Once again, I’ve been off line for a bit. Just when I thought I had been given enough God added more to my plate. So I wonder now, just how much does God think I can take? I’ve devoted much of my life to fighting for animals. The wild horses, wolves and many more who don’t have a voice, who can’t speak for themselves, who are being murdered or removed from the land that belongs to them. So why does bad things happen to good people?
Those that know me know that I try to ride my own horses about every other night if not more. I rush home after working an 11 hour day in Denver and if I don’t ride, I’m out walking, hiking or running. Not only are my animals my top priority but in order to keep up with and photograph the wildlife I love, I have to be in good enough shape to get to them.
After returning home from California and my dad’s funeral all I wanted to do was spend time with Blueper, the horse who has been there for me through all my hard times, my best friend, a horse I rescued from abuse. I never expected him to have a flash back moment and jump out and away from me a few weeks ago. I landed on my left side; the first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t hear. After figuring out I hadn’t broken anything I walked over to him, lounged him for awhile and started to get back on when I realized I still couldn’t hear. I put him away and went in to the house to sit for awhile. The horse trainer I’m friends with always manages to call at just the right time and so he didn’t ruin that reputation, he called right on time. I explained to him what had happened and that I couldn’t hear and after about 20 minutes of arguing I decided to go to the emergency room. I wasn’t sure why. I wasn’t hurt, I just couldn’t hear.
I drove myself to the hospital, walked about a half mile around to find the emergency room, signed myself in and waited about 10 minutes to be seen. I waited another 20 minutes to get a CT scan and while waiting during that 20 minutes I got very sore and stiff. The doctors really hadn’t even touched me yet, but I they had already hurt me! They came back to my room after getting the CT scan results, 2 trauma doctors – I almost felt special until they told me that I had a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain and told me I had to spend the night so that they could observe me in case I needed brain surgery. Up until then I had no stomach upset but when you deliver that kind of news to somebody like myself, you can bet it will make a person puke! Lucky for the horses and dogs I have great friends who stepped up to not only run and feed them but they also rushed to see me in the hospital.
By the next morning the bleeding had stopped, I still couldn’t hear and I had a wonderful headache and over night I swear a semi truck hit me. Amazing how sore a body can get when your allowed to sit and do nothing. I walked into the emergency room just fine, I was leaving barely able to stand or walk. Over the next 10 days or so the headaches were enough to drop me to my knees, my hearing still hasn’t returned, I found out I lost my sense of smell, my new house finally closed escrow and my landlord needed me out of the home I was in a week after landing on my head, I had horse shows to photograph and animals to take care of. Again, thank God for friends and family. Friends pretty much moved all my things while I shot a horse show one weekend. Pretty amazing.
The accident was about 5 weeks ago now and my hearing on the left side and sense of smell is still gone. I still have my sense of humor when my head doesn’t hurt. The support of my friends and family has been the best blessing ever and I’ve even met new friends who make me appreciate life even more. A very wonderful wildlife photographer emailed me a couple days ago and let me know she was thinking about me and felt my tenacity and strength was amazing. It made me think of the things I’ve been “given” lately that somebody above thinks I can handle.
Blueper has now made me go through all the emotions; what did I do to make him feel he needed to hurt me, is he in pain and I’m not seeing it, does he have a mean streak horses with his breeding are known to have, did he do this on purpose or did I hurt him to cause him to do this? Fear has set in. I wanted to start riding about 2 weeks after the accident, not him but my other horse, Reno who I feel I can trust but the doctors said I’m not allowed to do anything that might jar my skull; sadly that includes riding, running and even leading a horse. For my lifestyle this is pretty much not acceptable. I’ve been on my best behavior, I haven’t ridden but I’m leading and working my horses from the ground and I’m not running but I am walking with my wonderful dog Drifter again. Walking has helped reduce the leg cramps a whole lot and also reduces my stress. Drifter was really missing our journeys and is again a happy pup; if my animals are happy, than I’m happy.
After the pain reduced there was a time when I was sad when I realized I couldn’t smell anything. I love the scents of fruit candles, cake and cookie batter. I was proud that my house always smelled good when you walked in. I love the smell of horses and the barn. It’s always nice to be able to smell a bear, something dead or where a mountain lion marked it’s territory before they see or smell you. The next day I realized how much I would be saving by not buying these candle scents. And although it has to be done I often can’t handle the smell of cleaning the dog’s yard, now it isn’t so hard to do.
A couple weeks ago we spent a weekend with some friends of ours at their ranch. They raise and train some amazing horses and I got to spend the day sitting on the fence to watch them ride; I may be a little bit afraid but my heart wanted to be riding one of those horses. They also have a month old fawn they found as an orphan they are taking care of. As I watched her run and play it really lifted my heart. So tiny, so innocent, so precious. I could have spent all day with her.
On the way home from the ranch I thought of my friend’s message. If this is what I’m “given” then I’m lucky. This accident could have been far worse; I can still see which allows me to see the things I love the most – the wildlife, my animals and the horses I love to be involved with. I can still walk and hike so I can see the animals I so love in the places I love spending time. I can still take photos and capture amazing memories. For a moment I thought about what it would be like not to be able to see Hobo, Quad mom with her cubs, Spitfire or the wild horses. That was a thought I wanted to erase just as quick as it came. That wasn’t what I was “given,” thank God it was a lot less. I have frustrating moments when I have to adapt to different ways but they are moments that go away. I feel lucky. I can still do the things that mean so much to me. I’m hoping that as the fracture heals my hearing will as well and hopefully my sense of smell will return. Time will heal the fear and I’ll ride again.
In the meantime I’m going to get back to working on the things that I want to accomplish; working on educating people and sharing wild animals with people who want to know more. God wouldn’t give people gifts if He didn’t want you to use and enjoy them.