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The Accident

I left a quiet office early on a cold, mid-December day. I hadn’t planned to still be in Maine this time of year as I was supposed to have moved to North Carolina to be with my wife, Sarah, who was working there at the time. We had decided to make a new start together, but since I was having trouble finding work I needed to stay behind and continue my job as a real estate broker.

Like many Mainers, I am a woodsman by nature.  My family was always tromping through the woods, cutting down trees and using power equipment. I grew up around hand saws, ladders and chainsaws and believed I had a healthy respect for them.

This winter, with times being so lean, I thought I could save myself some money by harvesting my own firewood.  I had a few limbs and trees on my property that had died over the past couple of years, so I thought this would be a good place to start. I took a ladder from the garage and decided on a multi-trunked tree with a very large dead limb, approximately 20 feet long and 16 inches around.

And wouldn’t you know it?  It was leaning right where I wanted it to fall. Perfect!

I positioned my ladder, started my chainsaw and climbed up to about 8 feet.  I had a brief thought that I should put a notch in the limb that I was planning on cutting, but why bother?  It would be an easy cut, the limb would fall right where I wanted it to and it would save me an extra step. It was cold after all, I was all alone and wanted to move on with the rest of my day.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that one decision would literally change my whole life.

The limb was thick but I was nearly through it.  Suddenly everything happened very quickly.  The limb shifted, snapped unexpectedly and hit my chest and shoulder full on.  Loosing my balance and toppling backwards I briefly thought to myself, “Oh man!  That’s really going to hurt tomorrow.” 

Events went into dream-like motion.  I realized I was on my back and it seemed like something was looming over me. I couldn’t breathe very well.  What was choking me?  I called once for help, but that was all the air I had.

Then, everything went a curtain of black before my eyes and I passed out.

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