July 18, 2010


current number of large bruises on my body (unofficial tally): 11

on thursday, while doing my routine feeding, I had to retrieve a bale of alfalfa hay from the top of our haystack, six bales high. this happens sometimes. the way you do it is you find something tall to stand on, you grab the hay hooks, and you tip the stack over (sideways, NOT TOWARD YOU). all six bales fall to the ground. I've never found a better way. those bales weigh nearly a hundred pounds each; you can't just lift them and bring them down.

I have mentioned here before how dangerous hay can be. what happened on thursday: I went through the above manuever, choosing for my 'tall thing to stand on' the rear bed of the bobcat we use to haul hay, because it's significantly more sturdy than a ladder, and less likely to topple. I backed the bobcat just in front of the hay column and then braced myself to yank the bales down. after that, maybe because I was trying to slow their fall (and therefore not break the wood pallet on the ground below), my hand got stuck in the hay hook I was using, and the column of hay pulled me helplessly down with it, impaling me by the breastbone on the back corner of the bobcat's tailgate. I would have gone headfirst into the ground had the tailgate not caught on my shirt and bra, leaving me literally hanging upside down by my clothes two feet from the ground, my arm still attached to the hay.

I sat up in a daze, in that aftershock haze where you are just barely keeping yourself from screaming out loud or sobbing. I sat on my knees in the bed of the bobcat, my breath coming in shaky heaves, and took a tally of what hurt. I looked down at my shirt: no spewing blood. no obvious broken ribs. then I looked inside at what was burning: an 18-inch long gash running, like a seatbelt, from the top of my right boob to the middle of my abdomen. it was bleeding lightly into my sports bra and was already bruised in one place. my leg was also in a lot of pain, and had already lumped up, though I was not, at least, bleeding through my breeches.

I must have sat in the back of the bobcat for five minutes, just trying to pull myself together. I hurt like hell. my hands were visibly shaking. it was an accident I don't know that I could have prevented, because I never saw it coming. I suppose that's how accidents go.

I hadn't actually fed yet, so I had to go and throw hay into stalls, hoping not to plaster too much of it onto my open and vaguely bleeding chest wound. I took off my sports bra in the bathroom (OUCH) and then realized how much it hurt just to have my shirt touch my chest. putting my seat belt on was excruciating.

on friday I had to work from home because it was painful to wear anything but the baggiest shirt; there was no way on earth I could put on a bra. (I still haven't). today, the bruise on my thigh is larger than a grapefruit, still swollen, and a range of colors from yellow to nearly black. I actually haven't the faintest idea what I did to my leg -- I guess I hit the bobcat first with my thigh before impaling myself on the tailgate? the leg bruise is in many ways worse than the chest wound; it's much deeper and still painful to walk on. the chest wound has scabbed up and is, at least, less raw than it was on friday. the trade-off is that it's turned into the most unbelievable bruise, yellowish-green, covering half of my right boob. I wish I could show it off but for obvious reasons, I can't.

if I showed up to the beach in a bikini now, it'd look like I'd been mauled by a small bear.

moral of the story: you can never be too careful with hay bales. take my word for it, kids.

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