on - and it was not pretty.  He assured me that it was a good thing to have broken mine as badly as I did so that they could put it back together properly.  I believed that to be true.

I don't remember being wheeled into the operating room - just waking up 3 1/2 hours later.  Once the anesthesia wore off, I felt awake, clear and ready to leave.  The Anesthesiologist checked in on me and we both decided he would talk to Dr. Wiss and get me released to go home - with pain meds, of course.  While I was waiting to get my exit x-ray, someone came around with lunch and Tom told me it was really good.  I got wheeled out and propped up in the car and was home shortly thereafter.  For the first time - ever - I knew I wasn't going to be able to clean the house - probably for at least a couple of days.   The pain was quite intense in the first 48 hours and then it kind of settled in and I honestly didn't even think about much of anything as I drifted in and out of drugged sleep.

My husband took great care of me, the cats and the house.  My Riding Instructor and her son took care of my horse and I just had no other choice but to settle in and take care of myself.

One lucky thing was that I was in really great physical shape when the accident happened.  After a week I felt really, really good.  I had achy pain and soreness but that was to be expected with the rearranging of muscle, re-attaching of the bone and the insertion of a metal plate and several screws.  I have to admit I felt a little bionic!   I was back to being driven over every day to see Tuxie for a few minutes and give him some carrots.  I could tell he was very unsettled but I knew as soon as I could I would be back to spending hours fawning all over him and he would be much calmer with the routine somewhat back to normal.

I had my one week Doctor visit and was told I was "above average" in healing.  Of course I was, I just wanted to get back on my horse!  It's all I thought about  and I believe in the possibility that you can will your body to hurry up and heal. Somewhat disappointing was the 5 week follow up and stern warning that "it would not be a good idea to get on your horse until after the next visit."

So...I was not happy about that (I was visualizing 3 weeks in my mind) and it took about 24 hours to settle in that this was not going to go as quickly as I hoped it would.  I missed my first Eventing Derby of the year and it was really hard to watch everyone leave the barn excited to ride and compete.  I wished them luck with a lump in my throat.  It's what I had been working so hard for and looking forward to and we were ready.  I got through the weekend and made some decisions about how I was going to get through the next 5 weeks and make some excitement happen for myself.

So, I am working with a trainer on lower body exercises, eating well and working on my Horseworship Equestrian Apparel business.  I am able to groom Tuxie and get him ready for my Instructor to ride and then groom/bathe him when his ride is over.  It has helped us to bond again and he and I are in a really good space together because of it.  I felt like he was worried I wasn't going to want him anymore after what happened but nothing could be further from the truth.  With animals actions do speak louder than words and my time with Tuxie has been as healing for me as it has been for him.

Today, I have 4 weeks until my next Doctor visit and even though I have settled into a wonderful new routine I can't help but count the days until I can get back on my boy and ride.

In the meantime, this is the ride I am on now and I am going to enjoy this too.

Finding Dr. Right March 23 2011, 4 Comments

It's been a long couple of weeks!  I have to say that the worst part was walking around feeling broken and unbalanced while we worked our way to the perfect Doctor/Surgeon.  It was a very unsettling experience.  Your body as you knew it yesterday is not the body you have today -- and you can't fix it.  You have to find someone and trust that they can fix it for you.

Thanks to some good friends, we were first sent to "The Shoulder Guy" who graciously referred us to "The Bone Trauma Specialist."  It took a few days to get there but we knew we had found the right man for the job.  He was Dr. Wiss, Director of Orthopedic Trauma at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles.

The night after we saw "The Shoulder Guy" I went home and just cried my eyes out.  I knew at that point that surgery was inevitable.  I missed my horse.  I was pissed I wasn't going to be able to compete.   I was tired and in pain and I was ready to be out of limbo and onto healing.  I am right handed and I wanted my right arm back.  There were a lot of things I could not do and that already was getting old. My husband just hugged me and told me everything was going to be ok.  I knew it was going to be - I had just quietly held onto the hope that this was somehow going to take care of itself.

So, the next day my husband drives my bad hair having, puffy-crying eyes, no sleep self to see Dr. Wiss.  Sitting in the room with the nurse, Tom (my husband) handed her the x-rays from the day of the accident.  "Wow!" she exclaimed.  "Finally, we get to work on something really good."  I just thought,"why does that good case have to be me?" but Tom was excited and thought it was cool that I was unique.  Great.

They took another x-ray and as Dr. Wiss walked into the room with the film he said "well, the first x-ray would have justified surgery but the broken bone had basically moved into another zip code."  There was no chance that the bones would be fusing together.  So, it was a Titanium plate and screws.  A highly successful surgery that would put the bones back in place (giving me even shoulders) but leave me with a scar and the likelihood of seeing the plate through my skin because I'm thin and my collar bones are visible.  They do take the plate out but that's a year down the line.  Then...Dr. Wiss says...and 6-8 weeks to be riding again.  At that point I couldn't have cared less if they put the plate and the screws on top of the skin.  "Let's do it!" Tom and I both said at the same time.

And as life has a tendency to do for us, Dr. Wiss told us that someone who was supposed to have hours of surgery the next day had gotten an infection and had to postpone their surgery.  An opening was available for me at 8 am the next morning.  "I'll take it" I said.  I just wanted to move on.  I had already thought about it.  I didn't want to go through 1 more day with my arm hanging off my side waiting for surgery.  And so I went through the pre-op testing and paperwork and was home in time for dinner.  Or my last meal.  Before surgery, that is.