It’s been a while since my last post, and that’s because I’ve had one hell of a month. I’ll give you some detail as to what has been manifesting in my crazy life over the past 3 weeks, and by the time you get to the end of this post you will probably agree when I say that I’m tougher than Chuck Norris. I’ve even got pictures to prove it.
As many of my regular readers know, I tripped on the stairs at work while carrying a jug of ingredients in August of this year. This caused a large disc herniation, compressed nerves, and spinal stenosis caused by the large disc herniation. This was all according to the results of an MRI that I had done a little more than a month ago. I was off work for a couple of months when the injury first happened, and I was back to work for 3 hour ultra-light-duty shifts on a ‘return to work program’. I could basically just walk around and do paperwork or button pushing because of the restrictions from the back injury.
The restrictions my physiotherapist recommended were something like no lifting anything over 5 or 10 pounds, no pushing, pulling, twisting, bending, kneeling, squatting, no work above shoulder height or below waist height, and no standing or sitting for extended periods. As you can see, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of work for me in a production plant.
I’m now on a waiting list to see a surgeon about that back injury. The thought of having to have my back cut open and messed around with to relieve pressure on nerves is, well… a bit unnerving, but I’d rather go through that than continue to hobble around with constant pain in my back and down my leg.
The Sky Is Falling
As I was working my 3 hour light-duty shift on December first, I guess I was in the wrong place at the wrong time (or the right place at the right time, depending on how you look at it) and as I walked through a commonly traveled area, one that we all walk through hundreds of times a day, the ventilation system’s air diffuser (a large 4ft x 4ft vent thingy that weighs about 150lbs) fell from the ceiling and landed right on the top of my head.
I’m talkin’ almost like something out of one of those old cartoons where the anvil just falls out of the sky and lands on the unsuspecting victim. I had absolutely no idea this thing was coming before it hit me. It’s loud in the workplace and we have to wear earplugs to protect our hearing from the loud noise of all of the machines, so I didn’t hear the thing falling or anything.
It’s a miracle that I did not die instantly, get a fractured skull, a broken neck, a broken back, brain damage, or even a mild concussion.
The diffuser hit me on the head after about a 7 foot free fall drop off of the ceiling. When it hit my head I felt every single vertebrae and disc in my back get squished all the way right down to my hips, and then my knees must have taken a large amount of the impact as well. It went off the back of my head and hit the square stainless steel hand railing beside me, leaving a large dent in both the railing and the diffuser.
Somehow I didn’t even fall down or lose consciousness when it hit me. Because of my posture and the way I was moving the thing did not break my neck or back. I must have been walking with perfect posture, one of the things I have been practicing constantly since the first back injury.
When it hit me I felt it squish every disc in my back all the way down to the herniated one at the L4-L5 location. I remember nearly the entire incident with stunning clarity. Most people ask me if I was ‘in shock’, and my response is that yes it was shocking that it happened, but my mind did not seem to go into any type of shock at all, and none of the incident was ‘blocked out’ by my brain like many people experience when traumatic things happen to them.
After the diffuser hit me, my hand went up to my head immediately and I felt my bare skull with my finger tips. The diffuser had ripped the back of my scalp off and caused what is called ‘de-gloving’. As I turned to see what had hit me I saw HUGE amounts of blood pouring out of my head and down my shoulder, it was almost like a fountain.
When I saw that it was the huge diffuser that had fallen from the ceiling and landed on me I remember thinking about what it would be like to see it happen to someone else, and having the thought that ‘they’d be dead’.
It was the most intense experience I have ever had, and I think one of the most intense experiences you could even imagine, and this crazy even happened to me just two weeks ago!
Immediately one of my coworkers ran over and told me to sit down, which I did, and I remember wondering ‘Why the hell am I still standing? Are my brains falling out? If someone else got hit with that, they’d be dead!’
It’s All About The Breath
I remained calm and focused throughout the entire experience, I don’t think my mind went into any sort of ‘shock’ at all. Through October and November I had been taking some local Qigong classes where I practiced breathing, meditation, posture, and visualization and I now know that I decided to take those classes for a very good reason.
As I sat down I could feel that I was bleeding to death rather quickly, so I focused on trying to slow down my heart with my breathing to slow the flow of blood out of the giant wound. At this point I had no idea how big the gash was or if I had any broken bones or anything. It didn’t matter, I knew it was time to focus on my breath.
My coworkers rushed to call 911 and some of them came to hold towels on my head and talk to me to make sure I was still with them and not passing out. They did a terrific job in a situation like that, I believe it was their quick actions that played an important role in my life being able to continue to this day.
The emergency crews arrived in what seemed like minutes to me, but my co-workers say it was more like 10 minutes. The response time was very good in my opinion, considering it was icy out on the roads that day. They put a neck brace on me right away and wheeled me out of the plant on a stretcher and loaded me into the ambulance.
Once I was in the ambulance I clearly remember thinking ‘Only a few more minutes to the hospital… I’ve got more than a few minutes left in me. I survived!‘
At this point, I started testing my brain to make sure it was still working. When I realized that I was actually testing my brain to see if it was working a rush of relief came over me and I thought ‘the very fact that I’m running tests on my brain right now, and that I even thought to do such a thing is a pretty good indicator that I’m still me and my brain is still working fairly well.’
When the ambulance arrived at the hospital I was rushed into the emergency room where I had a great team of doctors who I am also very thankful for. The doctors had to put on face shields to work on me because I was actually SQUIRTING blood out of my head! They had to work quick because I was losing a lot of blood very quickly. I ended up losing more than half of my blood that day and my hemoglobin count was down to 69.
Who Knew Doctors Weren’t Barbers?
The emergency doctors had to quick-cut my hair to be able to see the wound and put my head back together. All I can say is that they must not teach doctors very much about cutting hair in med-school. Once they could get at the wound the doctor quickly stitched it up with a whole bunch of stitches.
After the stitches were in they said there was a large hematoma in the space where my scalp had come de-gloved, and that I was still leaking blood. They decided to quickly send me for a CT scan on a different floor to check for brain damage before doing any more work on my head.
The CT scan came back looking good. The results didn’t even show a concussion. It must have been because of my posture and the way I was moving when the diffuser came down on me. Instead of my head being jolted forward or backwards and slamming into the inside of my skull to cause damage, it must have been cushioned downwards by my neck, back, and knees. That was a very good thing.
After the CT scan results were in, it was back to the operating room to remove the hematoma and put a stop to the bleeding. This time they called in some other surgeons for advice, including a plastic surgeon who was on duty.
The doctors opened up my head again, took out a bunch of the stitches and re-cleaned it. When they were cleaning it it was the grossest feeling ever *shudder*. They took the hematomas out of my head (pictures below), and they used staples to seal me up the second time.
Over 20 staples and 15 stitches later, the bleeding had stopped and I was really high on morphine.
At this point I was sent for X-rays which came back looking good and showing no fractures. The doctors and everyone I’ve talked to are all in agreement that it’s a miracle that I did not die, get brain damage, or any broken bones. Nobody can explain why my head didn’t just explode, why I didn’t get crushed under the diffuser, or why I remained conscious and on my feet after the diffuser hit me. Those things do not matter though, what matters is that I’m here to share this with you today.
I’m happy to be here to write this post and share my story. Considering what happened, I am doing pretty good. My back is obviously very sore, since the herniated disc, compressed nerves, and stenosis were definitely not made any better with this incident. And I now have pain in my upper back between my shoulder blades after having the diffuser fall on me. It feels like another bulging disc or two, but it’s not as bad as my lower back is for pain.
I Refused The Blood Transfusion
I was in the hospital for 3 days and I was released after my hemoglobin levels stabilized at about 69. This is very low and they wanted to give me a blood transfusion even when the results came back at 92, which I refused.
I refused transfusions twice because it just seems weird to me. I told them that I only wanted one if I was actually going to die without it. They continued monitoring my hemoglobin levels throughout the 3 days, and during week after I was released. The doctors said that if I was older they would have done a transfusion, but since I am fairly young at 24 I would probably be okay. They told me to be wary of any dizziness, nausea, sensations of pressure, or anything weird happening that didn’t seem normal.
The morning after I was released I noticed my right eye was very swollen and red. It looked like I had been in a fight and got my ass handed to me. In reality I had been sucker-punched by an air diffuser, and in the end I’d say I kicked it’s ass. ‘You should see the other guy’ about sums it up… I bet that thing is on it’s way to the dump as I write this!
It’s now been 14 days since the incident and I’m doing pretty good overall. I was on anti-biotics until a few days ago, and now I’m building my system back up with some good probiotics. I’ve been taking Tylenol 3 and Advil as needed to control the pain and headaches. I was waking up with headaches most mornings since the incident, but the last 2 days when I woke up I didn’t have one. That was nice.
I really think that in the strangest way this was the universe’s way of providing me with a way out of a job that has been completely unfulfilling, and it has given me the ability to pursue more important things in life. Though I am still technically employed by that company and am currently receiving workers compensation benefits for the injuries and time lost, I don’t know if I will ever be able to go back to work at that job again. I don’t think I could feel safe working there again after having 2 serious injuries and almost dying there.
I will now have a lot of time off while I heal and wait to see the orthopedic surgeon about my back injury. If I have to do a surgery I will have several weeks of healing time after that, too.
Was it by Law of Attraction?
I’ve been working very intensely with the Law of Attraction over the last several months, and I’ve been seeing its effects all over the place. And this incident to me symbolizes a huge transformation. Some of the dreams written in my dream book would require some big events to happen in order for them to materialize any time soon, and without big changes they would seem impossible for me to achieve.
But I truly believe that the universe will move things, events, and people and all the variables necessary to bring you anything you want if you put enough power, focus, and determination into it. The universe organizes things, events, and people in such a way that anything is possible, the most bizzare occurrences take place in order to manifest the reality that you’re in tune with.
I’m opting to look at this strange and painful event in my life as an opportunity to grow and become something better, stronger, and more inspiring than ever before.
I want to remind you that the things that seem to be the worst often turn out to be the best, and the things that leave the biggest scars are often our greatest gifts in disguise. Be thankful for all of the experiences that you’ve had, and all those you haven’t as well. Make the very best of every moment in your life and always keep growing, because if you aren’t growing, you’re dying.
And now for the gorey pictures that I promised in the title of this post.
If you are squeemish or don’t like blood, look away now and DO NOT look at the bottom picture, it’s quite bloody and painful to see. I have an urge to put it first, but know that some of you would hate me for it.
So what do you think?
Am I Tougher Than Chuck Norris?
Leave me a comment below…