Tuesday, 14 April 2015

The time Boss was dragged behind a galloping horse

Boss is a fascinating person to me. We have been together 8 years and I've heard many of his stories. I feel like I have heard most of them and each story has been repeated several times. Then occasionally a new one will surface and it is always worth the wait.

I recently went on a girls trip with one of my best friends and her sister to visit another bestie who had just had a little baby. We were in our hotel room (people with infants do not need house guests!) probably getting ready to go out for the day, but generally procrastinating and taking forever and I was telling the story of the time Boss was dragged behind a galloping horse.

I was 10 years old when this happened. I was not an eye witness! But it is one of those stories that I have heard many times before and so I feel confident enough to tell it (as if I was there!).

This moment has *completely* changed the course of Boss' life. He would have been married to a completely different person, he would have never had the kids he had and he would never have gone into the work that led him to me. So even though it happened when I was a child, it was altering my life story too.

Boss was introduced to horses by a school friend at 14 years old. They went out to Smokey's Riding School and hired some horses one Saturday morning for a trail ride. From that moment on Boss was hooked, he went back to the riding school every Saturday after that. He would brush down the horses and feed them and probably undertook many other less glamorous tasks assigned. He quit school soon after. He started working full time at the riding school, he had found his passion. He would jump out of bed every day so excited and grateful that he had the opportunity to do what he loved as a job.

Fast forward a few years and Boss is 20 years old. Engaged to "Horse Girl". He has an agistment property, he is training horses and is a farrier and equine dentist.

One day Boss is out riding with Horse Girl and a car spooks his horse. The horse bucks, Boss is thrown and the horse gallops off. Except that one leg is caught in the stirrup and Boss is dragged along behind the galloping horse. Horse Girl is an excellent horse-woman, (and she went on to have a very well respected career as a horse trainer) she manages to chase down the horse, get it under control and get Boss out of the stirrup. The foot that was caught in the stirrup is a mess, so Horse Girl rides home to get the car and rescue Boss.

Boss arrives at the hospital. Some versions of this story have the foot being turned completely backwards, in some tellings the foot is just a mangled mess. I've seen the scar 20 years after the fact and in my mind it is a combination of both; a mangled mess that no longer looks like a foot and the toes certainly aren't where you expect them to be.

So of course Boss hops into the emergency ward. Who needs a wheelchair when you are still capable of hopping?

Boss heads up to the admissions desk and tells the nurse that he has broken his leg. She asks him to take a clipboard, fill in his details and wait. Boss waits a million pain years (a measure of time completely different to the rest of the universe!) and he hops back to the counter and, crying this time, asks to be seen by a doctor. This time the nurse leans over the counter, sees the mess that used to be his foot and proclaims OH.MY.GOD. Again, as someone who was not witness to the accident this is another measure (along with the fact that Boss was crying) that the leg was pretty destroyed. I feel like triage nurses have usually seen it all. But the sight of that foot was enough to bring a flurry of medical professionals and stretchers out of the woodwork.

Unfortunately the medical treatment was short lived. He had broken basically every bone in his foot. The doctors at the hospital just didn't have the experience to operate on the foot with any real chance of success. So Boss lays on a hospital bed, off his face on morphine for two days. His parents sign a release form to allow his leg to be amputated. Luckily no one is quite ready to lop off the leg of a fit, strong, handsome 20 year old man.

At the 48-hour mark Boss' luck begins to change. One of the countries best orthopedic surgeons based in Melbourne flies back into the country after being overseas for a conference. He is immediately flown up to Brisbane to look at the leg and see what he could do. By this point the foot has swollen in to a huge black bruise. The pressure of the blood pooling in the foot makes it throb and Boss can feel it through the morphine. When the surgeon finally cut open the wound, blood spatters the walls from the release of pressure of all that blood and fluid.

Boss has the operation. This very talented doctor saves his leg. Boss and his parents are told not to expect too much. He still may never walk unassisted on that leg ever again. So he takes his crutches and moves home to his parents house to begin the recovery process.

Enter the next stroke of luck for Boss. The community that Boss grew up in was centered around the pub that the men drank at. It was a place where wins were celebrated, losses commiserated and business deals were shook on. One of the locals at the pub was a highly respected, but retired, physiotherapist. He agreed to help Boss with his recovery.

Two weeks later, Boss uses his crutches to get up the steps and entered the physio's home. Anyone walking past a few minutes later would have seen a pair of crutches flying out of one of the windows! The physio says to Boss that if he doesn't stop using those crutches he will never walk again. They spend hours at the beach walking slowly in the water, building up the strength in that foot again.

It takes 18 months from the time his parents signed the form authorising the amputation of his leg until he fully recovers. But even 20 years later that foot still aches in cold weather, we have to search for the right kind of shoe that fits over the scar and Boss still limps slightly.

Actually our employees say they can tell exactly what mood Boss is in even from 500m away...the stronger the limp the more cranky Boss is!

















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