Re: muzzle loading question- help
Welcome to the club - now you should go purchase a little doo-dad called a worm, simply a self-tapping screw that will pull out the bullet when you "dry-ball". There is also a bigger spring-like puller for removing patches that pull off down in the bore.
Your wife is an astute lady! Only time I ever had my wife out "helping" on a muzzleloader shoot I fired the damn ram-rod, never did find it. That also ends your day on a sour note. Embarassing to call the factory and ask for another ram-rod, it was an oddball size and I could not buy one locally. The guy immediately knew what I had done, but he was good about replacing it.