I Am Not Twenty Anymore
Wow! Did I have a wake-up call last week! There is nothing like falling on your ass (literally) to learn a lesson.
When I was 20, I thought 40 was old. But now that I am 40, I certainly don’t feel old. I may have a 40-year-old body, but I feel a lot younger inside. You know how that goes, right? You feel like you can stay up all night and still have a productive day. Or you think you can spend all day doing manual labor and not feel like a truck ran over you when you try to crawl to bed that night. Or in my case, you think you can hop on a horse and ride bareback, even though it has been >15 years since you have been on a horse for a significant amount of time.
Whoa, what was I doing on a horse, you say? Well, it seems the Tirabassi farm is now the proud owner of a beautiful paint quarter horse named Cherry, and her buddy, Bobo, the pony.
All summer I have scoured adds looking for just the right horse to add to our menagerie. Over Labor Day weekend I found what I was looking for – a sweet-tempered, older horse that is safe with kids. The pony came along in a package deal.
I was so excited when they arrived at our house! So excited, that I ignored the voice in my head telling me what I should do with a brand new horse. We didn’t have a saddle yet, but I had ridden bareback all the time when I was younger (a lot younger). I got right up onto Cherry and rode her around the pasture. She was perfect! I then led Cherry around the pasture while kids took turns riding her.
When it was Number 5’s turn, I decided that I should ride with him so I got back on and Spouse handed Number 5 up to me. While I was still getting Number 5 settled, Cherry reached out to get an apple that a kid was holding out for her, and her nose touched the electric fence. Cherry jumped and bolted and Number 5 and I tumbled off her back. I guess I curled my body around Number 5 because I landed on the small of my back and he landed on my stomach.
Number 5 was fine; scared but not hurt. Me? I couldn’t get up. I have never felt pain like that before. I couldn’t use the right side of my body without searing pain in the right side of my lower back. The 5 C-sections I had paled in comparison. Even the one in which the anesthesia wore off before they were done stitching me up. There was only one way that I was leaving the pasture.
I castigated myself the entire ride in the ambulance. I knew better than to hop right up on a new horse like that. And to take children on a horse that I wasn’t familiar with. And to think that things would be just like when I was 20 – that I would be just as agile and that my reflexes would be just as quick. And that unlike when I was 20, I was now a grown-up responsible for 5 children.
Luckily we arrived at the hospital and I temporarily forgot the mental anguish I was putting myself through. What followed was a series of things that I hope I will never have to do again. Being a trauma patient in the hospital is……traumatic. After a series of x-rays the diagnosis was torn muscles, however I spent the night in the hospital because I still couldn’t walk without having excruciating pain.
Today, one week later, I was still having a lot of pain, so I went back to the
hospital for a CAT scan. The scan showed that I had fractures of three transverse processes. A transverse process is a knobby piece of bone that sticks off of the vertebrae. They are the attachment sites for muscles and ligaments. Each vertebra has 2. I had fractured the transverse processes on the right sides of the L2, L3 and L4 vertebrae.
The good news? The fractures will heal on their own. I should have 100% recovery. The bad news? It is very painful (I already knew that!) and could take 4-6 weeks for recovery.
Weeks for me to sit on the couch and mentally whip myself for my stupidity; weeks of hell for Spouse as he tries to be father, mother and farmer (without any prior horse knowledge, I might add); weeks of stress of trying to figure out how to get kids to and from all of their activities without being able to drive; weeks of staring at the horses making themselves fat in the pasture; weeks of imposing on family and friends for help.
Weeks of feeling my age.
I hope these weeks go by quickly.