Friday July 5
The boys and I packed up the Tahoe and I hauled our last bags of garbage to Tim and Donna’s. I saw Ben’s dog, Spot, and Ben quickly walked into view.
“I thought you’d already left,” he said.
“Thanks again for helping me. It was so nice meeting you and hanging out.”
“My pleasure,” Ben said. “Come back in the fall.”
“I’m going to,” I said. I walked down the path and turned. Ben was still standing there. We waved at each other.
I threw a load of laundry into the washing machine at home and drove to the barn. I found BlackJack in the pasture and began leading him to the stable. Plague-like fly swarms blackened the air. BlackJack swung his head, bit at his sides, and swished his tail. Suddenly, he jumped straight up into the air stumbling as he landed. We jogged into the barn and I tied BlackJack’s lead rope to a ring. I began digging impacted mud out of his hooves. Next thing I knew, I was opening my eyes and laying on the concrete floor five feet away from BlackJack.
I slowly pushed myself up to sitting. My head was spinning. The left side of my jaw ached. My glasses were missing. I carefully stood and began searching for my spectacles with very nearsighted eyes. I ran my tongue along my teeth. None felt broken. I pressed my teeth together. A molar on the bottom left was elevated. I pressed down harder and there was an audible crack as the molar clicked into my jawbone. The screen door to the barn squeaked open and slammed shut.
“Hello,” I called, walking to the stairs leading up to the door. No one was there. I climbed the stairs. I pushed opened the door.
“Hello,” I yelled.
“Hello,” a voice answered.
“Can you help me? I need help.”
“I’ll be right there,” the voice said.
I descended the stairs and continued searching for my glasses. Minutes later, Big Anne appeared.
“I was knocked unconscious,” I told Big Anne. “I don’t know for how long. I don’t know what happened. My jaw is killing me. It’s swelling and getting hot.”
Big Anne found my glasses ten feet from where I was laid out on the ground. “I’ll get you an icepack,” she said. She returned with one wrapped in paper towels and I pressed it to my jaw. “You don’t have any kick marks on you,” Big Anne said. “You don’t have dirt marks or abrasions. He must have spun around really fast and threw you into a wall. You probably bounced off the wall and landed on the ground.”
“My left side, my shoulder, hip, and elbow hurt. But I came-to laying on my right side.”
“Your elbow is turning black,” Big Anne said. “I think you should go to the emergency room, get yourself checked out.”
“I think my jaw or molar might be fractured.”
“How does your head feel? You sound coherent.”
“A little loopy.”
“Do you feel sick?”
“A tiny bit nauseated.”
“You should go to the hospital. I’ll take you.”
We climbed the stairs. My Tahoe was parked at the top. I opened my car door.
“You shouldn’t drive,” Big Anne said. “Hop in my truck. I’ll bring you back to your car if everything checks out.”
I got into Anne’s truck and called Blake.
“I’m okay, but I had another horse accident,” I told Blake. “Don’t worry. I’m on my way to the hospital but I’m sure I’m fine.”
“Damn it Mom! You have to get rid of that horse. He’s going to put you in a wheelchair. It’s not a question of if he does, it’s a question of when. Bet you weren’t wearing your helmet were you?”
“I wasn’t even on him.”
“You need to wear my goalie gear whenever you get near that asshole. He’s Jack the Ripper. He’s going to kill you.”
“I’m at the hospital now. Take Tom out to eat and tell him I’m okay. Okay?”
“Call me when you know something.”
The ER doc looked at my CT scan. “You didn’t fracture your jaw but you stressed your TMJ. Don’t open your mouth wide. See an orthodontist in the next two or three days. There’s a lot of swelling back there by that molar. I’m writing you a prescription for pain medication. Don’t drive when you take it. And read the information I’m printing for you about concussion.”