6 years ago I broke my back working for a tree company when a limb fell on me from 20 ft above. It was lunch time, but I didn’t make it to the main course. This was a hot day. 95 degrees F. One of those days where your shirts is fully soaked through. It was so hot, that my socks were soaked through. I smelled like sweat and pine. I’ve always thought the smell of pine and 2-stroke gasoline should be bottled up and sold as a fragrance.
My hard had fell off my head. I remember the sound it made hitting the ground. The sound that blades of grass make when something compresses them and then lets them go. Like a paintbrush when you run your hands down the bristles.
As I bent over to pick it up, something prompted me to look behind me. I don’t know if it was a sound, something I saw, or someone else yelling. I think it was my third eye. Some how I knew. Time moves so fast, but stood still for me then.
I smashed to the ground and gripped the grass so hard I was pulling it out of the ground. Grass sounds like velcro when you remove large amounts of it from the earth. My first thought was my baseball career, this will be the last time I play I thought. I heard people saying put him in the pickup truck we need to go to the hospital. They tried to lift me but I was in too much pain. Pain like I have never felt before.
I couldn’t feel my legs. The sensation I experieince was as if they were sinking into the earth. My boots felt like they were filled with cement and sinking in thick mud. My legs were leaving me. They call it spinal shock. I thought I’d be paralyzed.
I vividly remember handfuls of grass. I kept grabbing handful after handful. The ambulance came in slow motion. I spent decades on the ground. The smell of diesel fuel filled the air. They wouldn’t give me morphine. That trip passed bump by bump. They brought me to the ER.
I was so thirsty. I’ve never experienced thirst so intensely. I felt like Vince Vaughn walking through the dessert in True Detective. They weren’t allowed to give me water or meds due to a potential pre-surgery protocol.
A brave compassionate nurse slipped me a 1 inch by 1 inch sponge soaked in water as I begged. The sponge cube was yellow and very porous. Like the big yellow sponges you see painters use. The Nurse said, “Don’t tell anyone about this.”
That drop of water tasted so wet, so clean, so refreshing. It was just enough to rid my Xerostomia. It was all I had, and I was happy with that for the time. She was my hero.