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Forum topic by DonB posted 03-15-2020 08:17 AM 1144 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DonB

582 posts in 3494 days


03-15-2020 08:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: safety

Four months ago, my son-in-law was doing what he usually did – spending his spare time helping a fellow church member complete a project. Left alone for just a few minutes, the man returned to find Gary (age 59) on the cement pad, having fallen from about 25 feet.
Gary remained totally unresponsive for three very long days in a hospital in Johnson City, TN. He had sustained head trauma, broken ribs, pierced lung and was not breathing on his own. Doc gave him 50-50. Having six daughters and a son, Gary’s spot in ICU was monitored 24/7 by one adult-child, having put their own families’ on hold.
Like a small military assignment, each made a comment as to dad’s condition after each “watch”. Initially the only comments on their Facebook pages was that dad continued to breathe.
To shorten the story, they began to record little things the kids saw as progress. The nurses disliked cleaning Gary as he would fight them at the slightest touch. Progress included opening his eyes, looking around, but having the “no one’s home” look to his eyes. Eventually he could recognize his children. His eyes would stop on the person whose name had been called. Once Staff removed his breathing tube, his food tube, and a few miles of wires at about the 2 1/2 week point, Staff had to put alarms on his bed because Gary kept trying to get up and out – he didn’t know why he was there, but 2 1/2 weeks was long enough, he was going home. Gary was never late for work and had a ritual in getting ready. The girls noticed that in the hosp. when 4 pm came around, Gary was very restless, wanting to get up, etc…. It took a couple of days to figure out he was trying to get to work and continue to be on time for his shift.
Now home he still speaks in a whisper, still has major word-finding-difficulty. His balance is not rock solid and he may have compressed his spine when he hit the cement. He seems nearly well medically, but lagging behind mentally. Testing confirms the vast difference in prognosis. My daughter has to watch him. He is ready to follow through on a thought in a flash. Yesterday she found him, having tied a ladder to a tree (he knows he fell from a ladder) – but it was the CHAIN SAW in the other hand that caused immediate action by my daughter.
Doc says its unlikely he’ll return to work as an electrician, but may find another field. No one can see Gary sitting still for very long. After Hurricane Hugo in Charleston, SC Gary helped cut trees off people’s houses who had no ins. and never charged them a dime. That’s just the way he was. He physically helped build the church they attend.
Even tho his accident was not work related – his company paid for insurance to cover them for 24 weeks, his church members have helped with money, animal feed for a couple of months. He can receive aid but its the six months or so delay that can crush them. His frustration level is very high as he knows his brain is not functioning well. A couple of guys helped him reconnect a water line. Gary got the right tools, even the correct sized sockets and shifted the connection, but could not explain to my daughter what he had done, or even why. So I post this to remind people that others’ are good people at heart. I also post this to remind 59 year olds that like helping others not to reach beyond the safe limits of balance on a ladder and NEVER LET THE SECOND PERSON ON THE LADDER LEAVE THE AREA. Gary’s whole life changed in less than maybe 20 seconds. DonB

-- DonB


13 replies so far

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

1007 posts in 2451 days


#1 posted 03-15-2020 12:41 PM

Don’t let my wife see this She panics whenever I am doing almost anything. I did find when painting my workshop, I am just not comfortable 20 feet on a ladder like I was when I was 20. I don’t like getting on the roof any more. Hard to give it up as I am cheap, but it is time.

My best wished for Gary and his family.

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DonB

582 posts in 3494 days


#2 posted 03-26-2020 03:56 AM

Thanks tvrgeek. I roger your feelings on a ladder. The last time we did the house I sprayed the whole thing on a ladder – was petrified every single minute.
UPDATE: Gary gets around as well as anyone now. According to my daughter, his mental improvements seem to have leveled off. Even tho we all remain hopeful, it appears that Gary is as good as he is going to get mentally. His sense of humor is still very apparent. Always ready with a wise crack – even if it has a slower delivery. He is aware he almost died and admits to wanting to live. The plant manager and plant owner have visited Gary both in the hospital and at home. He can come back to work as soon as the Doc gives the OK. Gary has verbalized his understanding that his job may be different than it was – but that they still value him. Getting the Doc’s OK may be more difficult than he thinks. Time will tell.
DonB

-- DonB

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SMP

2248 posts in 707 days


#3 posted 03-26-2020 04:19 AM

I remember when i started working at the cable company during the initial training the instructor went over safety, explaining that the leading cause of death and injury are car crashes and 3rd(i think) was falling from high places. He then said “guess what you guys are going to be doing? Driving around 10 hours a day climbing telephone poles and 30 foot ladders”. Some people dropped out, and during my 2 years there, 1 guy died, fell off a ladder on a very hilly area so was pretty bad.

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Kelly

3050 posts in 3746 days


#4 posted 03-26-2020 04:34 AM

PRAYER (more of them).

And thanks for the reminder.

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DonB

582 posts in 3494 days


#5 posted 06-13-2020 07:21 AM

UPDATE: The Power of Prayer. Gary has regained full physical abilities except his voice. He talks in a whisper. Doc’s are not sure why, but that is the only apparent physical/mental impairment. It took a full six months, for him to regain all his faculties. His work company paid in cash, for 6 months insurance because, at the time of the accident, the only insurance he had was work related and this was not work related. I was really overcome with respect for the company, to pay out of pocket for his insurance, which by the way paid in full. He was called to work the beginning of June 2020, for a two hour session with the company boss. The session ended with the boss stating that if Gary could get blessed by the Doc, he could return to work. Gary got blessed by the Doc last week, completed all the paperwork and returns to work the end of June. What position he will have remains to be seen. But for a guy who has to be doing something all the time – the idea of returning to work makes him act like a kid in a candy store. For those of you who offered a prayer for Gary – Thank You.

-- DonB

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Woodknack

13438 posts in 3182 days


#6 posted 06-13-2020 07:59 AM

Great ending to an incredible story. A friend of mine fell from scaffolding and landed on a pipe. He spent a long time in the hospital and ended up on disability for life. Best thoughts to Gary and his family.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Redoak49

4797 posts in 2790 days


#7 posted 06-13-2020 10:49 AM

Such a great outcome…A miracle

View r33tc0w's profile

r33tc0w

192 posts in 1286 days


#8 posted 06-14-2020 04:24 AM

Wow. Praise God.

-- Matthew 13:53-58

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rockusaf

171 posts in 904 days


#9 posted 06-14-2020 05:54 AM

Really glad to hear Gary is making that amazing recovery. That’s the type of company I prefer to give my business to and I see you’re right around the corner from me. If it’s local can you send me their name?

Rock

-- Measure Once Cuss Twice

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GR8HUNTER

7647 posts in 1514 days


#10 posted 06-14-2020 02:06 PM

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View clieb91's profile

clieb91

3967 posts in 4737 days


#11 posted 06-14-2020 02:30 PM

Don, Glad to hear he has recovered so well and that he will be able to return to work. So true about how quickly things can change. I have know a few people currently that are struggling after accidents.
Thanks for sharing, best wishes to Gary and the family.

CtL

-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- PortablePastimes.com (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View 987Ron's profile

987Ron

59 posts in 118 days


#12 posted 06-14-2020 02:36 PM

Just had my cousin fall 20ft. from a ladder. Spent 6 days in the hospital with a broken heel. He is a retired painter of water towers. Should have known better. Not the severe injury of Gary but another reason for me to consider giving away all my ladders over 6 ft. I do not need to be tempted to get it done or save some money. At 82 I need to stay on the ground.

-- It's not a mistake it's a design opportunity

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

5922 posts in 1376 days


#13 posted 06-14-2020 02:46 PM

Prayers that Gary continues on the path to full recovery, and prayers to all of those he loves, so they can remain by his side. God bless you all.

-- Think safe, be safe

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