Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 5-28-12 |

Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 5-28-12

In medical Doctors’ offices in ranch country, the fattest chart-files are those representing cowboys and cowgirls. Working with livestock means daily possibilities of injury. Bumps, bruises, scrapes, cuts – those are the mild damages; it’s when limbs are badly sprained; when bones get broken; when tendons get ripped that the cowgirl finds herself once again seeing her old friends, the surgical team.

“So, how long will you be wearing that sling?” I asked my friend, Sandy.

“Six to eight weeks,” she said with a grimace and a groan. “There goes my summer.”

Sandy was miffed because she’d had to have the rotator cuff of her right shoulder repaired. She’d first meant to “tough it out” till after the summer camp season. To explain further: Sandy and husband Scott own Blackmountain Outfitters. Which means they guide wild game hunters in spring and fall; lion hunters in winter; and in summer, they open up their wilderness camp to guests looking for outdoor adventure.

Sandy’s a walking miracle. She’s survived a broken neck wherein she had to be strapped to a board so she could not move or jar her head. She’s had two knee surgeries, three shoulder surgeries, a right wrist surgery, an umbilical hernia surgery to name a few of the bodily insults she’s had to have put back in working order.

This latest calamity happened last March when a big Appaloosa horse mowed her over. (Oh, did I mention that Sandy and Scott also buy, train and sell mules and horses?) Following the March debacle, she dutifully went to the Doctor, had an MRI, discovered her rotator cuff was 90 percent torn. Doc advised that she get it fixed (surgically repaired) or face the likelihood that she’d lose function of her right arm altogether.

But first, she participated in a couple of Cowboy Poetry Gatherings. (Did I mention that Sandy is also a poet and writer and performs at Gatherings around the country?) Oh, yes, she and Scott also attended the Kentucky Derby, visited the favored racers and watched the saddling up. Sandy had her photo taken wearing a fabulous formal pale yellow gown and flattering formal wide-brimmed lady’s white chiffon chapeau. A pair of cowboy boots with yellow tops (matching the gown color) completed the outfit.

Last week, Sandy finally got her shoulder revamped. Here’s her e-mail report:

More to fix than they could see in the MRI. Repaired my rotator cuff; had to cut my bicep tendon where it was shredded and re-attach lower; shave off and reposition my collarbone to make room for shoulder movement, and lots of bone spurs to knock off. Ouch!  Will be two months of doing nothing with it but therapy; two more to heal – by hunting season! 

“By hunting season” means Sandy intends to do the usual – ride for miles, handle a rifle, cook for the camp, saddle and unsaddle horses, pack and unpack mules.

As for this summer’s activities, she’s not supposed to lift anything heavier than a thought, but says she’s going to ride into camp in mid July. Says she’ll “boss” somebody to do the heavy lifting when she cooks.

I’m crossing everything I like best, offering entreaties to the Deity, and holding my breath that the wounds will heal nicely, that all will end happily. But Sandy has survived bust-ups before. No reason for me to worry. Sandy isn’t wasting her time fretting. She’s busy learning to text and type with her left hand. So far, lefty is hale and hearty.

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