Encounter with a steer

By: 

Kay Reminger

Slowly and very deliberately, the steer walked toward me. He did not hurry, nor veer to the left or right; just walked in a steady, continuous motion in my direction.

I remember talking to him in a sing-song voice, like I’ve always talked to all our animals: “Come on now, there you go, right there. That’s the way.”

Every other animal that I have ever dealt with, turned away from me. Not this one.

He lowered his head and rammed me, tossing me back against a concrete embankment, one with a jagged edge that caught the back of my head. I crumbled like a cookie. I remember a jumble of legs on me and the next thing I knew, my husband was next to me helping me up, with the steer on the other side of the pen.

Just that morning we had decided to administer a dose of antibiotic. The 400-pounder had been battling pneumonia. Husband had discovered it quickly, so he had some time ago separated him from the rest of the herd and stuck him by himself out in the heifer barn. We have headlocks there that serve a wonderful purpose, if the animal sticks his head in where it belongs, that is.

Planning on attending a late afternoon wedding in Green Bay, we figured we’d have plenty of time to administer meds to the steer, feed the animals and be on our way. I was looking forward to the outing, had picked up a nice little grey pencil skirt to compliment a fancy top and even bought new black shoes. They were so darn cute I was chomping at the bit to slip them on.

The steer changed all those plans in one fell swoop.

After getting out of the heifer barn and safely on the other side, I assessed myself. It dawned on me I felt a hot, moist sensation at the back of my head and reaching inside my tossle cap, my fingers came out bloody.

I weakly hollered to my husband, “I’m bleeding!”

Eyes wide, he looked at me. “Go to the house.” Later, he admitted he thought I had merely cut my finger.

As I got inside the door, I was cold, started shaking and in retrospect, I probably had gone into shock because by that time, blood had begun to seep down my neck from the gash in my head.

My husband came up behind me and at once demanded, “We’re going to the ER. Come on!”

Away we flew to Shawano.

The staff at the ThedaCare emergency room was phenomenal. Due to influenza and other emergencies, it was almost full to capacity, and I did have to wait, but a warmed blanket tucked under my chin and an ice pack for my head helped, plus words of comfort, along with many ins and outs, informing me of the doctor’s availability. Meanwhile, I was quite content to be prone and as comfortable as one can be with a gash in one’s head.

As the doc administered the Novocain via a VERY LARGE NEEDLE, I looked at my family, noticing my daughter and her dad had turned away, their heads together, knees touching. They are both cut out of the same cloth as far as watching anything having to do with needles!

All the while doctor and nurse were tending me, the doctor was keeping up a steady stream of conversation, very soothing and gentle and unhurried. I was given a thorough inspection of my upper back and legs, collar bone, arms, etc., as some people claim they’re fine and end up unknowingly having sustained internal injuries. Doctor made me laugh out loud to monitor that very thing … any internal injuries would have prevented me from giggling without discomfort.

After stitches and staples to completely enclose the 2-inch-long, shepherd’s-hook gash in my head (without shaving my hair!), doctor suggested a trip through a CT scan to be assured I had not sustained a skull fracture, due to the nature of the injury.

Through all of that, I did not have a concussion, nor required even a pain pill, other than Tylenol, and no skull fracture. I attribute this to heartfelt prayers to my Father on my behalf from many, many people. Dear friends, my loving family and friends of our daughter’s beseeched God, laying my concerns at the throne of grace.

I’m sharing my experience for one single purpose: To caution farmers and farm wives that work with animals. Do not be lulled by the routine of feeding and tending. Always be watchful and aware of an escape plan; they’re unpredictable and powerful. If possible, have a barrier between you and the animal. I had nothing but a baseball bat (sorry, that sounds awful but necessary for protection!) but couldn’t get it up fast enough.

For 61 years I have been around animals, and this is the very first time I was threatened and physically hurt in such a manner. (Otherwise, the closest was a mere graze of a back hoof.)

It was scary. Days later, my head feels tight and my shoulders are achy. When I close my eyes, I still can see his head come toward me, his eyes dull, yet very determined. This animal did not think: Kill Kay. Just: Kay, get the heck out of my pen!

My gray pencil skirt and cute little black shoes will be put aside for another special event. I am thankful I am still here to be able to wear them one day. The encounter with the steer could have been so much worse!

(“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16)