As I was waiting for Una to arrive and take me to Children's, a veterinarian from WSU called to tell me my horse had a broken sesamoid in his near (left) front leg. They advised me to put him down, as the surgical outcome didn't look promising. I was stunned. I couldn't believe what he said. I listened more closely a second time. "You should put him down." I could feel my heart pounding in my throat.
I had to change his thinking immediately. "Look, I just lost my family last summer. I'm about to have disc surgery on my back, and may not ever ride again, and now, you're telling me I should just put him down? No. Whatever happens, I can't accept there's no hope before you've even tried. You have to try." We hung up. I just couldn't believe what was happening to my life.
The family lawyers were still wrangling over my deceased family's finances, and lack of will or insurance policies. They sided with logic and advised me to put him down, too. I wasn't in a good place to argue, but I knew Pullman had one of the finest equine surgical centers in America. I had to have faith. I insisted and told them I'd call again later.
My older sister, Una, not a horse owner, but my biggest supporter, went to the barn to see Seraphim before we left for Seattle. As she walked into the barn talking to the barn owner, Seraphim's dark chestnut face, with its bright white star and stripe, peered out of his stall. He looked at her, and nickered loudly; her voice sounded just like mine, so where was Stacey? He nuzzled her chest, bringing tears to Una's eyes. Later that night, she sat beside my hospital bed, and we agreed to try and save Seraphim. We arranged for his surgery at The College of Veterinary Science at Washington State University. Una took me to Seattle for surgery at Children's the next morning.
When I found myself waking up slowly from my back surgery, I thought I could hear someone. A young, friendly Doctor was trying to talk to me. He touched my toes. "Did you feel that?" Yes; now I could feel it. He smiled broadly. My left leg felt so warm. As I became more awake, the pain started burning down my lower back and leg - and nothing would touch the pain but time, the doctor told me. Una told me my friends were taking care of Seraphim and he was OK; a shot for my pain now, so I could sleep.
The medication brought strange dreams, and stranger faces. Oh, how I missed my mother. My little sister. I could feel the echo of something so sad. Even in my dreams, I seemed alone; but now Seraphim came for me, I was riding him over the hills of Pullman. Golden, rolling hills. The pain was moving away.
A week went past, and I began walking slowly and carefully. A week later, I walked out of the hospital on my own, with my doctors clapping for me. I came home to my childhood Seattle home, now strangely quiet, minus so many voices from my family. I was so weak, I couldn't even get dressed by myself.