Encouragement from a Survivor|
"By Sybil - WCA Member"
This is to those of you who have struggled and survived
with awesome discouragements and life challenges and to those of you who have
loved ones who have as well.
I would like to share my own story with you. I hope this story will
encourage you to not ever give up or quit fighting for survival, and even
more, to pursue and experience your own field of dreams.
I dedicate this heart felt story and more to come to you dear people.
It was a cool brisk April morning in Idaho.
The snow was melting on the hillsides around with green patches of spring grass
dotting the countryside. I was up early bustling around as usual to get my
morning exercise in and usual duties before leaving for work in the afternoon. I
had planned a bike ride with some neighbor girls, but before I could leave, my
first concern was my oldest daughter who had headed out early to work with my
horse for me. She loved to train and work with horses. She had wanted to
work with my horse in exchange for some money she owed. I had agreed somewhat
reluctantly at first since I knew the nature of that horse to be rather
unpredictable at times. I finally conceded to let her as she reminded me of her
ability and successes with many other horses she had trained in the past. She
was only 16yrs old but had definitely proven herself to be quite adept with
horses. I opened the back door of our hundred year old farm house and
viewed my lovely young daughter testing out a new tie down she had placed on
Tori, a beautiful, fiery young mare.
My daughters' hair flowed in the April breeze and she and Tori were an
impressive site together as they strolled down the driveway. I shuttered
as I remembered the many encounters I had had with Tori and her explosive
nature. I knew the power that horse had displayed so many times and I felt
uneasy. I called to my daughter Sheila to let me see her and the horse; since I
wanted to test Tori out to make sure she was ok, for safety, before I would
leave on my morning bike ride. The two neighbor girls were going to be here any
minute for our ride together. I assured my daughter I just wanted to be sure
everything was safe for her before I left and that I appreciated her efforts
I climbed onto the powerful young mare and I felt her twinge with uncertainty as
usual. It seemed she could never really trust anyone no matter how much we
assured her. I reminisced of the many pleasurable rides I had experienced on
that broad and powerful back carrying my old comfortable western roping saddle
and me. We had traveled over the beautiful Idaho hills together many times. I
loved to feel the power of her stride as I viewed the majestic Golden Eagles
soaring through the valleys from on top of the green hills. Tori had endurance
and speed; she would glide over mile after mile with little effort. Her ride was
smooth but I was always uneasy knowing at times she would show extreme panic
driven explosiveness. I pushed her a little to make sure she wouldn't blow up
with my daughter after I left. I made her walk around for quite a while with the
new tie down Sheila had placed on her to set her head. I rode her in front of
the house and up the side driveway several times and then I had my daughter
shorten the tie a slight bit more to double check her tolerance of the devise.
A few minutes later it happened!
All of a sudden I saw Tori glance sideways. A Wave of insanity seemed to
pass across her eyes. I felt a chill travel up my spine. I knew she was going to
blow up with me. I wasn't sure which way she would go, or how much she would
explode, so I tried to remain calm and prepared myself by securing my position
and hold while trying to calm Tori. I must have said a little prayer, as I
wasn't sure what would happen and instantaneously the explosion happened. She
violently threw herself backwards, no rearing, just a sudden flip. There wasn't
time to think let alone bale out. I found myself falling through the air with
the horse coming down on me. In that instance I realized if the saddle horn
were to land on my chest it would probably be a fatal deal for me. I managed to
twist in midair to the side before the saddle horn buried itself in the
ground beside me and the cantle (back of the saddle) landed squarely on my
pelvis with the weight of a 1200lb horse. I heard my pelvis Crunch under the
load and severe pain shot through my lower body.
I now think of the often repeated Bible text that my grandmother told me many
years ago, "The Angel of the Lord encampeth around about them that fear Him and
will deliver them" Psalms 34:7, for it was as this Bible text said. At that very
moment I heard a voice strongly in my head saying,
"It’s OK Sybil! The horse landed in just the right spot."
Peace suddenly flooded me. I had perfect assurance that if I died it was OK and
if I lived it was fine. I felt a strong comforting presence all around me. I
was bleeding to death. I felt my strength slowly leaving. The pain was
coming in waves from almost tolerable to excruciating. When the pain became
unbearable I would say a little prayer and I seemed to be given the strength to
stay conscious and get through it. My pelvis had been fractured in seven
places. The pelvis is very vascular (lots of blood vessels) and that many
fractures were taking their toll. My bladder had also been ruptured. I was lying
on the ground under the now thrashing horse. I couldn't move my legs to get
free. My daughter came to my rescue. She grabbed my arms and pulled me to
safety. I lay in a pool of blood on the ground, fully conscious, peace
continuing to keep me from going into shock. I calmly told my family not to move
me, just call the ambulance.
Minutes seemed like hours, the ambulance finally arrived with a very shook crew.
A crew I had been training with. They all new me personally & this is An EMT's
worst nightmare. Be it nurse in the hospital, or EMT in the field, the worse
thing is to have to save someone you know. By this time my neighbor girls had
come to ride bikes with me. I calmly said. “Just go home you guys and pray for
me, it will be OK”. I was loaded into the ambulance and we began the twelve-mile
ride to the nearest very small hospital.
The EMT's stopped periodically to try and start my now much needed IV. My
other daughter, Lorna, had climbed into the ambulance and was trying to
encourage me to not go to sleep. She bravely kept talking to me and
touching me to keep me conscious. I felt as though my life was just floating and
little by little I was becoming less present. None of the EMT's could
start my IV with their shaking hands and my disappearing veins. I was by now
very hypovolemic. I had lost much blood and I would receive a total of seven
units plus of blood when this was all over. I turned to Lorna (my second
daughter) and said, "Please tell Sheila, if I don't make it to not give
up on God because He still loves her very much." Sheila, my oldest daughter had
been having some struggles and I was very concerned for her.
We finally arrived at the small hospital. A series of events lined up that
basically saved my life. First of all, there was rarely any blood at this
wayside country hospital, let alone the right blood type. The only unit in the
hospital that day was my type. (That was a miracle itself) Second the super
doctor I worked for was there with the chief of staff from the main hospital
thirty miles away where I would have to have emergency surgery. The doctor I
worked for was terrific with IVs and I was comforted when I saw him and he
quickly started my IV and the chief of Staff for the Next hospital arranged
ahead for all the surgery crew and right doctors to be ready when I arrived for
As I lay on the cold ER table and watched helplessly as people scurried here
and there trying to save me I felt myself almost giving up the fight and
then something happened in that small drab ER room that changed my nursing
career forever. An older, tough ER nurse grabbed my cold hand and looked
directly into my eyes and said, "Sybil, you are going to make it, hang on."
She gave me hope and a boost of courage to keep fighting. I'll never forget that
and I've used those very same words of encouragement myself to help many others.
I did hang on, and I did make it by God's grace. They loaded me again into the
ambulance with the blood infusing and the chief of staff surgeon climbed in with
me and personally monitored me all the way to the next hospital. I don't
remember what happened in the next ER.
I have only heard stories from my nurse friends about that. I do know that they
took me as quickly as possible directly into surgery and they had three surgeons
waiting and an excellent crew, thanks to the chief of staff. I awakened in ICU
to one of my dear friend nurses voice. She seemed sad. I can remember hearing a
beautiful song going through my mind as I lay there. I had heard it many
times before in church. It was called My Tribute; A lovely song and quite
fitting. I later learned from the nurse that she had gone out and wept heavily
after seeing me.
My friend nurse had been a super ICU nurse & had seen people in better shape
than me who had died. She said she went to her church friends after work and had
a special prayer session for me. The next morning when she came in she told me
later I looked entirely different and that I had "turned the corner" as
far as my critical condition. I had color in my cheeks and the Vital signs were
good. They were all still very much aware that even with this good progress I
could still die any time instantly from a possible bone emboli in the
blood.(this foreign object in the blood could have lodged in my heart or lungs)
Soon I was transferred to a room on the floor.
I remember the first time my surgeon walked in to my room, I began to thank him
profusely and he quickly became very serious and stopped me. He stated, "don't
thank me, you don't understand! It was not me that saved you. We were doing all
we could but you were bleeding in surgery so heavily; we could not stop the
bleeding. We were pumping blood in as fast as we could but you were losing it
even faster. There was nothing more we could do. We knew that even with your
strong heart and health it could not last much longer like that and then
suddenly, without our help, you just stopped bleeding." I learned later that
three, possibly four, whole churches were praying for me at that time.
Yes, I do believe in prayer. The next surgeon, (Bone surgeon) entered my room
later on and he began asking me questions.
“I don't understand how you could have never gone into shock after losing so
much blood and having all that pain.” He also stated; “I don't know what you
did, Sybil, you must have been doing something right because that horse landed
in just the "right spot" for you.” If it had landed a little higher it would
have damaged your spine and you may not have been able to walk again and if it
had landed lower it may have ruined your joints. “THE RIGHT SPOT;” I had heard
my angel tell me that back at my farm while I was lying on the ground.” God is
good!! I have a chip to this day, I can feel, out of my iliac crest to show
where the saddle landed. It always reminds me that it landed in just the "right
spot". I was in very good physical condition when that accident happened. I
believe that, yes, it was a miracle, and without providence interfering I
wouldn't be here today. I was spared for a reason and someday I may share that
with you my dear survivor friends.
I had been an active person with regular exercise and fitness and I am sure that
certainly helped to save my life but without a miracle from my ever present God
I would have never made it through that ordeal.
Six months after my accident I was able to run to the top of an uphill mile and
a half dirt road behind my old farmhouse in Idaho which I had never been able to
do before the accident. I rehabilitated myself by bike riding and walking and
then running. God blessed my efforts and I was able to recover totally from my
accident. I was even able to return to lifting tons of fruit from our fruit
orchard and selling them in our fruit stand. My children saw my miracle and it
has made a huge impression on them and their lives. They met me when I came home
from the hospital with a sign above my farm house door, entwined with licorice
ropes, WELCOME HOME BUCKAROO!!!
This accident miracle has also been a tremendous encouragement to me to face
even greater hurtles in my life and without this tough ride I don’t know if I
could have been able to overcome my trials that came later in my life. I Thank
God, my children, great emergency and medical personnel, church family & friends
for their dedication, love and encouragement. NEVER GIVE UP!
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1
My love, respect and encouragement to you all,