This post is part of the Annie Justin series by Thea Marx. The great-great granddaughter of Justin Boots founder H.J. Justin shares a part of her busy life between tending to horses, attending board meetings, and fixing dinner for her family.
The light cut through the semi-darkness, again.
"Geez, how many times are they going to come in here?" I thought. I was grouchy, even in my sleepy stupor.
I was curled up in an easy chair that converted to a bed - for a midget, I think! My thirty-six inch inseam did not fit on the mattress, let alone my whole body. My boots were on the floor next to my head, and my shirt was twisted around me from fitful sleep, its tails hanging out lopsided over my jeans.
"What time is it ?" I asked the nurse, half asleep.
"Four," she replied curtly, as she put the blood pressure cuff on my little one's arm - the one that was not in a cast from above the elbow to her wrist. She was sleeping peacefully through it all, holding the little blue bear she'd been clutching when they rolled her into the operating room the night before.
Arrgh... I flopped my head back on the plastic covered mattress. Maybe I should ask for some of their drugs! I felt like I was the one who'd had just my arm put back together, except it was not just my arm but my whole body that hurt. I felt guilty. My daughter had taken a mighty tumble from a running horse and I had watched her fall, feeling so helpless I was sick.
I knew she'd broken her arm the moment she hit the ground, but my green horse would not get anywhere near the screaming, writhing ball in a blue coat. In an effort to get off of my shying, crow hopping, nutty horse, I'd shouted at her to "Shut up!" Not one of my finer moments, I admit, but I had to get to her.
Astonished by the way her mother had spoken to her, her cries ceased and I was able to step off my horse and get to my blue-eyed girl whose tear-streaked face tore at my heart. I pulled up her sleeve and saw her misshapen arm. Never have I felt worse!
Horses with saddles were left standing in the field as I scooped her up and started the half-mile trek back to the house. I knew riding home was not in the cards.
Carefully negotiating corrugates and mole hills I tried not to stumble. I knew she hurt, but she didn't say much. She just looked at me once or twice and said, "Momma, it hurts."
"I know honey, you broke it. We're going to the hospital."
Miss Aspen had never been to a hospital. To her it sounded like an adventure. I knew better and tried to be honest with her. We had an hour drive ahead of us and I was worried about her going into shock, but she was a brave little trooper.
I called ahead to alert the Emergency Room and the orthopedic surgeon met us at the door, took one look at her and called in his crew. The ER nurse gave her the little blue bear that she promptly named "Blueberry." Holding onto him during the ordeal of getting her arm set would make it easier, the Doc promised. I cried when they took her into the OR. Certainly not an easy hour for mom.
I waited impatiently for the sun to come up so we could get out of Dodge and get her home. When the doc came in to clear us to go, she was bright eyed, watching cartoons and eating the Fruit Loops she'd requested (much to my dismay... being the "eat healthy mom.")
"Nope," she said, "I don't want to leave, I get to watch TV and eat cereal. Mom doesn't let me do that at home."
Dr. Brit looked at me with a cocked eyebrow. I just smiled and shrugged. She was her usual self, honest to the core.
For three months, she wore that cast on and off the horse. She was the epitome of "always get back on when you get bucked off." It never slowed her down. I see her now, heading for her teenage years with gusto.
"What have I created?" I ask myself.
Most people answer when they see us together: she is my Mini Me.
Hmmmm, guess I'd better look in the mirror.