The year was 1990, I was practicing barrel racing and the horse I was riding slipped onto her side. Upon impact with the ground, I was immediately unconscious.
This was before the internet or even much knowledge at all about the workings of the brain. I think that worked out to my benefit.
Five weeks on life support, remained comatose for two and a half months and spent a month and a half in full-time, hardcore therapy. My Mom was by my side the whole time, she is why I am.
When I slowly emerged into consciousness my dream world and reality were muddled. Reality hit home when I wasn’t able to move in the physical world, no feeling in my legs, my arms were mostly out of commission – to save getting into explanations. I was in a foreign place, had no idea how I got there, and I had all these people in medical attire bossing me around and asking me ridiculous questions. Had I been introduced to the idea of alien abductions previously I might have been more suspicious of the whole ordeal.
With every therapy session, be it speech, occupational, or physio, I would be pushed to inevitable failure. Everybody around me confirmed this was how I would regain mobility and get back to life.
Looking back, this gave me a belief that I had to do until I could do no more if I wanted to achieve what was important to me. Not a bad belief but in no way the best.
The doctor that oversaw my case told my parents early on that I would never walk again. Before I left the hospital I was sure to walk by that doc, more for my own satisfaction than anything.
I was only able to get one photo but it is a very important one. This picture of me is about one month into my supposed 18 month recovery. That set of parallel bars signify a liferegained. Forever grateful. 🙂
The town where I lived planned a Welcome Home thing where we got a police escort through Main Street. The community lined either side, smiling and waving. Yellow ribbons were on trees and poles everywhere in reference to the old song, Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree https://youtu.be/0GDzPyHspSs. The song was blaring through town, it may have been coming from the cop car in front of us.
I really do count my blessings daily for the tools necessary for my own recovery – Love, support, role models, and quite important for myself, animals.
Four months after I was admitted to the hospital with a life threatening head injury, I returned to school.
That was hard. My acquaintances were patient and understanding but I felt different and I didn’t like it. I had to maintain a certain grade point average if I wanted to return to rodeo.
Seven months after I returned home and to school, I returned to the competitive arena.
Four years after the original accident I graduated from high school and won a Canadian championship in Pole Bending, my favorite rodeo event.
I am forty years old now with a bit of a shake in one hand and my speech slows as I get fatigued. I have raised three kids and countless animals with my husband, we’ve been married for 18 years.
I chose to share my story to offer hope to anybody who needs it.
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