Down but not Out

I hadn’t planned on making a big deal out of this but I see the word has leaked out and so I decided that I should go ahead and put up my version of what happened and avoid having to type the same story a dozen times.

I am writing this from a hospital bed at home.

I’ve been breaking a young (green broke) horse–a rescue I inherited from a granddaughter (go figure). I had him coming along really good — he’d neck rein, stop, back up, did good turns, stand ground tied–all the basic stuff. He has even been to the pasture a couple of times. We were currently working on speed control–wanted him to have a nice easy lope on a loose rein. But all along I had all the respect in the world for him. I knew he was young, and just like any teenager, unpredictable and always proceeded with caution.

The kids and grand kids were here for Thanksgiving and so last Friday, my son-in-law and I decided to work with him a little. I warmed him up and rode him in the round pen then led him out into an arena sized area. I asked my son-in-law if he wanted to ride him. He said sure. He acted a little funny but I thought it was probably because the son-in-law weighs about 30 lbs more than me and I had been the only one on his back for almost a year now.

When the son-in-law got off, I started to get on. All along he has had a little tendency to walk off (but never bolt) when somebody was mounting him. I’ve broke him from it several different times but he keeps forgetting. This time, when I stepped on him he bolted. I should have quit him then and there and started over. But, my right leg was already over him but just not in the stirrup.

So, when he bolted, I instinctively (to hold on) jabbed him with my right spur–which caused the situation to deteriorate very rapidly. He headed for the junk pile where I was hoping he would turn left and set me back up into the saddle. He didn’t. He turned right toward an electric fence where he made another sharp right and that was the end of me.

The back of my head found the one and only steel post in the whole area. It took 6 staples to close it up. I landed mostly on my lower back and back of the head. My son-in-law ran up to see if I was OK.

I told him that I couldn’t breathe. He thought I just had the wind knocked out of me but, as I told him later, that is not what it felt like–it felt like a really hard “jolt” had taken my voice away.

Fortunately my daughter (an ICU and flight nurse) was there and took charge. Otherwise I would surely have tried to get up and would be dead or paralyzed from the neck down today. Anyway, she ordered that 911 be called (to which I responded with “bullshit”), ordered me not to move so much as a hair and stabilized my head until they got there.

So we took a very bumpy road (Alpine streets) to BBM Hospital where they did a MRI on my head and neck. The ER Dr. said it looked OK to him but the radiologist was in LasVegas so they had to beam the pics uprange to get someone who knew how to look at them.

As soon as they got the response they ordered an aircraft and began to prepare for the flight which had to come out of Carlsbad (or Roswell?) New Mexico. Ironically (or small world), the flight nurse on the crew had gone through training with my daughter. So the daughter got to ride to Odessa with us.

Leaving a bunch of run-around bullshit out, they finally got another MRI of the neck and X-rays for the lower Lombard region. The ER Dr. in Odessa was an idiot (told me I needed a colonoscopy and insisted on turning me on my side knowing that I had an unstable fracture at C2. Thought the daughter was going through the ceiling).

Anyway, finally got a trauma surgeon and a couple of neuro surgeon types to look at the pics and come to an agreement. The consensus was (is) that my spine is broken in 4 places. 3 of them in the lower area which they are not concerned about–they generally heal themselves.

But the C2 thing (in case you don’t know) is the 2nd vertebra below the skull. It is the one that controls speech. And that is why I felt the way I did when I was trying to talk to my son-in-law. If you recall, that is the one that got “Superman” (can’t remember the actor’s name).

So, you see, I’m gonna be out of commission for a while but at least the toes, fingers, arms and legs still wiggle. I consider myself very lucky because a fraction of an inch one way or the other and/or not having a competent “flight nurse” on site, it might have been a totally different story.

PS Anybody want to buy a good green broke gilding? (Just joking.)


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5 Responses to Down but not Out

  1. jay352 says:

    It sucks to be you. I had C7-T1 and T10 with subsequent surgery on the C. With good treatment and care it heals faster than you would think. Do you know how many dots there are on your ceiling yet? LOL. Best of luck to you. (Said by a man who just amputated the top of his trigger finger a few weeks ago)


  2. Thaddeus Hulsey says:

    Dr. LaBaume,If there’s a bright side… I hope this brings the family close for Christmas!Best to you,Terry Hulsey

    Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2014 21:27:08 +0000 To:


  3. L Gully says:

    Oh man… Good thing you’re such a tough sumbitch, and good thing you and Sally passed along some smart genes to Casey, huh? Now you get to live on some MORE “borrowed time”. Sounds like this was a close one!

    Glad to hear it sounds like you’re going to be okay, eventually.

    I know you probably have people doting on you already, but let me know if you need anything. I can run to Alpine for a day and manhandle anything you need manhandled, etc, just about any time. One of the perks of being self-employed!

    Get well, and be safe!


    On Wed, Dec 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM, wrote:

    > Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc. posted: “I hadn’t planned on > making a big deal out of this but I see the word has leaked out and so I > decided that I should go ahead and put up my version of what happened and > avoid having to type the same story a dozen times. I am writing this from a > hospital “


  4. Brian Patrick Corcoran says:

                Damn Gunny! 

                 That ain’t funny!   You say you broke your spine in four places?  In the future I recommend you stay away from those places. You don’t seem to have much luck there.              I swore off horses a long time ago when one of them almost killed me, too.  As soon as I got on the damn thing it starting bucking back and forth to throw me.  And it just would not stop no matter what I tried.  Eventually it did throw me and the worst part was my left foot was caught in the stirrup and I could not get it out.  So here is this horse that did not stop bucking even after it threw me and I am on my back on the ground tied to the damn thing with my foot caught in the stirrup!  I really thought I was going to die but someone came to my rescue and pulled my bacon out of the fire.  But after that incident I never sat on a horse again. I learned my lesson.                                                                  Brian in Chile PS :  Yeah, if that K-Mart manager hadn’t come outside the building and unplugged the damn thing I might have been a goner. PPS : I hope you take my shabby attempt at humor in the right vane.  Laughter might not be the best medicine here. (I’ve always preferred a good bottle of whiskey). Truth be told there is nothing funny about your condition. Given the circumstances as you’ve described them, you should feel lucky that you even survived!  I’ll pray for you, my friend that you can be back in the saddle soon! Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy 2015.  It promises to be a hell of a year politically and we need your insights and comments on the Fly Over Press.       

    From: To: Sent: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 6:27 PM Subject: [New post] Down but not Out #yiv1268236962 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1268236962 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1268236962 a.yiv1268236962primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1268236962 a.yiv1268236962primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1268236962 a.yiv1268236962primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1268236962 a.yiv1268236962primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1268236962 | Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc. posted: “I hadn’t planned on making a big deal out of this but I see the word has leaked out and so I decided that I should go ahead and put up my version of what happened and avoid having to type the same story a dozen times.I am writing this from a hospital ” | |


  5. Obed Morley says:

    Hang in there superman.


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