IT was a freak accident that should have killed her, but Bucca farmer Margaret Horwood is still alive thanks to a minor miracle involving her daughter.
Sixty-year-old Mrs Horwood was unable to breathe or move after falling from a trailer and breaking her neck while baling lucerne with her husband, daughter and son-in-law two weeks ago.
Gasping for breath and unable to communicate, Mrs Horwood lay helpless until daughter Melissa Moore’s heroics saved her life.
Without any first aid training or medical background, Mrs Moore was able to breathe life back into her mother, while her husband ran to telephone Triple 0.
“She brought me into the world, and I kept her here for a bit longer, so I guess we’re even now,” Mrs Moore said.
Mrs Moore performed mouth-to-mouth on her mum for about 90 seconds, until she felt her beginning to breathe.
“Then she told us she couldn’t feel her arms or legs, and we got even more worried,” she said.
The tough farmer had broken her C2 vertebrae, commonly known as the “Ned Kelly break” because that is the bone broken when hanged.
Not surprisingly, specialists told her that a break like that usually resulted in death.
Local treatment has meant relatives have been able to visit regularly and help the recovery process - relatives such as Mrs Horwood’s 83-year-old mother Alice Gilby, who feeds her lunch every day.
“She was a very lucky lady, but is going great guns now,” Bundaberg Hospital nurse unit manager Rems Schoneveld said.
Mrs Horwood has been fitted with a “halo”— four screws that support her skull and prevent any dangerous movement.
It is an uncomfortable situation, but Mrs Horwood had a positive outlook.
“The staff here have been amazing. I have the halo, but they are the angels,” she said.
There is no guarantee of a full recovery, but according to Mrs Moore, her mother was the kind of woman who fought back.
“She’s a bushy. If anyone can do it, she can,” her daughter said.
“But Mum has made amazing progress already.”
Mrs Horwood will continue rehabilitation at the hospital for at least three weeks before she can return home.