Monday, August 12, 2013

Gracie's Fall Off Magic

If you know me well, you're aware of my tendency to become verbose under severe stress. So to save my mind and you the long phone calls, I'm going to try and document things here as we go.

We were in Kansas City for for the US Pony Club Championships. There are two "National" Championships each year, one on the East Coast and one either on the West Coast or in the Midwest. The West Coast and Midwest Championships alternate each year and this was our year.  Gracie qualified to compete in Dressage and Gracie, Gemma and Luke qualified to compete in Games.

On Friday, August 9th at about 9am, during the Games competition, Gracie took a terrible fall.  She had just re-mounted Magic after picking up a ball during a race. The race was close and Gracie kicked him on before having her feet completely in the stirrups and her reins gathered up.  Before she could get full control of him, he began to buck. She believes these were bucks of exuberance due to the excitement and speed of the race. I believe Magic was nervous and over-faced by all the excitement, loud music and yelling fans inside this strange, new venue he had never experienced before. Regardless, he was bucking and he was bucking hard. Gracie was caught completely off guard and Megan Timmerman reported that the second buck threw her, what seemed like, 2 feet in the air. He threw the third buck UP as she was coming DOWN and this time she went flying hard to the ground.

I was on the side of the arena shooting pictures of the event and had just lost Gracie in my zoom. When I found her in my lens, I could see her losing her seat but by the time I dropped the camera away from my face, she had landed like a ton of bricks just 20 feet in front of me. She raised up her head and shoulders but almost immediately laid back down. It was that instant I knew she was badly hurt because Gracie would never over-dramatize an injury or let her horse be loose in the arena.  I sprinted to her fearing she had hit her head but when I got to her, she assured me her head was fine. She was complaining about her low back and was obviously in excruciating pain.  Beads of sweat were forming on her upper lip as she tried to describe the location of her pain. The paramedic on duty had rolled her on her back, but this only made the pain worse. When I raised her knees she expressed relief, so thinking she must have broken her tail bone, I reached my arms under her knees and raised her butt off the ground.  I stood like that for what seemed like an eternity, trying to ease her pain while we waited for the ambulance to arrive.

Initial x-rays showed "no fractures" and they attributed her pain to severe muscle spasms in her back. She was given Roxicet and Valium and told they would get her up to walk in a couple hours. I called everyone to report the good news and settled in for the typical, lengthy emergency room experience.  However, when the nurse got Gracie up to use the bathroom, she couldn't put weight on her left leg and became pasty white, dizzy and nauseous.  They immediately laid her back down and the MD returned for additional examination. Considering what happened, the MD felt it was best to get an orthopedic evaluation and some further blood work to rule out internal bleeding.

By the time the orthopedic resident-on-call arrived, it was now 4pm.  As part of his exam, he asked her to stand but as soon as she sat up in bed she became nauseous and pale again.  He felt the pain meds were probably getting the best of her and decided to come back and do his evaluation later. On his way out he visited with ER MD and she expressed concern and pointed out that Gracie hadn't had any pain meds since 10am that morning, making it unlikely they were the cause of her symptoms.  It was at this point they decided to order a CAT scan of Gracie's mid section to get a better look at the soft tissue and bones.

By this time, Scott was on his way to Kansas City with Marshall and Nyla. Last he heard Gracie had no fractures and would just need to rest in the hotel for a day or so.  We thought he could watch Gemma and Luke ride Saturday morning then take the kids to Lego Land while I sat with Gracie at the hotel.  I had to call him with the frightening news that the CAT Scan had revealed several fractures in her pelvis and they were starting morphine through her IV and preparing to admit her.

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