Inches & Seconds
The difference between the continuation of life and the finality of death can me measured by inches and seconds.
When an accident happens,
time is of the essence
The size of the cut matters.
I have been at the hospital for the last 4 days, and will be here for at least 2 more.
As friends come by to check on me,
As I talk to my family to tell them what happened,
As I look at my wife to tell her I am ok, with an IV sticking out of my left arm, and bandages and a sling on my surgically repaired right arm,
“I am ok”
As she agrees with me, then turns her head and cries because it was a matter of inches and seconds that has made it possible for me to still be breathing.
I am not ok.
I had probably done it the same way numerous times, without incident.
Painting the second story of the exterior of a house requires a scaffold. My ingenious but flawed thinking placed a six foot ladder on top of the scaffold to be able to get the high spots.
The wheels on the scaffold were locked. The ladder was leaned securely against the house.
As I carefully climbed the ladder to tape off a window, something gave way.
I am not real clear on what happened.
What I do know, is that instead of falling into the windows of the house or onto the rock patio that the scaffold was placed…
The ladder I was standing on flipped over during my straight fall. The bottom rung of the ladder jammed into my armpit seemingly to almost rip my arm out of the socket.
Looking at the damage, as the customer ran out of the house holding her 7 month old daughter, I knew it wasn’t good.
She offered to drive me to the hospital.
I said no. Not only did she have a newborn but is expecting another….and I didn’t want to get blood in her new truck.
I’m thoughtful like that.
She then demanded that I allow her to call an ambulance.
I again declined. I didn’t think I had time to wait for an ambulance.
I drove myself to the hospital.
Again…ingenious but flawed thinking.
I made it without incident and walked into the ER to get checked in.
One look and I was scheduled for emergency surgery.
The surgeon came in and asked if I could move my fingers.
He asked if I could feel his touch running up to the top of my shoulder.
He shakes his head with a surprised look on his face and says we will have the surgery in about :45 minutes.
I had time to call my wife and my bosses to tell them what had happened. I started each conversation with the same verse-
I am ok.
After vitals, EKG, X-rays and whatever else is standard was taken care of, I was put under and into the hands of the surgeon.
An hour and a half later I was wheeled up into my room and visited by the surgeon.
He then told me the news….in inches
“You had about a 5 inch tear under your arm, and another that was about 3 inches. You are extremely lucky. You missed cutting the artery by 1/4 of an inch, and missed all the major nerves by about the same. I understand, that a six foot ladder is what caused the laceration after it fell of a scaffold. It says here that you are 6’2″. By my calculations, if you were a couple of inches shorter, that ladder would have ripped your arm off…and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. If I were you I would make plans to go to church on Sunday. I expect a full recovery.”
The measures of inches and seconds that I described all contributed to the fact that I am still alive and will physically be ok.
All of that trouble could have been saved if I had only taken the time to get the job done safely instead of trying to get it done a few seconds faster.
Truth is, in time, I will be ok.
In how much time….I don’t know.