Monday, April 2, 2012

Circus Pony Ride That Went Wrong

A fun family trip to the Moolah Shrine Circus this past Saturday ended in a trip to the Pediatric ER.

The seemingly harmless pony ride at the circus turned out to be the most terrifying ride of our lives. It was set up like a carousel except with real ponies. The kids were very excited about getting to ride on ponies.

We made our way to the pony ride area after over 2 hours of spectacular performances by the circus dancers, tigers, elephants, motorcycle daredevils, monkeys, dogs, magicians, clowns, and acrobats.

Matthew was overflowing with joy watching the show, expressing his excitement with lots of hugs, flashing him his biggest smiles, and applauding with the crowd. Elizabeth was in awe of the elephants and applauding when applause was due too.

Before riding on the ponies, Matthew, his cousin, and friends wanted to get on the inflatable slide first. So we did that and they had a blast! Matthew went down the slide on his bottom twice and then decided he wanted to slide down head first the rest of the 3 minutes.

Then it was pony ride time. Bill walked next to Matthew and his pony. I walked next to Elizabeth's. We were right behind Bill and Matthew. One or two rounds into it, Elizabeth's walking pony suddenly turned into a bucking pony.

I remember seeing Elizabeth starting to tip the other way so I reached out to grab her. But before I could get a firm hold of her, the pony kicked me right above the knee. I think I was still trying to get to Elizabeth then I got kicked in the right lower jaw, stunning me and sending me to my bottom. Bill scooped up a very frightened, very upset Elizabeth right after the pony's hoof came into contact with her right arm.

My crying, but conscious, baby girl was then brought to a very shaken, shocked me. The arena floor or event manager(?) was trying to do his job to keep everyone else from panicking although Bill and I didn't care at all for how he was downplaying what had just happened.

I'm told that it all happened in maybe a quick 3 seconds, from when Elizabeth fell off the pony to when Bill got to her. It felt like an eternity, like it was all going in slow motion and I wasn't fast enough to catch Elizabeth.

I heard someone explaining that they saw Bill trip over a piece of carpeting that was not laying flat like it should have, and the pony Elizabeth was riding tripped over the same patch of carpet. That's when it started freaking out and bucking. I was still so shaken and in severe stress at that point. My hands were cold and clammy.

An on-site paramedic was talking to me and examining Elizabeth on my lap. I pointed out the bruise on Elizabeth's right arm and her two swollen fingers on her right hand. They checked if Elizabeth could move her arm up and down without severe pain. She could. They didn't even know about the huge lump on the back of her head until Bill pointed it out to them. At that point, I didn't trust that the on-site paramedic could do a decent job. I got out my phone and asked my sister-in-law to help me get a hold of Elizabeth's pediatrician. Elizabeth was starting to calm down.

We filled out an accident report at the Family Arena (circus venue) and drove to a Pediatric ER. The ER doctor also spoke to Elizabeth's pediatrician on the phone while we were there.

The report: The lump on the back of her head was due to the fall, not from the pony kicking. If it was from the pony, it would be the size of its hoof. Her arm is not broken. The hoof must have just grazed it enough to bruise as it came down on her arm. A hand x-ray showed that she had no broken bones in her right hand but her fingers had deep bruising, hence the purplish swelling. No severe injuries to her internal organs, except for a little bruise on her back. She has a thumb-size bruise on her left thigh. Keep an eye on her for vomitting episodes, which would be a sign of a concussion.

No vomitting overnight.

Two days have passed and Elizabeth is playing like her usual self. My arm and back are less sore but my knee is still bruised. I shudder everytime I think of what had happened. The pony nightmares will continue for a long time.

We am very thankful that we escaped with a few bumps and bruises and a scarred memory. I am thankful my 15-week pregnant belly wasn't kicked. It could've been so much worse.

No pony rides for us in the near future. When we asked Elizabeth about ponies after the incident, she says, "I cry." Bill is right though. We can't let her (or myself) have a fear of ponies or horses because of this incident. We'll gradually introduce ponies again in the future, starting in a more controlled setting.


viv said...

Congrats on ur pregnancy!!!
And wow what a ride, you guys were so close to real injury! I don't know about you guys but maybe you should steer clear of ponies for a while at least till after baby comes! Lol

ellen villar said...

Oh, that was a scary experience, Ria! But, I'm glad you're both alright. It could have been worse.. thank God it wasn't.

Rosa said...

Congratulations for your pregnancy! It was a very traumatic moment. I am glad everybody is alright. .

Rochelle said...

Oh my goodness, I am so sorry this happened. Thankful you are all ok.
Been wondering why you were so quiet over there, congrats on the pregnancy! WOO HOO!

RK said...

My goodness! We almost went on Saturday as well, but we decided against it. So sorry that this happened! I'd have been a mess, I'm sure!

So glad you are all on the mend, and very glad Elizabeth wasn't more seriously hurt, but scary!

(Which ER did you go to? Always looking for good experiences around here.)