and the kid falls off the horse
It's riding lesson number 10 or 12, I've lost count. The kid is doing pretty well, even on a horse she used to complain about. Looking good, mostly sitting up straight and showing more control than she did a month ago, until the last 10 minutes of the hour lesson. Then the horse is pulling his head this way and that, clearly annoyed at something. I call to the teacher to have a look at the kid's reins and see if she's holding them right. Small adjustment. Seems better. Then they go into cantering, and the kid has lost her poise completely. She starts to look like a rag doll instead of a rider, and then there she goes, slips right off the left side, close to the fence, and my heart stops for a second watching to see how she falls.
Looks okay from where I'm sitting; at least, thank god, the horse doesn't step on her. I'm relieved that the first fall has happened now, knowing it was inevitable and wanting to believe that worrying about it is worse than the reality. I stand up, ready to go to her if she needs me, and I see her getting up too, with the help of the teacher. From where I'm standing I can't see her face, but she's holding her left arm. She's walking; that's good. I'm thinking she'll need a hug at least, so I go toward her. Then I see her distress. She fell on her arm. It looks okay, but she's crying in pain. I massage it, as I always do to bangs that could become bruises -- it prevents bruising -- and check to see if she can bend her arm. She can, but it hurts. Though the teacher insists, and I know it's a good idea, she refuses to get back on the horse. She will again, I'm sure -- though not that horse, which she never liked -- but not today. The arm is killing her.
Got her home, put on lots of Traumeel cream (arnica and other great homeopathic magic), gave her a warm bath to clean off the dust, sweat and tears, and laid her down with a bag of frozen peas in a towel against the wounded arm. The arm's not swollen or discolored -- yet -- but she cries out every time she moves at all. There were lots more tears, she bitched at me a lot and said there was no way she could go to the party her best friend was having this evening. I gave her as much attention and sympathy as I could, but she was in a foul mood and it wasn't easy.
Obviously a bit traumatized over her first, dreaded fall, she kept ranting about the teacher insisting that she take that horse and no other, even though she hates him and there's another one she knows she does better with. And I really have no idea why the teacher was insisting on that horse. I don't know if she was just being mean, but there must have been some agenda, because it's the second time she did it. The kid kept saying, "I KNEW something was going to happen; I just KNEW it, but she wouldn't listen to me!"
After a couple of agonizing hours, the pain subsided just enough (the Traumeel? the ice pack? the ibuprofen? mommy absorbing a shitload of angry abuse?) that she started to think maybe she could go to the party after all, but of course not sleep over, as was planned. At 9, I fashioned a sling out of a big scarf to sort of hold the arm still, and drove her over there.
She called at 10 sounding like the party was better than being at home miserable. At 10:30 she decided her suffering had subsided enough that she'd sleep over as originally planned. Mr. S drove over with her pjs', pillow, and toothbrush.
She phoned several more times to indicate that she was feeling incrementally better, and Mr. S and I settled in to watch a rented movie.
I was thinking of Christopher Reeves today. I think of him as kind of a patron saint of horse riders.
My daughter's friend came with us to the lesson today, and halfway through the lesson told me I shouldn't let my daughter learn to jump because "a lot of people get killed doing that." Well, a mother thinks her child can get killed doing a lot of things, just about anything really, and the list of potentially fatal scenarios just grows with time. How can you stop a kid doing (or doing yourself, for that matter) something they enjoy, even if there are certain risks? That is not my idea of living.
We can't swaddle them, and even if we tried, well... the story of the Sleeping Beauty teaches us that there's no avoiding what will be.
--> UPDATE: A Fractured Humerus is no Laughing Matter
She called me from her friend's this morning at 9, complaining that her arm hurt more. When I picked her up I could see the upper arm area was now swollen, and it hurt enough that she still wasn't walking at a regular pace, trying to keep it still. When I joked with her she said, "Don't make me laugh, it hurts more!" A couple of hours later, I started to think it was time to get it checked. Off we went to the nearest hospital.
We were lucky to find it quiet and didn't have to wait long for attention. The very streamlined, hi-tech process went from check-in, to triage, to curtain where initial assessment was made (no apparent internal organs or parts other than the arm were of concern, no head injury, no vomiting, no blood in urine), and then secondary assessment of arm, and instructions to pee in a cup, then wait for orthopedic doctor, who sent us to get an x-ray. The x-ray immediately appears on the hospital network unlike the old days, when you have to wait around while it gets developed. We walk back to ortho. dr. and wait 5 minutes for our turn.
He quickly tells us the bad news: her arm is broken. The good news: she doesn't need a cast, just a little sling to keep the arm out of (further) harm's way. Prognosis: should be healed in a month to six weeks.
She's broken her humerus, and nothing is making her laugh right now.