It’s a bit of an understatement to say that I’ve had some close calls. The same with head injuries. This morning I had another of each.
To lay the groundwork, last Saturday I had a corn leak out of the grain tube pictured above. It’s 50+ feet in the air. The leak was about 8 feet above the top of the bin. The corn was flying out so I moseyed up to the top. I stood a ten-foot step ladder resting upside down on the angle iron steps bolted on the bin. That was the only way I could stand it up. I then noticed I had forgotten my safety harness.
I had a chain so I wrapped it around my chest, gingerly climbed the ladder and fixed the tube. Shown below is corn flying out of the tube hole and my safety-chain harness before I made the ascent:
So this morning I was on top another bin with this same chain holding a weighty tube suspended inside the bin. The chain was looped over the top rail of my man lift and hooked into another link in a suspect, substandard and very questionable manner. I had the thought that I should hook it better. I also thought I should go get my safety harness on since I was kneeling and trying to position the heavy tube while looking down the center hole at the top of the bin. I knew if something went awry, it would be curtains. As in funeral home curtains.
I dismissed the idea of retrieving the safety harness as a waste of time.
A minute or two later, I heard a scary noise similar to that of a chain that has just unhooked itself and is flying around the country looking for a convex forehead that could be transitioned into a concave forehead. I would estimate 5/100ths of a second later, the hook on the end of the chain that had just detached reached out and gave me a solid left hook as it flew by.
I’ve been knocked out cold 6 or 8 times in my life. Lucky for my temporal housing and the ground below, I didn’t go completely out. From past experience I can certify I was in borderline la-la land. If I had ventured into la-la land, the impact with the ground 40 feet below would have never been felt.
The whammy was pretty painful. On a scale of 1-10 it was an 8.96. Believe me, I am very familiar with the pain scale and am usually right on with my estimates.
So I am on my knees at the top of the bin, reeling back from the hammerhead impact. I vaguely remember steering my reeling shadow toward the man lift that the chain had just exited. I slumped onto the floor of the man lift and stayed busy counting stars long after the chain had landed on the bin floor 40 feet below. I’m pretty sure I heard it laughing in glee at the sucker punch it had just landed.
Finally, I pulled my way up to a slumped-over but standing position. I looked straight down and bled on the control panel for a bit. In some perverse thought process, I imagined the drops of blood would testify to the next man lift operator about how tough the last man lift operator was. Now that I’m thinking more clear, it’s more of a testament of what an idiot I am.
I felt like there was a good chance I was going to lose consciousness before I made it to the ground. I also was nauseous and feeling like I was going to toss my cookies any second.
When I finally touched down on earth’s beloved surface, I remembered my blog so I snapped a picture.
Now this doesn’t look all that bad. (At least the injury, anyway.) And there’s really not a whole lot I can do about the rest.
But the blood is not from a cut. It is from an impact blow right between the eyes. I would estimate that chain hook was gravitating along at about 70 mph just before the world started looking cross-eyed to me. I made my way home in my totaled pickup in a blurry dash, trying to land in my driveway before I threw up or lost consciousness.
I made it.
Most wives would be horrified. The majority of them would ask if they should call 911. My wife looked at me square in the eye (I’m not sure which one because things were still a little foggy) and said “You’re ending your day kind of early, aren’t you?”
Eight hours later, I have severe pain from my left outside eyebrow to my right outside eyebrow and back again. If I chew, I experience a sharp pain between the two brows. I guess I need to look on the bright side. If the pain stays around for a few weeks, food consumption will diminish and I might lose a few pounds.
And then to top it all off, I got a picture back from a doctor in Boise that just bought my book. I think he is making fun of my bald head.