Monday, January 21, 2013

Back on the horse ...

No sadly, I am not literally back on the horse, I am just back to my life in general.  Not that I was really out of my life in general except for Friday when I worked from home on the couch with ice packs.  Today I went shuffling back into work and I mean literally shuffling.  If I walk faster than a zombie walk my sacrum area (read: butt) hurts.  It was good for my psyche to be at work, especially because I am continuing to "get it" and my mistakes are (hopefully) on a trend of getting less and less egregious.  Physically I was doing all right in the morning with my big pillow on my chair and my heated koala neck wrap and heating pad, but by afternoon my back hurt so much that I started to fade rapidly and by 3pm decided to pack it in.  I was relieved that my boss happily said, "Hey, but you made it until 3pm!"

It's interesting the conversations that come up when people find out you have been in some sort of accident.  It opens the door for them to tell you about their bad accidents which so far have all been far worse than mine.  After today I'm convinced that riding a bike and skiing are way more dangerous than riding horses (at least riding the type of horses I ride which are pretty sweet horses ... even if they do have some issues).  For those of you who are squeamish now is the time to stop reading ...

One story that Doogie Howser told me in the ambulance that has been haunting me is of a woman they took to the hospital whose horse had fallen on her after she fell off.  First he just told me that when they got to her helmet had literally been crushed and broken in half (and despite that probably saved her life).  He also used some medical term for "her guts were squished out" but I can't remember what the terminology was.  I asked exactly how that happened - did the skin break? And he said her intenstines had basically been pushed out her vagina.  Aaargh! But she was one of the few they saw or heard of or from a year or so later and after fifteen surgeries she was doing very well. 

Then there's my boss's story of how he dislocated his shoulder in a skiing accident and it took them two hours to be able to get him off the mountain on a backboard - all the while he was lying in the snow in severe pain (without layers of cozy horse blankets to be cocooned in like I was).  And then of course the EMT's couldn't just carry him down an icy mountain on a backboard so they had to basically hang him underneath a chair on the chairlift and send him down.  Aaargh! (I think I would have a heart attack and die right there).  My other co-worker rather cheerfully said, "I hear you got to ride in an ambulance.  What'd you think of that?"  So, of course I had to ask him if he had and of course his story was so much worse than mine.   He bit it on a turn on the Chilly Hilly bike run on Bainbridge Island years ago and broke something in his left arm/shoulder and broke his collar bone.  He too had to be strapped down to a backboard but unlike me who was maybe in the ambulance for about twenty minutes, he had to ride in the ambulance to the ferry,  ride across on the ferry, then ride from the ferry to the hospital on First Hill - all while strapped to the backboard.  Luckily for him he is not at all claustrophobic like me.  He asked me if I got that awful pain in the back of my head from being on the backboard for so long and I said I was only on it for maybe forty minutes tops between the ambulance ride and waiting for the doctor to see me in the ER.  Then I felt like kind of a weenie for getting so upset about it at the time.

So, it felt (mentally) good to be back at work and thinking about stuff other than my back/butt hurting and the other bonus is it validated that what I do for fun is really not that dangerous compared to what other people do - or it least so it seems.

I got my thank you card for the ER doctor sent.  I sent one of the ones that M. made for me - I call it the "piaffing zebra" because well, it is a design with a drawing a zebra doing a piaf.  I mentioned in the card that it had been made by my friend who also broke her back when she fell off her horse and also ended up at Evergreen ER.  Now tomorrow I call and try to find out where my EMT team is who gets the thank-you card and the Dr. Horrible DVD.  I looked up if it is common to send thank you letters to EMT's and ER doctors and found quite a few articles about how it is extremely appreciated in those lines of work because it is such a difficult and stressful job.  And apparently, there are a lot of people who complain about them which seems odd to me since these are the people trying to save your life. I mean, it's one thing if there's gross negligence which happened to me once and resulted in a malpractice suit - but we're talking gross negligence and that is rare.  It kind of got me thinking that maybe our society needs to focus a little more on thanking those who care for us - whether they are saving our lives, holding our hand during a panic attack in an ambulance, making our coffee or serving up deli food at the take-out counter or selling us stamps.  I think we all need to really make it obvious when people do a good job in all the things they do to serve the public every day and really draw attention to that - instead of focusing so much on everything that goes wrong and who is suing who and blah blah blah.  I'm going to really think about that this week and try to make sure to express my gratitude whenever I encounter anyone who's job is to "help me" even if it is just handing me a pound of fish over the meat counter or making me an Americano.

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