NURSE Rosalie Palmer knows what it’s like to look down the barrel and survive.
Two bleeds on the brain, nine fractured ribs, a bleeding collapsed lung, fractures in both collarbones and her back and neurological injuries were just the major problems on her chart.
“I don’t remember much, I just remember this guy in the Westpac chopper behind me making me wake up, saying, ‘You’re okay, you’re okay, wake up,’,” Ms Palmer said.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them, they saved my life.”
Looking to buy a Sunday horse, Ms Palmer visited a property in Guyra with a friend last year.
An intermediate rider, she was told the horse was having work done on it – but it didn’t matter if he hadn’t been ridden in six months, he was the kind of animal her grandchildren could ride.
“However, it came about that the work wasn’t done on him and I wasn’t told that – he just bolted,” Ms Palmer said.
“When we found out a bit more about the horse he was green, he’d just gotten under saddle and nobody had really ridden him, still, the guy was trying to sell him.”
I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them, they saved my life.Rosalie Palmer
Knocked unconscious, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter raced to the scene and flew Ms Palmer to Tamworth Hospital.
With no memory of resuscitation or intensive care, Ms Palmer came to when her children arrived from Brisbane, two days later she was transferred to the surgical ward where she works as a registered nurse today.
Ms Palmer has worked as a nurse for 39 years and said her experience has changed the way she cares for patients.
“In the trauma industry you work in emergency and you always hear about the chopper coming in,” she said.
“You deal with that situation but when you’re on the other side of it and you’re actually in a chopper, in a trauma and it is life threatening you think ‘Wow, these people really save lives.’
“You realise the severity of the patients coming in, but I think you feel a bit more for the family, you understand it’s not just a patient it’s a holistic person with family and a whole journey – it’s more.
"It made me not so clinical, it made me more humble, it made me a better nurse.”
Now, Ms Palmer has dedicated herself to fundraising for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter – raising more than $1300 for the service.