Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My extension ladder tried to murder me.

I was checking a customer's home to see if I could get a clear line of sight for an international satellite dish early this afternoon when my ladder decided it wanted to be on the ground.

The customer was rather affluent and wanted a second satellite dish because his wife enjoys watching French television.  I was checking to see if I could put the new dish behind an existing one.

My 20' ladder was almost completely extended, the top three rungs above the gutter of this two story house.  It seemed level when I placed it but when I was a little over three-quarters of the way up it started sliding to the left along the gutter (I think the left foot may have sunk into the ground after I started climbing).  I attempted to lean in the opposite direction to arrest the slide but had no luck.  The safest thing to do seemed to be to ride the ladder down since I was falling toward an upslope.

My ladder hit a tree and then a Generac generator and I went off.  I landed hard on my legs, my right leg hitting hard on the ground and twisting.  My left leg hit a rung of the ladder and and scraped down it.

When I was on the ground and nothing was moving I felt that I was hurt, possibly very badly.  I managed to get myself into a sitting position with my back against an A/C unit.  My right leg was in extreme pain.  I was seeing stars.  Prior experience led me to believe that the pain was going to cause me to pass out soon.

I managed to get my phone out and call my office.  I let the guy who answered know I'd fallen and might have broken a leg.  A maid from the next house over heard me fall and came out to check on me.  When she got to me I was only able to tell her I thought I was hurt pretty bad and that I had help on the phone.

Then I passed out.

I came to not long after to hear her trying to tell my boss where we were.  I managed to get out the address and talk to him for a minute.  When I hung up with him I started checking my right leg to see if I had any bones sticking out.  Nothing like that, but the pain from moving it around made me pass out again.

I came to again and now had the maid and her boss out there, a older gentleman named Claire.  We talked a bit while the maid went to get me a glass of water and I tried to stay still so my head would clear.  I was covered in cold sweat.  I knew I hadn't hit my head but I was most certainly in shock and didn't want to go out again.

Claire told me how he was lucky he was a big man since he went through hell as a kid with that name.  He said he was named after his father who was an Olympic boxer.  I wish I could remember the last name.

I called my supervisor to let him to know he might need help.  If my leg was broken I was afraid I'd pass out again if I stood up and I'm no light weight.

I felt well enough to hobble up the hill to the van when he got there about thirty minutes later.  I was actually able to weight the leg a bit.  I was worried though.  A busted leg or tore up knee, and I thought it might be both, would put me out of work for a long time.

Fast forward to the emergency room.  Did the check in dance, got examined by a doc, had a lot of x-rays taken of my leg.  The I got a tetnus shot and was offered a loritab.  I passed on the pill.  I wasn't in a whole lot of pain and I don't like narcotics if I can avoid them.

X-rays came back clean.  I've got full range of movement in both legs.  My right actually hurts a bit more at this point.  I twisted my ankle and where I hit the ladder rung is probably deeply bruised.

They sent me home with crutches and a prescription for pain pills and muscle relaxers.  I may fill that tomorrow if I feel I need it otherwise I won't worry about it.

I've got my legs propped up right now and I'm having my follow up with Dr. Wild Turkey.  I was scheduled to be off tomorrow anyway, and hopefully I'll be back to work by Friday.

I'm feeling a bit lucky.  I was adamantly convinced I'd broken my lower right leg or had severely torn up my knee.  Turns out I'm just badly banged up, but not broken.


Kristin said...

Wow, so, I am super glad to hear it is not broken. Being out of work that long would have been a serious issue. Well, that and broken legs just suck anyway. I bet you are going to be treating that leg like a princess over the next few weeks. (PS, good storytelling.)

Matt said...

Take it easy, if you can, rest up and heal.

RobertM said...

Kris, it definitely sucks, but I'm glad it's not broken too. And thanks!

Matt, that's my plan. I'd like to get back to work asap, but I'm not going to go back before I'm healed up enough to handle it.

Borepatch said... led me here. the entry was:

Bullet, dodged. (n)

I hope they're right.

Old NFO said...

Agree with BP, and MAKE SURE you're well enough (and moving well enough) to going back to work. Otherwise take an extra day or so. Better to do that than really get hurt by going back too quickly and potentially hurting yourself even worse.

RobertM said...

Yeah, I'm taking all the time I need. I've got to be able to carry around 60 pounds at work so I'm not back until I'm sure I can. It ain't worth it.

Bob said...

Glad it's not a broken leg. A broken leg killed my mother last year, because during the operation to repair it she was exposed to MRSA, which led to pneumonia. You want to avoid hospitals and especially surgery in these days when antibiotics don't much work any more.

The bruising you're going to end up with I don't envy you. Take it easy.