We are all SO lucky today! The fabulous Shirley Blauser is on The Barrel Racing Blog to give us all a little KICK in the butt. If you’re feeling a little down, unmotivated or tired, read on. Shirley went through a horrible and painful ordeal this winter, and she fought to be back on her feet and soon to be back in the saddle.
Tell us about your accident. What happened, how did it happen, and what do you remember first after the crash?
I was at Waynesburg, Nov. 12, 2011 at a barrel race. As I came in to the arena and ready to turn the first barrel, a tiny twist of my body in my saddle blew my pelvis. When this happened, I tipped to the left. Honor (my horse) evidently thought I was going to fall off and he went to the rail. At the time I remember thinking ‘Why did I pull him to the rail?’ and then remembered I was hanging on to the horn with my left hand so I couldn’t have done it. After watching the video you could see that he did it on his own. (What a great horse!) We came around the barrel and I got him slowed down and went back to the gate. At this time I felt like someone had thrown a bucket of scalding water in my crotch area. Turns out that feeling came from the fact that my stomach muscles had exploded along with my pelvis. As soon as that pain passed, it was total numbness and no more pain. Bert Thompson came over to me and asked if I was okay. I said I need to get off this horse right now. She yelled for help and about 25 people came running.
I couldn’t get my right leg out of the stirrup so a couple of guys came around and took it out and walked it across Honor’s butt and stood it beside the left one. Then 3 guys held me by my waist and lifted me out of the left stirrup and set me down. They came up with an arm chair and set me in it and carried me to the restroom because of the feeling I had with the scalding water. I had felt soaked but I was totally dry. Then we bickered about calling an ambulance-I said NO ambulance. As luck would have it, Mari Beth Guido’s husband Albert had driven his car to the show that day so they loaded me in to it and Mari and Shayne took me to Waynesburg Hospital. One of the gals at the show worked at the hospital so she called ahead and they were waiting on me when we got there. The doctor took an xray and told me there was nothing he could do for me and that he was sending me to the Trauma Center in Pittsburgh. At that time my heart sank because I realized then that it was something really serious.
I spent the night there and they took me by ambulance Sunday morning to Pittsburgh. On Monday morning they did surgery. I had what they called an “open book” pelvic injury. It wasn’t broken, it had separated from my spine and had a 6 cm spread in it and my spinal cord was 2 cm away from being severed. The right and left sacroiliac joints were also fractured. I dread to think what could have happened if I had fallen off. I guess I prefer not to think about that!!! I just layed there on Sunday because no surgeries were done on Sunday. On Monday morning they took me to surgery.
The doctor had to put a plate and screws in my pelvis to bring it together. He couldn’t repair my stomach muscles so he called in another surgeon and she couldn’t do them either. A plastic surgeon was called at this time. The plastic surgeon would be there on Tuesday so they left the incision open and I went back to surgery on Tuesday morning. I now have mesh in my stomach holding the muscles together. I spent 12 days in the hospital and got to come home on Thanksgiving day. The orthopedic surgeon at that time told me I would be off my feet for 3 months and rehab for 3 more months.
On Dec. 8 I went back to the doctor for a follow-up and an xray. He told me it looked really good and to make another appointment for 5 weeks and he would start me walking. I’m thinking “WOW”. So on Jan. 12 exactly 2 months after the mishap he took another xray and said it was excellent and I could start walking. I came home ‘and started walking’. No walker, no cane, nothing. Even though I didn’t feel that I needed therapy because I had continued every day to exercise in my bed, determined not to lose my leg muscles I made an appointment with the therapist. The therapist after checking me and putting me through some exercises told me there wasn’t really any need for her. On February 1 I went back to my job which is driving school bus. I’m still a little stiff when I get up in the morning but I can handle that!! The doctor told me I can start riding in March after my follow-up visit with him and hopefully my last visit.
Who has helped you the most throughout this process?
My husband was my crutch through this whole time. For 2 weeks I think, he hardly left my side except to do chores and feed the horses. He cooked and did dishes, which is something he had NEVER done!!! The only thing he wasn’t good at was cleaning the house, but he told me that would wait on me. Oh well!! He was right, it did wait on me.
What have your grandbabies been doing to keep your spirits up?
As for my grandsons, Bryer and Trap, they spent a lot of time helping Grandpa in the barn doing the things that was my job. Bryer is Grandpa’s right hand man. And Shayne was my right arm always getting the things that I needed.
What is your goal for the next six months?
My goal is to be barrelracing by May if not before. Actually the horses got a well deserved vacation during this time. I feel that I’m a pretty lucky woman to be walking exactly 2 months after it happened considering it was to be 3 months down and 3 months rehab in the beginning.
I would have to say GOD was definitely looking out for me on November 12.
Thank you GOD!!!!!!!!!!And everyone else that helped in this time of my need.
What keeps you motivated to keep getting better?
My motivation for getting better is that I’m not a quitter. What do they say, “Quitters never Win” That’s my goal when I come back riding.