This last Thursday afternoon, November 10th, I was out working with Greg Bass to take down standing dead trees on our property......both for the purpose of firewood, and also for safety, so as to not have dead trees or widow makers from these trees come down and hurt or kill anyone....especially our kids!
We had been working for more than an hour, and had taken down a half a dozen or more trees without any real trouble, with exception of one big tree coming down across our fence, leading to more clean-up and fence repairs. So, as Greg continued to take down several more trees, I began working on clearing and mending the fence, so that we wouldn't lose our last two beef cows to the neighbors.
Greg came across a tree that had a significant amount of weight at the top, leaning towards the fence line once again. We really didn't want it to go down over the fence a second time, so Greg asked me to bring the tractor in and place the bucket up high and put gentle pressure with the loader bucket against the tree, away from the fence line, as he made the final cut, so that the tree would fall in the direction we wanted it to. As I placed the tractor up against the tree, Greg began to cut. The tree began to move a little, and so I applied a bit more pressure with the loader. As I did this, I heard a loud noise from above. I stopped and looked up, just in time to see a very large widow maker coming out of the top of the tree, falling directly down towards me. It was very large, and falling too fast for me to even think to try and get off the tractor. Instinctively, I threw my arms above my head and yelled loudly at Greg, as I began to try and duck away......... but too late.
I was struck very hard in both arms and the top of the head by a widow maker, about 5 inches in diameter and a good 8 feet long!!! It broke into pieces as it hit me and the tractor. Greg had been smart enough to run backwards with his hands up for protection when he heard me yell.....he looked my direction just in time to see me being hit. I was hurting badly, and my brain was in a disconnect...... I was fighting to stay conscious, and couldn't coherently communicate with Greg for a while, though I knew he was there, and could hear him talking to me. I knew I was hurt, but had no idea just how bad...... my head hurt a lot, as did my arms. I could feel that things weren't right inside of my mouth, and I just wanted to stay awake, fearing the worst as far as head trauma goes.
A long story made somewhat shorter..... Greg checked me out and looked me over. I slowly began to get my brain to connect again, and we began to assess the damages that we could see to me..... head trauma in the way of significant abrasion and hematoma on the outside, not knowing what damage had occurred inside.... bruised and abrased arms and shoulder..... a torn up inside of my mouth, to go along with several broken teeth.
We managed to find a dentist that day, and got my two upper teeth repaired. We didn't know at the time that also have broken lower teeth.....of which I will need to have taken care of sometime soon. I chose to not go the ER for my head injury, but to rather wait it out at home, and have myself and Tracie carefully watch me for any signs or symptoms of closed head injury. I am thanking God that three days later now, I have not shown any signs of a brain bleed!!! I am healing up slowly, still hurting on the top of my head from the abrasions and bruising. My headache inside is gone, however, which is very good. My left side jaw is stiff and sore and aches a bit. I have broken teeth still in need of repair, and I am still stiff and sore n my neck and back and shoulders and arms. The inside of my mouth is trying to heal, but still hurts as well.
Yes, this was a very scary event. Yes, I was very scared for myself, and for my family. Yes, I could have very well been significantly hurt worse than I was, and am actually very, very, very lucky. Any number of things could have been just minutely different and the outcome could have been tragic and horrible. I am thanking and praising God for taking care of me through this event.
We still have a lot of trees out there to take down and deal with. However, from now on, we will be wearing helmets, and if we use the tractor at all, it will be with long chains from a distance. Only the guy with the saw will be at the base of the tree. We will take all precautions we can to be as safe as possible....which is why we will continue to take these trees down.... they can be deadly if left standing!
So, I have been taking the weekend off, laying low and relaxing and recovering......and counting my blessings. Today we will go to church as a family, and I will give utmost thanks and praise to our God who loves and protects us when we need it most.
Tomorrow, back to life again........ :-)