“I recently did an appendectomy on an NHL player.” my surgeon said. “He went back to play after three weeks. It does take six weeks for the incisions to completely heal. If he does pop a hernia then we will fix that during the off season.”
I had gone to my post operative meeting with the surgeon, who had removed my gall bladder, fully intending to plead with him about being able to just get on my horse Biasini and walk him for 10 minutes before my coach Belinda Trussell did the real riding. He asked me about how I had been doing, did I have any problems with any foods I was eating, any discomfort etc. He inspected the incisions and said they all looked good. Then he said:
“When are you going to get back on the horse?”
I was gobsmacked. I thought I was going to have to bring up that subject and beseech him to let me get back on before the usual six weeks had expired. And here he was asking me when I was going to get back on.
“Well,” I spluttered. “I was wondering if I could start to walk him before my coach gets on to do the riding. Just walking.”
“I imagine that just walking would be less strenuous than the dressage work you usually do. The danger is you could pop a hernia at the incision just above your navel. It does take six weeks for the incision to completely heal.”
Then he told me about the NHL (National Hockey League) player. Hockey , especially at that level is a seriously contact sport. Probably this guy is important to his team , is being paid a lot of money to be out on the ice and is likely to be about 40 years younger than me. But I would just be walking my horse, not getting slammed into the boards on an ice hockey rink.
“I can’t tell you what to do. You have to decide that. I should also mention that even after the six weeks you could pop a hernia.” The surgeon had put the ball firmly in my court. “If you do pop a hernia we could always fix it in your off season.” He smiled when he said this. A kind smile not a superficial one.
We shook hands and I left. So…..what to do? Here are the pluses and the minuses.
- If I do “pop” a hernia would it ruin my season during the winter in Florida?
- I would not have any medical coverage as it is a pre-existing condition on my travel medical insurance and Canadian health care does not cover me while in the USA.
- I have lived with the danger of a hernia for the past 18 years. Following surgery for colorectal cancer I have a permanent colostomy. There is always the danger of hernia with an ostomy.
- When I wake up at 4am and I am not riding I start to feel old. I start to wonder if I can get back to where I was before this surgery. That’s the dark tunnel my mind goes into at 4am.
- I love to go to the barn to watch Belinda ride. Biasini is getting some very good training and I also enjoy watching Lynsey take him over some poles or a small jump. But….there comes a time when I want to get on and be riding myself.
- Being on Biasini’s back makes me feel like I am well, and healthy and whole. I may be old in years but I am young in spirit when I am riding.
As you can see the pluses outweigh the minuses. So I have started to get and walk Biasini before Belinda rides him.
It is great to be alive; to have a horse, to be able to ride.