My Story – Submitted by: Davida
What a beautiful day it was. July 27, 1997, the sky a brilliant blue and, in spite of the dazzling sunshine, cool and delicious. It was my birthday and I was riding Adoro, my thoroughbred four year old gelding, sweet and wise beyond his years. We were making circles in the corral when he stumbled. He never fell (and neither did I), but he tripped on something and stumbled, brought to his knees for only a moment. I fell forward onto my saddle’s high pommel (like the horn of a western saddle). As Adoro righted himself, I did too, but the damage had already been done. My impact with the saddle had destroyed my urethra and seriously injured my bladder. There was blood everywhere and, suddenly, I was incontinent.
Years later and much surgery later, I am still incontinent, though much improved. After the accident, without a urethra, I was completely incontinent. Now I have good days and bad, good nights and bad. I am still, years later, adjusting. Each year I become more comfortable with the new me. I plan my activities. I locate restrooms before they are needed. I wear absorbent padding so I am always ready for the unexpected. I would rather not be incontinent. But I know that there are much worse situations than my very manageable one.
The accident had a tremendous impact on my life. I would never be able to ride again, had to give up my horse who was the joy of my life, and I chose to retire from teaching (which I also loved) in order to heal and begin reconstructive surgery. Not fun. What I learned was that I had a lot of resilience, that I could start over and find fun even with a less-than-perfect hand. It has been difficult, because I am a “neatnik” and very fastidious about my appearance and hygiene. But I am “out there”, in yoga class in all sorts of crazy positions, walking in the woods, and, until recently, substitute teaching. My husband of over 40 years has been tremendously supportive and understanding. He feels super protective of me, was super considerate to begin with, and even more than before, he has become my very best friend. We “keep on keepin’ on”. I wish I could give you a glorious “everything-is-OK” ending to my story, but that would be phony. Everything is mostly OK, with the exception of my relationships with my husband, friends, and family. They are SUPER OK. So I think that I’m doing fine.