Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gratitude, an Accident, and a Fibre (Fiber, Fybur) Festival

First and foremost, I want to thank everybody who posted in response to my last blog post, with your good ideas, your sympathy, and your good wishes.  It has been a very difficult time for us, and I know that eventually we will overcome the difficulties and find the light at the end of the tunnel.  In the meantime, knowing that my blog community is behind me and wishing me well is really and truly important to me, warming my heart and inspiring my hands to get the job done.  I am truly thankful to you.

Your ideas were great!  I received many ideas through blog comments and through private emails.  Rest assured that we are seriously considering ALL ideas at this time.  Your experience and your suggestions are invaluable as we move foward in deciding what to do.  The wine business is not completely out the window - we have had much in the way of encouragement to lead us forward.  The previous owner did leave behind some books containing recipes, and the equipment is there, so blueberry (or other fruit) wine is not out of the question.  Stay tuned as we move forward with our decisions - you never know what you might see!

It's a farm.  Stuff happens.  It's pretty much inevitable that there will be accidents.  Last weekend was an accident that was worse than most (for me) and was a whole new experience.  It all began with days and days of rain.  Solid, driving, torrential, miserable rain.  I felt really bad for the goats - they hate to be wet, and they didn't want to be outside.  I had been collecting vegetation for them, mostly in the form of branches and weeds.  I was bringing armfuls of goldenrod and raspberry into the barn, each day of rain.  On the 3rd day of solid rain, I went  down to the road where the big vegetation "chopper" had been by, and collected a vast amount of branches - aspen, apple, spruce, alder....whatever they cut down.

I was bringing an armload of branches into the barn when it happened.  The accident.  I was on the 3rd of 3 wooden steps leading into the barn, when suddenly, the entire steps gave way.  I was thrown forward against the barn boards that held the steps, where the metal brackets and now-exposed nails eagerly took advantage of my legs.  I had a huge gash on my right leg that was bleeding buckets, and a bump on my left leg.  I gingerly shoved the branches into the goat area, and retreated into the house to tend my wounds.  The bleeding was hard to stop, and I was concerned I'd need stitches.
I called Richard to tell him I might need to go to the hospital and he said he was coming home (he had been on his way to work in Halifax).

He came home and tried to convince me to go to the hospital for stitches.  I knew that, bad as the gash was, it wasn't a candidate for sutures.  I declined medical help.  He went to look at the steps and determined that the nails had pulled right out of the rotting barn boards, taking me with them.  He fixed the steps, and came to check on me again, urging me to go to a doctor.  The bleeding was easing, but the pain in the left leg where the bump was, was beginning to mount.  I still thought I'd be fine, and I decided to lay down for a while.  He went back to work.  I was vaguely amused by the growing lump on my shin, which was taking on quite significant proportions. I felt like I'd had half a grapefruit implanted under my skin.
A couple of hours later, I got up and tried to go into the studio.  Bad idea.  I was in the most incredible pain I'd ever felt in my life.  Walking on my left leg was felt like somebody stabbing a knife into my leg.  I hobbled over to the telephone.  In doing so, I could barely take a step with my left leg.  I began to cry out, even though nobody was there to hear.  I reached for the phone, registering the fact that I was suddenly covered in a cold sweat.  I took a few hops on my "good" leg with the gash in it, and then sat at the top of the stairs.  I was in agony, my left leg just causing the most incredible pain I'd ever felt in my life.  I kept thinking it would stop, but it didn't.  I began to feel strange, disconnected and disoriented.  I called Richard....I somehow sensed I needed help.

He answered, but I was useless.  I could not speak properly.  I was shivering so violently that I could not form words, and I was confused and muddled. I remember saying "Hi" repeatedly, because it was all that I could say.  I barely remember anything else.  What I do remember was being unable to speak or ask for help.  I knew in my mind that I needed help, but I was just babbling nonsense and could not even say a normal sentence.  He kept asking if I was OK and I remember trying to say "NO" and that I needed help, but the words would not form themselves.  Fortunately, even though I didn't realize it, he knew that I had gone into shock.  I passed out part way through the phone call, due to the intense pain and the shock.  Thank goodness he knew what was happening, and he called 911.

The next thing I remember, there was a policeman and paramedics surrounding me, and I was being asked questions.  I was still shivering violently and could not speak properly - it was a cold day and I was laying on the floor of the upstairs without any blankets or anything other than a tank-top and cotton pants.  The phone lay beside me, dropped in mid conversation with Richard when I passed out.  The paramedics were saying that my leg was probably broken, the swelling was immense.  The graze on my left leg had split open due to the swelling and was bleeding.  I was unable to stand.  They took me down the rickety stairs in a chair of sorts, and transferred me to a gurney.  I was taken to the hospital about 30 minutes away for a suspected broken leg and for treatment of shock.

Remarkably, after x-rays and consultation, my leg was not broken.  Instead, I had bruising to the bone.  It was in fact more painful than a break would have been.  The bruising was deep and severe, and the outer layers of the bone had swollen, which caused the incredible pain that made me go into shock and eventually pass out.  I had no idea that such a thing could happen.  I was sent home with a compression bandage and strict orders to keep the leg elevated, with the compression bandage, and to use ice packs and keep rested.  Whew!  Not so easy on the farm!

Thank goodness, my dear parents came to the rescue.  My mother came to stay for several days to take care of me, despite her own injury not so long ago to her own ankle.  We sat together crocheting and commiserating, wearing our ice packs and keeping our legs elevated.  What a pair!  We went out and chopped branches for the goats, since the rain was unceasing, and slowly I began to heal.  Poor Richard had to work and had lots of appointments, so he was away for several days.  It was so kind of several of my neighbours to stop by with offers to help, and a wonderful apple pie as well.

Additionally, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Richard, for recognizing that I was in shock and for having the foresight to call 911 when he was a 1.5-hour drive away.  He was my hero that day, as he so often is, and without him, I would not have received medical attention that I dearly needed in a timely manner.

Now, just over a week later, I am walking much better and the wounds are healing, although the bruises are a very colourful testament to the injury.  The swelling has receded considerably, although it is still much worse at night and better in the mornings.
I sincerely hope that I never have an accident of this magnitude, or worse, again.

I was excited to participate in the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival in Amherst for the past two days.  In spite of the injury, I was able to attend and had a brisk business selling my yarns, felted chickens, and scrappy scarves for the past two days.  This is an annual festival, but it was the first time I was a vendor.
Fibre (Canadian) or Fiber (American) or Fybur (Goat) is well loved by so many people, and I was delighted to be selling my handspun yarns, my felted creations, and my crocheted scarves, to so many buyers.  My mom also helped me out by crocheting some beautiful scarves to feature at my booth - many of which quickly sold.  The little felt chicken ornaments that I make were a huge hit and I sold out of nearly my entire stock of my little felted friends.  Soon I'll be replenishing my Etsy shop with more chickens!  Don't miss out!

A huge thank-you is due to my father who made me the incredible "tree" stand that you see in the above picture, on the left, for me to display my felted chickens.  He made it on the lathe, with a gorgeous cherry wood base and a pretty finial on top shaped like a turret on a Russian church.  He also made the super PVC rack that held all my handspun yarns - the ideal "blend into the background" rack that didn't take attention away from the yarns themselves.  I had so many compliments on my booth set-up, I think he could have a new career in building booth hardware!

Huge, HUGE thank yous to both my parents for being the wonderful parents they are - helping me in my time of need and in supporting my dreams and aspirations.  I could not ask for more.  They are an inspiration and a  gift that I can never begin to repay.


Tiggeriffic said...

WOW, you had quite a trip. Glad your leg is better and your able to get on with life.
Your Fibre Festival looked like it would be fun to attend. Have never been to one.
Thanks to your Mom and Dad for helping you in time of need.. Isn't that what Mom's and Dad's do best.
Right there when you need them.
Have a tiggeriffic day~ ta ta for now from Iowa:)

Tombstone Livestock said...

Hope they gave you a tetanus shot while you were at the hospital.

Lisa said...

Wow! You've had an exciting week. I'm glad things are going better.

Texan said...

Well my gosh!!! I am so glad you were able to get to the phone to call Richard! Luckily our guys know when we are not ourselves :O)... Girly that just gave me goosebumps!

Your booth at the show looks great! Glad to hear your sales were brisk! I used to do festivals and shows for years with handmade pottery. Its a lot of work but a lot of fun too!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Enough already universe!!! Glad you had a good show though. Nice booth!

Nancy K. said...

Wow, Claire! You are lucky you DIDN'T break your leg! Actually, you're right ~ the badly bruised bone can be worse. I had that happen when a horse stepped on my ankle and (as the doctor said) "pulverized all of my tendons and ligaments" and bruised the bone. It took me almost a year and some pretty heavy-duty pain killers to recover from that one! I hope you heal MUCH more quickly!

Michelle said...

I am so thankful you have such a wonderful network of support surrounding you!

Marigold said...

Oy. Just OY! I'm with the crazy sheep lady! Enough Universe! I'm very thankful you are okay. I think Miss Nickel needs to have some lessons in phone dialing. We goats are smart. I'm sure she could get the hang of it. Of course taste testing of the equipment would have to come first. It's just part of THE WAY. Sending you Peanuts!!!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

My lady told me about your fall, dear Claire! I was worried and wanted to gallop right up there to take care of you (and eat Lucky Nickel's food). Your booth looks lovely and I'm so glad the wee chicken friends sold well!

You have a lovely mom and dad!! And a lovely Richard tooo!

Flartus said...

Phew! You may not be posting as often, but you always have something fascinating/weird/interesting to share. Give Richard a hug for me, would you? And your parents, too; yay Dad!

I still have the felted chicken you sent me a year or two ago, when we exchanged farmer's market shirts. It hangs on a lamp in our living room. (I don't think I ever thanked you for it, guiltguiltguilt...)

I thought of you today; we went to the Renaissance festival where they have a petting zoo, and I saw a goat that looked an awful lot like Lucky Nickel. Except his/her fybur wasn't nearly as pretty.

Happy healing. (Oh, and blueberry wine makes me think sauces...a blueberry reduction for duck or pork might be a good seller.)

angela said...

I am soooo glad you are better now. that is my fear that I will fall outside and no one will find me till they get home,which could be very late at night. Its lucky you were able to get to the phone. take care of yourself.

Jennifer said...

Oh gosh I can't imagine how painful that was. I hope your leg heals quickly!

edenhills said...

So glad you are recovering. It's really scary to have something like that happen and be by yourself afterwards. It's so wonderful you have your parents close by to help. I don't know what I'd do without mine around me. Glad the festival went well.


Pricilla said...

Oh my! I missed this post. You poor thing.
If nothing else you need a tetnus shot i would think.
I hope you are all better now.
Big, gentle goat hugs from all of us.

Your display looked fantastic

Mimi Foxmorton said...

Sweet Goat Mother, luv........
(but I know you are ok now) :)

As for Scotia Spinner.....I just want to dive right in!