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closest call with death???

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RuffChaser

It took a while but here is the story behind my next flirtation with death. It came almost three years after my car accident. I would like to state that I don't think I do anything overly crazy. I will say I have done some stupid things and when I do I seem to get punished. So a little background. I was crazy about a girl from 8th grade and all through high school. She graduated the year ahead of me and we always had a mutual interest in each other. After she graduated she went to college and I only saw her at a few parties. We never were able to date. Fast forward to 1991. I am at a party a few miles from my parents house. I get a beer and am looking around at the crowd to see who I know. I see her. I haven't seen her for 5 or 6 years and I don't know what to do. My best friend says isn't that ...??? I said yes, yes it is.

 

A few minutes later while I am working up the nerve to talk to her she walks over and asks if I was Tye. Because of the car accident I didn't look the same. She wasn't sure by my looks but by my mannerisms she was convinced. We talked for hours. I asked her out and we went on a few dates. For our third date she asked me to go water skiing with some friends of hers on Lake Chautauqua. We went and were having a fantastic day. It is a very shallow lake and we were anchored a few hundred feet off shore. I decided to take a piss and dove off the front of the boat. I jumped up nice and high and realized mid-air that was a bad idea. When I hit the water I tried to curl out of my dive but it was too late. I hit the bottom, hard. I stood up momentarily and knew something was wrong. I tried to hit the water yell for help but I couldn't.  

 

Luckily a person in the boat next to us saw me floating in the water, face down, and ran to help me. She was a nurse. They dragged me to the shore and some people went to call for an ambulance. It would be 7 minutes before they got me to shore and the ambulance could get to me. They started CPR but couldn't get me breathing. I was air lifted again to a hospital. They had to use the pads on me yet again to save my life. It had been at least 9 minutes since I was found and breathing again. They flew me to a small hospital where they stabilized me and took X-rays. I had totally fractured my C-6 vertebrae. When I woke up they told me they had to check me for paralysis. I was able to feel the needle and was quite relieved. They told me they didn't have the proper equipment to care for me and that I would flown to another hospital. The next day they airlifted me to Erie. That was my third trip on an emergency medical chopper.

 

After a week of x-rays and consultations they operated. The entered through my neck and cut out a graft of bone from my hip to use on my spine. They then fused my C-5 the graft ad my C-7 together. Many weeks of Occupational and Physical therapy followed. I lost some motor functions as my spine was slightly damaged. I had to learn how to walk, tie my shoes, feed myself, etc while my motor functions came back. As my nerves woke up it was a constant tingling feeling like when your arm or leg falls asleep. Imagine that all over your body for days. I had to where a halo. That's a stupid ass word for a metal brace to keep my neck stabilized. I got operated on in late August and had the halo it removed on Halloween.

 

I will never forget three things:

  • When I was first going to PT I was lifting a 1 lb dumbbell and it was heavy
  • In occupational therapy they had me trying to pick up grains of rice with a pair of tweezers and I wanted to smash something because I couldn't
  • Falling on the floor in the bathroom when I thought I could walk on my own. My underwear fell down around my ankles and I fell away from the alarm for the nurse. After what felt like an hour, but was probably only 10 minutes or so, one of my brothers found me and helped me up.

You lose all pride when things like that happen. The feelings I had of why me from the accident were magnified. Luckily I had lots of things to do like learn how to hold a spoon that kept my mind occupied. When I was well and back to work, 6 months later, my best friend had a long talk with me about changing my life. I was ready. He arranged for me to meet some professors where he went to college to talk with me about the Plastics Engineering school he had just entered. About a year after my accident I was enrolled at Penn State Erie where I would graduate four years later with a Bachelors Degree in Plastics Engineering.

 

I am not sure why any of this happened and I have long term effects of both that will probably make getting old really suck for me but it's better than the alternative. I have no doubts I am incredibly lucky. I felt terrible for everything I put my Mother, Father, and my friends through. As lucky as I thought I was then I have been even luckier to have traveled around the world from the jobs I have had that my degree made possible. It allowed me to move to Chicago and then on to Minneapolis where I would get a setter, meet my eventual wife and step-daughter and get a few more setters. I get to hunt grouse and WC every fall and band spring doodles.

 

One thing I have learned through all of this - whether it was my time in hospitals or in my travels around the world - no matter how bad things are some people have it way worse off. I remember being in the hospital learning to walk again as I watched therapist that was trying to work with an elderly lady that had just had a leg amputated. Every time she touched her to try and get her to stand she would yell and scream at the therapist m to leave her alone. There also were two small kids with burns all over their body and they screamed in pain as they flexed their limbs to keep their skin from tightening as it healed. I have seen some of the saddest slums in China and learned to hate the leaders there that allow so many to live in such poverty and do seemingly nothing to reduce pollution and the constant destruction of nature.

 

While I wish these things never happened they motivated me to change and that change has led me to live a life far greater than I ever imagined I'd be capable of.

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Kansas Bound

Wow very sobering to take nothing for granted.  Thanks for sharing RC.

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MAArcher

I've lead a pretty tame life.  But even so, I've had close calls.  Numerous motorcycle and automobile mishaps that left me (and often my vehicle) without a scratch but knowing it was by luck or grace alone that left me to keep on truckin.  

 

I once when i was 18 I woke up from a nap, which sounds tame enough, but I happened to be driving home from my girlfriends at the time.  It was around 3am on a long quiet backroad in Maine near Lake Sabago.  What woke me up from my nap was a wave of sparks coming over my hood and windshield.  Seems I had drifted across to the other lane and was rubbing up against the guardrail that was doing a great job of stopping me from rolling down a 50 foot drop off. Once I had the presence of mind to jerk the wheel and get off the guardrail and back into the proper lane, I looked down an realized I was still going almost 80 mph.  I'm not sure what the top speed of a 1984 Ford Escort is, but I figure at some point in my slumber I must of had her maxed out.  I still made it home before my parents woke up which was the goal.  It was dark and I had to wait until morning to asses the damage.  Turns out I had hit that guard rail ever so perfectly that the damage was minimal.  It looked like a professional took a grinder and ground away a golf ball sized piece of metal on the fenders, fore and aft of each drivers side wheel.  A little Bondo and a couple squirts of spray paint and it was months before my parents even noticed it.

 

There were also numerous times on the motorcycles when things got hairy.  Commuting into Boston was always an adventure.  One time in morning traffic it was tight but moving along at 50 mph or so.  While in the far left lane I was tailgaiting the car in front of me while I was being tailgated by the car behind.   I looked over to the lane to my right hoping to see an escape route, but instead i was boxed in by a lovely girl who appeared to be doing a very nice job of applying her eyeliner.  I wouldn't think 50 mph in congested traffic was the best time to apply eyeliner, but I'm no expert in makeup application.  A moment later, my doubts about her beauty regimen grew as she started to drift into my lane.  With cement barriers to my left, and metal coffins on the other three sides, all much close than I would have liked, my heart started to race a little bit.  The guy behind me beeped at the girl to give her a heads up, which only served to startle her and she jerked the wheel into my lane.  With no where to go, I kicked her door and she jerked the wheel back into her own lane.  She stopped applying makeup and didn't even dare to look over at me after that.  I thought for sure things were going to get messy, but again, not even a scratch.

 

Another time on the bike I was commuting again to Boston, in the rain.  The roads were a little slick but i was keeping the speed down, until I tried to beat a light at an intersection were I needed to turn right.  The slick manhole cover didn't register as a danger until I was leaned over and on the throttle.  When the rear tire hit the cover it just scooted right out from under me and the bike and I slammed down and as we bounced back up the wheels caught pavement again and instead of turning into a highsider that put me into oncoming traffic, I was just thrown high enough to end up right back up on the bike like nothing had happened.  A bruised knee and a scrapped muffler was the only evidence of what just happened.     

 

I've  been lucky like that a bunch of times.  Count your blessings I guess.

 

 

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Fishnfowler


I almost didn't post, but I've got a few stories.  I fell on a broadhead arrow that entered the inside of my right thigh just below my pelvis.  It cut my femoral artery.  I was 12 miles into the woods and the arrow was one my wife dropped out of her quiver.  It was a frosty day and I was backtracking her steps up through the clearcut looking for the three arrows she dropped.  It was a "snuffer" fixed 3-blade head.  This was in 1994 in the Selkirks of N. Idaho.  I bled very vigorously after I pulled the arrow out.  It was completely in my leg and I had to put my fingers in along the shaft to free up the back edges of the head to get it out.  There was a tourniquet, a helicopter flight, some surgery, and  a permanently altered gait due to my severed gracilis that didn't heal properly.  In 1989, I fell 35 feet rockclimbing and landed in loose rocks.  Just got my shoulder repaired 2 months ago.  In 1992, I ran out of water deep in the desert and suffered heat stroke.  That was my next closest call after the arrow.  In 1982 I was hit by a car while crossing the street, and carried on the car until it t-boned a truck with me between them.  I barely kept my leg.  That one kept me from walking for the better part of a year.   There were some others, but none so spectacular.  That said, I worked for 5 years on a flight crew, have 26 years of ER work, and 19 years of Family Practice all rolled together.  I've seen my share of misery and my conclusion is that nobody gets through life without a brush or two with death.  In the end, nobody gets out alive.


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WyomingArt

Age 14 broke through the ice on a solo duck hunt. My shotgun bridged the hole and I could grab it though submerged. Somehow clawed out, home was  a mile away. Never told my folks.  

 

18 years old and bullet proof, driving home from my girlfriends, had been up 20 hours or so, fell asleep, drove into a bridge abutment, broke face, jaw, leg etc. The sinus and leg fractures still a PITA 56 yrs later.

 

Age 35 or so, an old man with a nickel plated revolver pointed at my belly button, irrational and screaming nonsense. Likely dementia. I could see the loads in the chamber.  His son got the gun away from him w/o any blood shed. For a minute it was touch and go. 

 

 A chain saw hit a frozen knot, kicked back and caught my neck, lost some tendons, some meat, and a lot of pride. Esp. in the small town hospital where they sewed it up and people I knew dropped in to see the dumb guy with the chainsaw.

 

Age 40 mid Wyoming winter or so crossing a side channel of a fast moving river on a fallen cottonwood log, my Lab got spooked, knocked my legs out from under me and I went into the channel and carried down stream . Ran back to the truck to keep warm, hard to get my fingers to work the keys. clothes were frozen. 

 

And so it goes.

 

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MAArcher
On 4/28/2017 at 11:57 PM, Fishnfowler said:


I almost didn't post, but I've got a few stories.  I fell on a broadhead arrow that entered the inside of my right thigh just below my pelvis.  It cut my femoral artery.  I was 12 miles into the woods and the arrow was one my wife dropped out of her quiver.  It was a frosty day and I was backtracking her steps up through the clearcut looking for the three arrows she dropped.  It was a "snuffer" fixed 3-blade head.  This was in 1994 in the Selkirks of N. Idaho.  I bled very vigorously after I pulled the arrow out.  It was completely in my leg and I had to put my fingers in along the shaft to free up the back edges of the head to get it out.  There was a tourniquet, a helicopter flight, some surgery, and  a permanently altered gait due to my severed gracilis that didn't heal properly.  In 1989, I fell 35 feet rockclimbing and landed in loose rocks.  Just got my shoulder repaired 2 months ago.  In 1992, I ran out of water deep in the desert and suffered heat stroke.  That was my next closest call after the arrow.  In 1982 I was hit by a car while crossing the street, and carried on the car until it t-boned a truck with me between them.  I barely kept my leg.  That one kept me from walking for the better part of a year.   There were some others, but none so spectacular.  That said, I worked for 5 years on a flight crew, have 26 years of ER work, and 19 years of Family Practice all rolled together.  I've seen my share of misery and my conclusion is that nobody gets through life without a brush or two with death.  In the end, nobody gets out alive.

 

Damn.  You've got some luck.  Don't know if its good luck that kept you alive or bad luck that brought all that on you; but it sounds like a lot of one or the other.

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MAArcher

I have another story where I got away scot free.  When I was around 8 or 9 years old I guess it was, I wanted to see what was inside a bullet and I had a few live rounds, not sure of the caliber, that I had found on the ground at a local rod and gun club.  My friend and i used to sneak in there and dig lead out of the berms so we could use them as bombs when we waged ware with our little green Army men.  A group of four or five of us kids had the idea that the easiest way to get the bullets open would be to smash them with a hammer.  Luckily we started on the bullet end and it was already into little pieces when when the primer was truck.  The kid with the hammer was wearing shorts and we spent a half hour picking little pieces of bullet out of his legs.  I didn't get a scratch while the rest of the kids all got at least a fleck of shrapnel or two.  Never underestimate the stupidity of a child.

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bigjohnsd

Nothing I have done matches what you clowns have accomplished, Thank God!

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Jazz4Brazo

^^^

Other than falling asleep and bouncing off a guard rail doing 70ish...surprisingly little damage but no guard rail and I am not here :-(

 

A wake up call in many ways.

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frak

This bulletin board would have twice as many members, and Brad would have gold-plated door knobs on his country estate if the  guys were here whose closest call didn't work out.  

 

BTW, I don't want to be standing next to FishNFowler in a lightning storm!

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GB Jack

I was in a capsized duck boat on Lake Michigan on the closing day of the Wisconsin duck season, I believe that year it was like dec 7. Spent over 40 minutes in the water till we were rescued. No reason and an absolutely amazing story of how we were rescued. If you truly don't believe in Gods Angels, I'm fairly certain I met one that day, and never could track him down again. So surreal it didn't hit all of us until later that day until we tried to track him down. ??

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Dave in Maine

Safety officer on a "heavy demolition" range, a couple times.  

 

Once, some idiot second lieutenants from another unit cooked up a real mess.  Having some extra blasting caps at the end of their unit's demolition training, they took about 20 non-electric caps and studded a 2.5 block of C-3 so it looked like a whiffenpoof.  Open ends of the caps facing out.  Then, somewhere, they found a "dud" 105mm artillery projo - rifling marks on the rotating band - and slapped a couple pounds of plastique on it, primed it, etc.  And they took all their leftover electric caps, spun the lead wires off the cardboard tubes, wired them all together, and left a mess of wires with caps dangling inside looking like briers in a good rabbit cover and caps lying on the ground, too.  Inside this mess, about 20 pounds of plastique and the roll of det cord they could have used to make a ring main, but hadn't.

 

Naturally, this had misfired.

 

To their captain's credit, he made them sit on this mess all night.  It was February, in Germany.  About zero degrees.  Not that bad - they had huddled in a jeep with a working heater.

 

Come morning we arrive on the range for our day of training.  I get to clear this mess.  My sergeant had literal drops of sweat rolling down his face.  We're making progress on figuring it out, then taking it apart and rationalizing it so it would blow when desired and neither before nor after.  So then, in the middle of this, the captain comes around to see what I'm doing (and strut his stuff, I guess - he had a bag of attitude) and poke his nose in. I'm midway through lifting this mess apart - never moved the artillery projo, BTW - and that jackass stepped on an electric cap.  Right under the ball of his foot.  And I'm holding a bunch of something - can't remember quite what but it would have gone boom had it wanted.  

 

The captain indulged me with patronizing compliance when I told him to "freeze" and then to lift his right foot, take one half-step to the rear and look where it had been.  When he saw that cap smushed into the snow in the middle of his bootprint this lieutenant told him to get the fuck off the hill and got away with it.

 

* * *

Same range, later that morning, only I know who was the idiot safety officer (and it wasn't me).

 

My unit's armored personnel carriers are pulling in to do our training when the lead one stops short.  Real short.  I walk over to find out what's wrong and the driver is popped up in his hatch, freaking out.

 

Earlier in the week, the company had been training with anti-tank land mines.  The drill was, everyone gets to work on fuzing and arming the mines, then the mines get blown with a 1 pound block of TNT on the pressure plate.  Only all it did when it did blow, was blow off the pressure plate and sensitize the mine.  The driver had stopped about 6 feet short of running over three M15 AT mines.   They were missed by the safety officer when he declared the range cleared.

 

That safety officer, I heard, had a nice career and retired a lieutenant colonel.

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Virgil Kane
On 5/4/2017 at 1:48 PM, bigjohnsd said:

Nothing I have done matches what you clowns have accomplished, Thank God!

 

 

Oh, I don't know about that.:)

 

You ride motorcycles on the road with cars and trucks.  Seems like you take your life in your own hands every time your out riding.

 

I lost 3 friends in one summer that were my riding buddies. All three got hit by drunk drivers while sitting at stop lights, one while he was next to me and we were talking.  I sold my bike after that and haven't rode a motorcycle in 34 years.

 

Be safe !

 

Virgil

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idcut

My scrapes "with death" seem rather tame compared to what some of you have endured.

 

When I was 11-12 I wanted to check the thickness of the ice on the river below my parents house. Along with a neighbor friend who lived up the road a mile or so, we road our bikes to an easy access spot on the river. He didn't want to walk out on the river but I did. I got about midpoint of the river and fell through the ice. I threw my arms out and caught myself, but was afraid to just try and pull myself out, fearing that the ice would break and I would be sucked under the ice. I yelled at my friend to grab a long branch that was laying on the shore from some cottonwood trees, crawl out and let me grab the branch. His response "I'm not going out on there." Knowing my mom was home I told him to ride up to the house, have her get a rope, drive down and throw me the rope. Again his response was "I'm not getting out on the river:" "You don't have to come on the river, just go get my mom and a rope". He took off for his home and left me in the river.

 

After what seemed like another 4-5 minutes, I decided to try rocking myself up and down while kicking my feet, to porpoise out of the water. That's what I did and managed to flop up onto the ice without it breaking. Rode my bike home, called my "friend" to ask why the heck he left me in that predicament....his response: "I was scared".

 

Another was swamping a boat while commercial fishing for salmon with a friend on the Kuskokwim river. The boat was loaded with salmon and it rolled on us after swamping. We weren't wearing any kind of flotation devices and as the boat rolled, we each grabbed a boat cushion and jumped for it, into the river. We floated a short distance before another fisherman came to our rescue. I was a bit worried about my waders filling up with water, but fortunately they didn't.

 

I

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