← Return to Recovering from Spine Surgery: Patience required

Discussion
lilypaws (@lilypaws)

Recovering from Spine Surgery: Patience required

Spine Health | Last Active: Jul 14, 2020 | Replies (15)

Comment receiving replies
@jenniferhunter

@lilypaws Hi Jeanie. Here's my story. I own an older horse, and usually take a trip with a group from the boarding stable to go trail riding once a year. My horse was not sound enough to go this year, and one of my friends loaned me a horse, and because the camp ground where we could keep the horses had re-opened after the lock down, we were able to go. In preparation, we all went trail riding several times as a group near home to get in condition for the trip, and put some training into the horses. I had to ride in last place because the mare kicked at other horses behind her. About half way through the trip, somewhere there was a loose dog and I never saw it, but the horse spooked as we came out of the woods where the trail bordered a field. She took off at a full gallop, and I did all I could to hold on, but she jarred me loose and I fell. It happened so fast and I didn't know I was falling until I hit the ground. I knew my ankle was broken and dislocated, and I got my first hour long ride in an ambulance and emergency surgery that put a cage on my ankle to stabilize it with pins into the tibia (shin bone) and my heel bone. I was taken there because of it being a better hospital with good orthopedic surgeons. I was in that regional hospital for 2 days because I wasn't well enough to be able to navigate on my own with a walker and get up and down stairs while I was in so much pain. My friends picked up a walker for me, and drove me home in my car. There were 4 of us and 3 vehicles, so that worked out OK. It was a compound fracture of the fibula, and the tibia was in several pieces. I then had to search for a surgeon to fix the fractures and I wanted a good surgeon, so I contacted the Mayo surgeon who did my spine surgery for his recommendation, and they reached out to me right away and I had an appointment with scheduled surgery in just a couple days. It was fixed with 2 titanium plates on the tibia, and a screw placed inside the fibula.

I was riding as safely as possible and wearing a helmet. When I fell, I fell on my side and didn't hit my head. It was just a freak thing and it happened with this horse because I was riding in last place. One of the other girls fell off also because the other horses all reacted, but she was not hurt. I am lucky that there were no other injuries other than my ankle, and I never did anything to break my fall because I didn't know I was falling, so I didn't hurt my hands or arms, neck or back. It didn't hurt that much right away, because the body goes into shock and prevents the pain signals. I was in the emergency room 2 hours later when my body noticed the pain, and it was bad, like a knife in the bottom of my heel and they got me into surgery within an hour of my arrival. The surgical nurse was talking with me about her horses outside the operating room while they waited for the results of the COVID swab test, and then took me into surgery. The surgeon hadn't decided if he would put plates on my bones or put a cage on, so I didn't know until I woke up. We didn't talk that long, but I remember his eyes behind his glasses which is all I could really see of him. His surgical nurse was great, and so nice to me, and I really was enjoying talking to her about her horses. This was the new me who was not afraid of surgery any more. Even coming to Mayo for the 2nd surgery didn't worry me, and I did just fine. I knew I was in good hands and I made sure the thank my surgeon. I have been told it's 6 months to a year for a full recovery for this type on injury and that I can develop post traumatic arthritis later. I hope not.

Jump to this post


Replies to "@lilypaws Hi Jeanie. Here's my story. I own an older horse, and usually take a trip..."

What a bummer, but as you say, just a freaky accident that you could not have predicted. At least your head didn’t take it. Plus, a broken ankle/leg better than your neck or back….sigh. I try to be grateful for the “best” outcomes!

What an unfortunate accident. I'm glad you were so at ease with the surgery this time around. All the work you did prior to your cervical surgery set you up for this. May the thought of riding your horses again get you thru the healing process.