I Was Trampled By Horses The First Time I Broke My Back
I was living in beautiful Northwest Montana in a picturesque town called Lakeside on Flathead Lake. At the time I was the Food and Beverage manager at a very large hotel.
I had to drive to Spokane, Washington for a business conference where they teach things like the percentage of income that goes to rent and many other things. The drive is not very long but it is treacherous as you drive over 2 large mountain passes and through the winding roads across Highway 200 and and then up Highway 93 along Flathead Lake. The drive is beautiful and I have driven it dozens of times, even in the winter with no issue.
The conference went late and I had an even later dinner meeting with one of my vendors. I did not leave Spokane until around 1am. I am a bit of a night owl but I was a little tired this particular night. On my way home, it began to rain. I had to stop a couple of times because it was raining so hard. The roads were now pretty wet and I was in need of new tires.
As I traversed across Highway 200, a group of 3 horses jumped out of the ditch right in front of me! If you hit a horse in Montana open range, you are liable for the horse and it will likely come through your windshield and kill you. I swerved around them to miss them, which I narrowly did, but as I turned my car back, it went into a spin on the wet roads as I slid. My car went into the ditch and flipped over upside down.
OK so the horses did not actually trample me, but here is where the story gets interesting……….
Here I am upside down in the ditch, suspended with my seat belt on wondering what in the heck I was going to do. The top of my car was crushed in and I could not get my doors open. I released my seat belt and fell on the back of my neck, cracking a vertebrae and spraining my neck and back. In pain and in a panic, not being able to get the doors open, I finally was able to kick out a window to escape.
When I escaped, I looked around. The road was dark and I had not seen a single car for many miles. I could see one faint light about 100 feet away which was just a construction light in a log mansion that was under construction (also the place the horses escaped from.) I did not have a cell phone back then and if I had there would not have been service. It was around 3am. So I waited. And waited. And Waited.
Finally a small white Chevy S-10 comes down the road. I flag him down. He stops and I tell him that I had just been in an accident and wondered if he would give me a ride to US Highway 93 and I would hitch a ride the rest of the way. He says sure, get in (as he clears a massive pile of fast food wrappers from the passenger seat).
As we head back toward 93, we begin to talk. Evidently he was on his way to Spokane to see his Sister. I also learned that he had an intellectual disability. He was very kind to me and ended up driving me all the way home! I thanked him and gave him money to cover his trip expenses.
I healed OK, but that man never will. I thought, who in the heck am I to ever judge anyone? I have met and befriended other disabled individuals since. And now here I am, pretty much in the same boat.
A note on Flathead Lake: It is the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi, is 15.5 miles wide at it’s widest point and 27.3 miles long, is and over 300 feet deep with 197 square surface miles of water! It is surrounded by majestic mountains. I will write more about this later.
The photo at the top was taken by me at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Follow up post: The 2nd Time I Broke My Back
If you are suffering from inflammation and pain, please see THIS BLOG POST.