Wednesday, October 05, 2005


OK…OK. Enough already. Hundreds of you have sent comments asking about the “freak” accident mentioned in my first post – “The Journey Begins.” Well, not yet you haven’t, but I’m sure you will, so I’m saving you the effort.

In my second post – “My Agent” – I mentioned that I have, on occasion, zoned out. Well, the accident happened at one of those times. Timing is everything.

It was the day after Thanksgiving. After lunch, my son-in-law Greg and I went to the local Home Depot to pick up some plywood for a home project. We loaded it into my pickup truck along with a few other things we spotted as we roamed through the warehouse. “See that? Man, I just gotta have one of those.” Yep, the old impulse buys.

Here’s where the zoning out starts. We put the 4X8 sheets of plywood into the truck, and I placed the other purchases on top of them. “Yeah, that’ll hold the wood down,” I thought. “No need to tie it down.” Zone out # 1.

As we left the parking lot, I took a wrong turn and headed toward town instead of the Interstate. “No problem,” I told Greg. “It’ll just take a little longer to get home this way.” Little did I know long it would take. Zone out # 2.

As we stopped for a traffic light in downtown Asheville, the driver behind us blew his horn. “Asshole,” I thought. “The damned light is still red.” As I turned around to give him the finger I saw that he was trying to warn me. A stiff breeze had come up and the plywood was lifting out of my truck.

By the time Greg and I jumped out of the pickup, both sheets of wood were on the pavement. He grabbed one while I got the other. Now, this is where it gets more like a cartoon than real life. Not funny, just sort of surreal.

Greg had thrown his wood into the truck’s bed, but just as I lifted mine up in front of me a huge fucking gust of wind blew down the canyon created by the cityscape.

I was lifted several feet off the ground, blown across two lanes of traffic and deposited in the gutter. I could see where I was about to land, but there was nothing I could do about it.

The next 30 minutes were a blur of concerned passersby calling 911, cops, EMT’s, ambulance drivers, backboards and finally nurses trying to remove my clothing with scissors.

Following a brief exam by an ER doctor, I was off to X-ray where we discovered that I had fractured my pelvis in several places and had too many breaks in my left elbow to count.

Wheeled back to my little curtained cubicle, I watched as doctors, nurses and other ER personnel stopped to look at my X-rays. They were posted on a viewer just outside my room. One doctor even stuck his head through the curtain and said, cheerfully, “Very impressive.” I was not amused.

To make a long story short, three surgeries, eight pins, a long screw that looks like the big brother of the ones I built my deck with and assorted Teflon wires later, my elbow doesn’t work for shit. The prognosis for returning to gainful employment was, “a minimum of 6 months, if ever.”

All the bones in what was my elbow have been moved around. They stick out at weird angles and the head of the screw that runs from my elbow down into my forearm is sticking out. The screw was supposed to hold everything together, but it doesn’t. The bone that was the point of the elbow keeps moving around. That’s a great feeling.

On the subject of feeling; there is none on the outside of my forearm from elbow to pinky finger.

Now, I ask you, does that qualify as a “freak” accident or what? Rick James could have written a song about it.

Oh, have I told you that my agent wants me to write more?



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