Apparently there is more to learn about patience and healing ...
The Winning Ways crew was rounding up the cow herd at the North Ranch, to move the cows to fresh grass in a new paddock, on Aug 5, 2023. Kelly, on Willow, went to find a calf they could hear bawling in the bush, not looking down at the ground, but ahead through the trees, for the calf. Willow stepped into some old fence wire and panicked. Willow did a swerve and then a “war dance,” dropping Kelly under her feet. She used Kelly’s leg for traction, pushing the ankle into the ground. This chipped a piece off Kelly’s ankle bone with the fibula and fractured the ankle bone (just slightly more than a hairline).
Thankfully Tex, Kelly’s usual mount, was there with another rider. The crew shuffled horses and Kelly rode Tex back to the truck without her boot, because she remembered that hospital staff have a tendency to cut off boots. A truck driver had to be called in, to take the dually truck and big trailer full of horses back to the Home Ranch. Once there, Kelly was transferred to the little Cruiser and one of the helpers took her in to the hospital. Possibly you are aware there is usually a long line-up in the Emergency Room? THAT Saturday evening was no exception.
Kelly was very grateful when Nurse Janet (who is retired, but still knows all the proper procedures) showed up and immediately went in search of warm sheets to cover the now shocky patient. When asked by the Doctor what he could do for Kelly, she answered “Get an x-ray to find out if this leg is broken!!” The Doctor looked a bit surprised, but promptly sent Kelly to get an x-ray. Once it was determined there was a break, then a cast had to be applied. Once again Nurse Janet stepped in and assisted the Doctor with the application of the plaster cast. OMG those casts are heavy!!
The local Doctor sent Kelly to the orthopedic surgeon in Prince Albert. Dr Martins was sure that surgery would not be necessary and that an immobilizing boot cast would allow the leg to heal but enable the patient to take it off to shower and sleep. Thank goodness it was much lighter than the plaster cast.
The ankle did not look all that bad initially but after 5 days it was a sickly shade of yellow. One of the students Kelly was mentoring brought a side-by-side to help with mobility. It’s a long way to the saddling area on crutches and even longer to the riding rings! Try to imagine that you can no longer move safely on your own two feet but there are many things that still need to be done. The helpers had to step up and learn many things, including how to hook a trailer onto the truck.
Kelly did not ride that much during the next few weeks, but she did take clients on trails and checked cows. During the fourth week of August, she conducted the annual Roughrider Camp and the following week started the Fall Lesson Series. Initially Kelly was only able to teach from the seat of the side-by-side, but eventually she became proficient on crutches and could move out into the beginners ring or the big riding area. Kelly’s Crew of volunteers are amazing at helping all the little & big people learn how to ride.
By the time six weeks rolled by, Dr Martins authorized the use of a mid-calf height, lace-up boot to protect the still healing bones. He felt that the muscles, ligaments and tendons were healed enough to begin walking on the foot. He even advised walking barefoot in the house. Since Kelly and her chauffeur were in Prince Albert, they visited the Killarney Kastle, which served an excellent lunch.
Fortunately, Kelly found a pair of ladies boots that laced up and were over the mid-calf height. For Ranch wear however, she was able to borrow Leonard’s very good, high, lace-up boots. (Once hunting season rolled around, Leonard needed them back.) At first Kelly felt unstable without her crutches and used a cane. Eventually (nine weeks) she was able to walk without the cane, though with a bit of a limp.
At the beginning of November, Dr Martins ordered another x-ray to determine if his expectations about bone healing were correct. The following is from the radiology report, “New bone formation and decreased fracture line clarity are consistent with progressing healing.” Kelly was told to be very careful on ice and uneven surfaces. The ankle has decreased to nearly normal size and is no longer painful. Mobility was greatly enhanced once riding was a regular occurrence. Kelly has told several people that riding, as therapy, should be recommended, since weight bearing is minimal and rotation of the ankle joint in all directions is frequent when riding.
PS Apparently my first episode with learning to be patient and heal my body was not enough! I needed a second lesson, just when I thought I was back on both feet from the first experience. I have been amazed at how well and relatively quickly I have recuperated each time. While I am living through each moment it seems to be a slow process, but when I look back, I realize I am progressing very well. Now, I would like to keep my newfound realization, but not have to live through another such lesson!