I got a tetanus shot Sunday. It was something I have been meaning to do for a while, an action item on my life plan. It just wasn’t scheduled for Sunday.
I was feeling pretty good about what I had gotten done on Saturday. Today I have a daunting task. There is a fairly narrow access area next to the road about 3 feet from between the street and my property. A couple of weeks ago I got the access strip cleaned up. Now I am working down the property line. Clearing the undergrowth on the street had revealed a dead cedar tree that has been encumbered by a grouping of privet hedge stalks.
At some time the tree broke about 3 feet off the ground. The base of the tree fell against the incline and the trunk of the tree had rested on top of it. The trunk appeared to be reaching as tall as the electrical lines and the top of the tree was intertwined with other tree branches and hedge stalks. There 8 or 9 privet hedge stalks that had grown around it, some of them were actually wrapped around the trunk. It was hard to tell which cut would be the one to break the tree free. If the tree fell in the direction it was leaning, it would have fallen into the electrical lines. As long as the undergrowth was there it was held fairly securely, but now that I had cleared most of the undergrowth, the tree was trouble waiting to happen. My plan was to influence the tree and shrubs to come straight down to the ground. Then, my plan was to push the tree in the direction I wanted it to fall.
I carefully cut each stalk around the tree. Each time trying to stay on the side opposite of the direction I thought the tree would fall. None of them were the magic stalk holding the tree in place. And none of them were coming out by themselves. They were a unit, all intertwined up at the top. I put the power tools aside. It was just me and the tree. I started by pulling the trunk of the tree as far as it would come down. I pulled each stalk as far as would it come, always staying out of the path of the tree. I couldn’t believe it, the plan was working; each pull brought the entire unit - the tree and the privet stalks – a little father down. To reach the next stalk, I had to stand on an angle on the incline, at the side of the tree. I wish I could explain what happened next, but since I was in the middle of it and not just a spectator. As I pulled, I heard and felt the tree break free. Then I heard a sound that I had heard once in a movie, Z, back in the 70’s. During a demonstration the police went into the crowd with bully clubs. The sound of wood against bone was one I never wanted to hear again. And bang, I was on the ground. Between that sound and my hitting the ground, I thought the same thing the Travelocity Nome says when he plugs the American electric device into the European socket, ‘Am I going to die now?’
I didn’t die, I didn’t pass out, I didn’t even close my eyes, but I know I am bleeding. I get up from the ground and manage to move around the fallen brush and tree, which has evidently broken into a couple of pieces, probably from hitting my head. If there had been someone around, I would have yelled out call ‘911’. But there was only me. My goal was to let someone know I was hurt and get the bleeding stopped. Amazingly, I was still conscious when I got to my garden cart where my cell phone and wash rag I use to wipe the sweat off my face are. I am able to sit down in my lawn chair and apply pressure to my wound. It’s amazing, even at my age; my first inclination was to call my parents. There I was with my head leaned back applying pressure with one hand and trying to get the address book open on my phone to speed dial my parents. They are listed under ‘p’. Then I thought, ‘You silly thing, Bill (my brother) lives down the street. And he is a ‘B’, so you don’t have to mess with the address book.’ Actually the phone was new. I hadn’t stored Bill’s home number on my SIM card, so I had to manually dial the number. I had to calm down enough to hold the phone over my head and dial the 9 digits with one hand. Luckily, he was there and could help me.
Okay, I didn’t die. I let someone know I need help. I haven’t passed out. Although the bleeding seems to be under control, the wash rag on my head is soaked with blood. I calm down a little. I drink some water. I am sure that I was quite a sight setting in my chair, with the bloody rag, calmly drinking water when a neighbor drove by. In just a second, they drove back to check on me.
My Mom has been worried about me working with the chain saw by myself. But when I got hurt, the power tools were on the ground. This was just me and the tree and gravity. If someone else had been there, they probably would have been hit by some part of the tree.
Twelve stitches later, I was waiting for the results of the head x-rays. I remembered that I had my cell phone in my pants pocket. I was worried that Bill was going to miss his flying lesson. So I called him in the waiting room. He was more concerned about what was happening with me than the flying lesson, so he was glad I called. When he answered, the absurdity of me calling him on a cell phone when he was less than 15 feet from me, but not knowing what was going on made me giggle. But giggling made my forehead hurt, so I had to stop that.
The x-ray was negative, which is a evidently a good thing. They wrapped my head in gauze to secure a small pad over the incision. Once again, I was quite a sight with my bandage and hair going in all directions. When I was checking out, the receptionist gave me a paper bag for my bloody rag. She said when I saw the blood I knew we had to get you into a room. We had to stop at a pharmacy on the way home. We were back in the car in less than 10 minutes. Evidently bloody rags and bandage heads get you great customer service.
The tree is in 4 pieces on the ground. It had once been around 25 feet tall. I am standing, so I figure I won. Probably, though there are better ways to get a tetanus shot. (Note -I've read this kind of tree is called a widow maker.)