Marsh column: It pays off to be in good health
By Ester Marsh
For the Salisbury Post
Many of my friends and YMCA members already know, but four weeks ago I had a bad accident with one of my horses. I have been riding for more than 40 years and have fallen off many times (especially when I was jumping with them). I consider myself a solid rider and the last time I had fallen off a horse was 25 years ago and "rolled" with a horse 20 years ago. Not sure exactly why this happened, but two weeks after our accident this horse got very sick and actually had to be euthanized. We are waiting for autopsy results (the accident might have had something to do with an illness this horse was experiencing).
Fortunately, I am in good shape and health (I work very hard for that). I was riding Sly and at one point he started to act up like there was a snake or wild animal. I didn't see anything, so I pressured him to move forward (what Ester wants, Ester gets). Finally, I got him down to a big path and he started up again. Before I went any further, mind you I have been on rearing horses and bucking horses and typically have found a way to correct whatever is happening. I drove my knees and legs to move him forward once again and within less than a second he was rearing and falling back. A horse does not want to fall, and at other times (on other horses) I am quick to "pull the nose down" to hinder them from coming up. When I was able to react, we were falling backward and he was going to fall straight on top of me. Fortunately, I was able to pull his head to the right changing his direction from right on top of me to right lower abs, inner thigh and pelvic area. He is 17 hands (tall for an American horse) and about 980 pounds. He has been in our family for 7 years - since he was a baby - and has been a great joy to ride. First, my guardian angel was definitely looking over me. Second, my judo career taught me lots of falling. So, when we fell and he was partly on top of me, I tucked my chin and tried to break my fall (hard with all that weight on top of you). The breath got knocked out of me and I thought I broke my pelvis. He rolled up (on my leg) got up and took off. Happy that he didn't get hurt, I got up and knew my pelvis was not broken because I could move. Hobbling back, my leg swelled up to twice its size. Worried about Sly, I walked to the barn and, as I figured, he returned there. I wrapped my huge leg in horse bandage and unsaddled my horse. Since I knew my injuries were not life-threatening, I didn't want to go sit and wait in the ER (my husband's suggestion, and actually a good suggestion). I knew I had to RICE -Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Next day, I went to Rowan Family Physicians, who were able to x-ray everything right there. Unbelievably, nothing broke - just severe soft tissue damage. They told me to spend two weeks flat on my back and keep my leg above my heart. Initially, I thought it would be hard but I was in bad shape and was glad to just lie there. The Thursday before I was going back to work at the YMCA, I went to see Dr. South at Rowan Family Physicians again and she was so happy to see how well I was doing. I needed that because in my eyes the healing process was slow. Can you tell that patience is not one of my virtues?
I also went to my dear friend Cindy Hill, who does Reflexology (sadly she only sees me when I am in bad shape). Through reflexology on my face and hands, the leg was too bad to do reflexology on my feet, so then she did something called "Chi," it stimulated the healing and I had a positive turn around after my session with her. Starting back at the YMCA, I began to exercise slowly and I really could see a difference in my healing. And hearing other people's stories about similar incidents, I was counting my blessings. Or, as my family said, I have used seven of my nine lives.
Through a friend who works at the Lazy 5 veterinarian's office, I found out that laser therapy has been really successful, especially with soft tissue damage. They are the only vet in Rowan County right now that has K-Laser therapy for their patients. One thing is that I trust my animals when they feel better or when they don't feel good. Certain treatments or medications work wonders and an animal is not going to "fake" feeling better about something. They are having great positive effects with their K-laser therapy. Anywhere from anti-inflammation, great pain relief, faster tissue repair, better blood circulation, increased metabolic activity (it created higher output on specific enzymes, more oxygen and food particles for the blood cells), stimulates trigger and acupuncture points providing more pain relief, and just plain speeding up the recovery.
Wanting to speed up my healing process, I also have had laser therapy on my leg. Joel Burgess from Ex/tra Performance physical therapy is the only place in Rowan County right now (that I know of) that has LCT-1000 laser treatment. It is a bit different from K-laser therapy which is used at Lazy 5 Vet (and also can be used on humans), but the same principle. Both laser treatments stimulate your soft tissue and blood circulation to heal the body and reduce inflammation also reducing or eliminating the pain.
Well, I can tell you this: it works. After just one treatment, one hard knot on the inside of my leg was almost gone and after two treatments the bruising (which was black and I was waiting for it to turn purple) is more like grey with normal skin showing through. And the pain is almost gone.
If they are having great success on animals and they use this sort of therapy on many NBA and Major League Baseball players, I figured it was worth a try and it worked. I thank God for my health, my luck and giving me the determination to work hard on staying healthy. It saved me going through something that could have been much worse and has cut my recovery time immensely.
Thank you to Cindy Hill Shalom Reflexology, 704-636-4153
Lazy 5 Vet 704-636-1100 and Joel Burgess Ex/tra Performance 704-762-0340
For having these non-surgical wonderful options available for the people and pets in Rowan County.
Ester Marsh ACSM Cpt