Dad thought I’d been attacked by bear

From our December 2018 issue

By Edwin Bronsch – High River, Alta.

At the age of 18, the stage of life when a teenager thinks himself invincible, I was riding horseback to take dad’s cattle to the summer pasture, about four miles from home. The older cows knew what was happening, so I had no trouble moving the herd along.

On the way home I decided to cut cross-country. I had to cross a quarter-section line that had an old fence wire laying down in the grass. When my horse was a foal, she had being tangled in barbed wire, and was suspicious of the wire and would not cross it.

I dismounted to lead her over the wire. As she stepped over it, her back leg hooked and she began to kick trying to get free. Consequently, the wire rose higher and higher on her leg. I was on her left side trying to back her up and by doing this, I was caught between her and the wire.

I don’t recall exactly what happened, but she must’ve kicked me with the forward stroke of her leg. When I came to, I was lying on my back looking up at the deep blue sky. The wire broke loose and the horse was calmly enjoying the nice fresh spring grass.

My clothes were badly ripped and my skin was marked by a horse hoof near my liver area. After some time, I was finally able to move. I remounted by draping myself over her neck. She hoisted me up and we headed for home.

Malfunctioning organs

Met by dad, when he saw me, he thought I’d been attacked by a bear. Mom and dad took me to the doctor. I laid around for a day and had not given that incident much thought until the winter of 2017.

At the age of 80, I suddenly had a severe jaundice attack. I was booked for liver surgery in December. CT scans showed the bile duct had grown shut and the right lobe of my liver was shrivelled. The left lobe had grown to make up for the malfunctioning right lobe and my gallbladder was inactive. I was totally septic and very close to walking dead!

My doctor called in three other doctors-in-training, as they had never seen a liver function for 62 years after such an injury. I spent eight days in intensive care and about five months of recuperating before I was well again.

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