EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Tred Barta had a trip to Alaska booked and ready to go when his leg went a little numb a couple of weeks ago. Now, he’s in a Denver hospital, waiting for a trip to a physical rehabilitation hospital.
Barta, host of “The Best and Worst of Tred Barta” show on the Versus cable TV channel, suffered a spinal stroke a couple of weeks ago. It started while he was horseback riding near his place on Salt Creek near Eagle. He credits quick care by local doctors for getting him to Denver quickly.
Since then, he’s been in a hospital room at Denver Health Medical Center, a room that now hold an elk skin blanket and one of Barta’s signature long bows.
“He’s fine from the belly button up,” Barta’s wife, Anni, said.
From the belly button down is a different story. Barta has feeling in his lower body, but can’t walk. He’s been accepted as a patient at Craig Hospital in Denver, one of the country’s leading facilities for helping people with spinal cord or brain injuries.
Before getting to Denver, though, Barta spent some quality time with some of the Vail Valley’s doctors.
He started at the Steadman Hawkins clinic in Vail, where Dr. Sanjitpal Gill suspected a pinched nerve and wrote a referral to Dr. Thomas Palic, a local chiropractor.
A couple of days later, though, Barta started having serious pain in his lower body. The pain was bad enough that Barta had to stop on Interstate 70. A Colorado State Patrol officer took him to Palic’s office.
After a couple of text messages between Palic and Gill, Palic drove Barta to the emergency room at Vail Valley Medical Center. An ambulance ride to Denver came later that day.
While Barta’s still facing an unknown path and uncertain recovery, he said he’s grateful for the locals who helped him. He’s also thankful for his relatively new neighbors up Salt Creek.
“Everybody’s called, neighbors are taking care of our horses and dogs,” Barta said. “I’ve gotten more than 200,000 e-mails, but the first flowers that came were from the Eagle Pharmacy.”
Barta raises a lot of money for children’s charities every year, but said he’s been bowled over by the response he’s received from friends, fans and neighbors.
“When you help an old lady across the street you don’t think anything about it,” he said. “When you’re the old lady, you do.”
While Barta’s down at the moment, his TV career’s going to continue. Versus is going to document his rehabilitation, and both Barta and Anni said they expect it to go well.
“With Tred, once he’s focused on something, there’s no stopping him,” Anni said.