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Happiness in tragedies...

“I’ve become this happiness scavenger who picks away at the ugliness of the world, because if there’s happiness tucked away in my tragedies, I’ll find it no matter what.” ― Adam Silvera, More Happy Than Not

I’ve learned a lot this week about truly finding the gratitude and silver lining in the hard moments that life will sometimes deal us.

We were still laughing about our unplanned four mile hike, due to the Toyota dropping a wheel on the mountain as we planned our next adventure- branding with our friends.

We left the house about 30 minutes late the morning we were due to help gather because irrigation water set us behind. When we pulled into their yard they had already ridden out and had cows coming in so we headed down the lane to help them turn cows where we knew they needed to go. Neither of us thought to warm our horses up because we had been using them a lot and didn’t feel there was a need for it. They behaved as we hoped when we rode out to catch up to the crew.

Coming back in we waited in the back as cows and the rest of the crew crossed through a bog that stretched across the lane leading into the corral. Maynard floundered through it and Laynie came behind me on Sam who attempted to get a piggy back ride from Maynard. I turned to wait for Husbeast and saw as his horse came through the bog.

In what felt like an eternity, but took probably less than a minute, Husbeast’s horse bogged his head and went to bucking like he meant it. Husbeast came out of the saddle and made a jump on his neck and was trying to get back in his seat when his horse spun away from him, into the fence and kept up his bucking. I don’t know the exact move that did it, but next thing I saw was Husbeast coming off in a somersault and landing with a thud. The whole time his horse bucked I tried to get Maynard in there to stop him but he was having nothing to do with it. I bailed off of Maynard to get to Husbeast who was groaning in pain. He knew right away that he had broken ribs.

I sent Laynie for a “buggy” to get him to the truck and rode back to the corral as he was driven back across. He was pale and in pain and wanted to sit in the truck. He couldn’t get comfortable so I loaded horses, left the kids at the neighbors and headed for home. It took him forever to find a place that he could sit comfortably, with his face sideways on the mattress of the bed and his knees and feet on the ground. I gave him some pain medicine and propped beanbags around him hoping he could get some rest.

I knew to look for blood in a couple different places and there was no sign of it, so we both hoped he was going to be “just” a case of broken ribs. About 90 minutes later he woke up and called me.

“I think I have a problem…”

His neck, upper chest area and back where he landed were puffy. I touched him gently and discovered that he wasn’t swollen due to sore tissue, but air. It was like touching a balloon. My hand started to shake because I knew that whatever this was, it was wrong…I told him as calm as I could “It’s time to get you to a hospital…”

I carefully got him comfortably dressed and loaded in my pickup in the same position he had been in on the side of the bed and I slowly headed out of the yard. I made it about a half mile and knew we were going to have to call for help. Right at that moment, for the next hour, was the most anxious I have ever been. It took me 20 minutes to get back to the house. I thought I was going to have to leave him in the pickup at the end of the lane and run home to call 911. He struggled to breathe and was in so much pain, and I could do nothing to help him. I was finally able to get to the house and I left him in the pickup and raced in to call 911. I made the request for a helicopter and tried to maintain calm while the dispatcher asked me questions. I gave coordinates (just FYI, get your coordinates from a GPS and as accurate as you can and keep them near the phone or on your cell phone) for the house and a description of the area. She mentioned an ambulance and I insisted that a helicopter come because an ambulance would be 3 hours out.

I was able to get Husbeast back in to the couch and began texting the branding crew with an update that I was flying him out of here. I was messaging my mom wishing she were closer and updating my oldest bonus daughter. I paced the house and tried to not let him see me cry. I listened closely for the helicopter and when I heard it, I ran out into the yard just in time to see it come over the hill to the south. I ran out into the meadow, waving my arms like a crazed fool. They flew over me and circled the house to come back. From the time I made the call, to the time they landed was about 30 minutes.

The paramedic came and confirmed with me that the location was accurate and shut the chopper down. He came in the house with his medic bag and a nurse close on his heels. He instantly went to work, talking to Husbeast and asking questions about the accident. As the medic listened to his lungs, Husbeast asked “am I just being a {wimp}?”

The medic replied and said “No. Nope, you have a collapsed lung my friend. You want to go to Boise or Salt Lake?”

I was still distraught, but I was also very relieved because this crew was amazing. I knew no matter where we headed, Husbeast was in good hands and I began to relax a bit. They worked to get him on a stretcher and started IVs to get him some relief. We strapped him onto the stretcher and all four of us carried him out to the helicopter. By then the kids had come home and Laynie helped us carry him out. The pilot had made the call and they were to be Boise bound. The helicopter was small so I couldn’t accompany them.

The kids and I watched them leave and took a moment to let some tears come because they were just as scared as I had been. We got down to business and wrapped up chores, showered and packed overnight bags and headed for Boise. In the hour or so that it took us to get finished up and headed for the hospital, I received a voicemail from the nurse on the flight. Before I had made it out to the highway, they had arrived at the hospital and had Husbeast x-rayed and headed for more tests and she reassured me that he was being well cared for. Our trip took us about 4 ½ hours, but he was comfortable when we arrived and well enough that he was moved in to his own room in the main section of the hospital. He was hooked up to oxygen and an IV for fluids and had a tube in his chest to remove the air that had escaped his lungs and was circulating in his body.

The final verdict was four fractured ribs, with fractures in six places, a collapsed right lung and a partially collapsed left lung (technical term – Pneumothorax). He spent two nights in the hospital. The morning of the third day, they decided to pull the chest tube and do another x- ray to be sure his lung was staying inflated without help. We were released late that afternoon. He’s home and healing well and his spirits are good. We have friends close by and neighbors who have offered to help and we are taking each day as it comes. For Husbeast, the outpouring of support from all of you, from the comments on social media wishing him well, to the calls and texts he’s received have been overwhelming in a good way and have brought much gratitude and appreciation for the people in our lives.

What I’ve learned from this among other things, is the depth of our blessings and the width of the silver lining. We were fortunate with the Toyota that we were traveling at a speed that caused us no harm; that someone else wasn’t driving the vehicle when it came apart; that we were close enough to home to get there safely; that we weren’t on the highway. We were fortunate with Husbeast that while still a traumatic injury, it wasn’t worse; that we had access to air lift him out of here; that he healed in the hospital rapidly; that we have friends and neighbors close by; that it wasn’t worse. Things will have to be handled differently with cattle and haying this summer, but we are taking it a day at a time and neither of us has had a chance to be too upset about it all, because we have had enough moments to just be grateful. All of the little things this last week that have still stacked up to be good things, have made us fully appreciate our blessings. Yeah, there was a cloud hanging over the place, but the sun behind it made that silver lining stand out and that’s where we will turn our focus….

Huge, shout out and many thanks to the REACH Flight Crew: Pilot- Brandon Silvey, Paramedic – Colt Hardcastle , and Nurse – Elizabeth Lurvey . You were our heroes that day!

Also, our gratitude and thanks to the hospital staff at Saint Alphonsus in Boise. The doctors, nurses, x-ray techs, the food server and the cleaning lady were outstanding and we sing their praises too. You all need your own capes!

Meet Ruby

I am Ruby Uhart.  I'm a ranch wife, mom, bonus mom and teacher.  I'm a story teller and keeper of memories.  Thank you for visiting! 

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