Suzanna Hext’s road to recovery: getting too keen, physiotherapy and my faithful terrier

  • Suzanna was competing at 2-star level eventing before an accident while riding a young horse at home in 2012 changed her life.

    Over the last 2 weeks I would say I have learnt a valuable lesson — although I am not sure it’s one that I will ever learn from! I got a tad keen because my shoulder felt too good to be true after the most recent operation.

    I think the frustration and boredom drove me to completely forget, about the ringing in my ears from the physio’s and surgeon to “build up slowly”! I am just so desperate to get back on my crutches again and in my car for freedom and independence!

    As Gemma (my Neuro-physio) says “I need reining in!” I felt like a naughty school child in her physio session, as I sheepishly got wheeled into the room. Followed by her having a little word with me as she had already warned me to slow down.

    I also saw my surgeon last week, who wasn’t overly surprised I had pushed it too soon: “Nightmare horse riders who think they know best!” He has told me to stay off the crutches for a couple more weeks, and to let the shoulder settle. I know it will all be worth it in the end, it is just hard to remember this.

    I’ve been trying to keep myself occupied over the last couple of weeks, so I don’t go insane. I have even taken to proof reading my friends (Sadie’s) dissertation for her — and enjoyed it. I have also been planning my return to teaching riding. I haven’t taught for a while, but I am going to start teaching some local friends (Sarah and Charlotte) who I have taught previously. Then build up from there…

    Physiotherapy and Acupuncture

    This week I’m going to introduce Ged Gilchrist and Suzy Hamilton.

    Ged (Sandy Hill Physiotherapy) has known me since I was 13yrs old, and knows every injury I’ve had along the way. He started working with me when I broke my pelvis for the first time when I was 13. Ged is working on my shoulder/back. He uses acupuncture, which I find is really effective at relieving the pain. He doesn’t suffer wimps and is certainly getting some movement back in my left shoulder. My surgeon was very impressed with this.

    Acupuncture with Ged

    Acupuncture with Ged

    Suzy has worked with me since I got out of hospital after my accident. She has been exceptional at keeping my spirits up throughout. When I initially started on my crutches with Suzy, I was going at a pace slower than a snail down the corridor, with Suzy and my wheelchair behind! And normally my GP standing outside his door looking slightly concerned, as I turned a brighter and brighter shade of red. (I’m not very good at breathing when I am in pain!) Both would be saying “I think that’s enough now” while I gritted my teeth and tried to pretend I hadn’t heard them!

    Suzy and Ged have also been working on my shoulder by performing soft tissue massage with their magic hands, along with strengthening exercises and working on my posture.

    Exciting times ahead…

    Overall I have made massive improvements in terms of getting my leg near the floor on the tilt table in neuro-physio with Gemma. The headway I am making seems to fluctuate. My leg can take so much and then it has a week or so when it doesn’t behave itself at all! I guess I can’t expect anything else. As long as there is a gradual improvement, that’s all that matters. The spasms (due to the nerve damage) in my left leg are a massive problem and are far from under control. Poor Sue in hydro, is having to deal with me being in the pool and my leg taking off of its own accord.

    The moment I can eventually stand for the first time (on my 2 legs) is going to be incredible, not to mention sitting on a horse. I am not sure what I am going to do with myself. I may scream or cry with excitement. Walking will be overwhelming. My stomach goes crazy just thinking about it!

    Last week Fizz Marshall’s therapy blog talked about their visit to Oaksey House, rehabilitation and what an incredible place it is and what they offer. This has really spurred me on to set a goal of trying to get up there for a few weeks in August when I am a bit further forward. I think living onsite and just focusing on my rehabilitation will be invaluable. It will also be a great test for me before I go back to work at B and W Equine Vets.

    More decisions…

    The tough decisions on the horses continue. Woody is going up to Tamsyn Hutchin’s next week to be brought back into work, with the plan for him to go on loan to Phoebe Clunn (who I sold a super pony to a couple of years ago). Woody is a fairy-tale horse and should never have survived having liver disease.  He spent a month in B and W Vets on a drip and it was touch-and-go for a long time. He now looks and is feeling better than ever and means the world to me!

    Woody, Tapi and I

    Woody, Tapi and I

    Meet my trusty terrier…

    Tapi is my soul mate and is by my side wherever I go, except if there is a rabbit hole in the vicinity. She has a huge character for such a tiny dog, and loves to have all the attention on her! She hates it when I go away and knows when something’s wrong. Apparently when the paramedics were in the house when I became very ill due to complications, she didn’t know what to do with herself. I guess they sense something’s not quite right. Tapi has undoubtedly helped me through the last 2 years and has been great company.

    Tapi coming to visit me outside the hospital

    Tapi coming to visit me outside the hospital

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