Four months after a hunter’s slug struck her in the hip as she walked her dogs through a wooded trail in Norton on New Year’s Eve, 66-year-old Cheryl Blair said her health is halfway restored.
But her recovery - plagued with repeated bacterial infections and frequent hospital visits - has been a struggle. Blair, a self-proclaimed athlete, celebrated her graduation from a walker to a cane this week.
“I’m 50 percent back,’’ she said in a phone interview on Friday. “I just want to get my life back.’’
After nearly two months in two hospitals, she returned home in February, and with her came a daily routine of intravenous antibiotics, three days of physical therapy a week, and frequent visits from a nurse to redress wounds on her thigh.
Though she said she is steadily, if slowly, healing, the E. coli-like infection remained a setback. She was hospitalized earlier this week after an infected incision on her thigh swelled and opened up. She was wounded when John Bergeron, 50, an off-duty state trooper who lives down the street, apparently mistook Blair’s dog’s tail for a deer’s and fired the single shot from a rifle. The .50-caliber bullet tore through her hip, sending shrapnel through the back of her thigh.
“How he did that is something puzzling to me, because my dogs are golden retrievers,’’ she said, adding that she felt Bergeron shot blindly. “When they’re standing - and they were near me at the time - they stand at 24 inches. The bullet went into my hip at 39 inches above the ground.’’
Bergeron was not charged with any crime, though Blair said she wishes his hunting license would be revoked.
“I think there should be consequences for his recklessness,’’ she said.