Monday, October 24, 2011

Summer Vacation 4

Boy, 12, Rolls, Falls 600 Feet

What I did on my Summer Vacation
By David L. Green
Part IV

A few seconds earlier, my Dad turned around and said “Where’s David?”
Danny answered, “I don’t know, he was here just a second ago.”
You can imagine the horror that hits a parent when they realize their child has just fallen over the side of a mountain and that the chances of surviving a fall like that are very slim, indeed. Horror!
Dad immediately put Danny, the oldest of the group, in charge.
“Get them back to the road and back to the house. Tell them what happened and call for help. Go!”
My father started down the side of the mountain in a zigzag pattern using whatever trees or vegetation he could find to steady himself to keep from falling.
He had grown up on this mountain. He had worked the coalmines and hunted game on this mountain but presently found himself in a strange, horrifying place.
The late afternoon sun had not dipped behind the mountains yet. As I woke up, the sun was bright and warm on my face and I could hear my father calling my name.
It was, again, surreal, I didn’t feel mangled. I realized that I was sitting in an upright position as if I had just come to sit down and rest for a while - except for all of the loose rock lying on and around me – very dusty, as I recall. I didn’t feel the need to get up or go to my father but, instead, called out to him. “Dad, hey, Dad, I’m over here. “
I had no sense or recollection of what had just happened to me and felt, strangely… relaxed.
My father was half out of his mind with grief and overwhelmed to have found me at all, much less, miracle of miracles, alive! I’m sure it never occurred to him that I might have been seriously injured because he just knelt down and, with his back to me said, “Here, just put your arms around my neck and I’ll carry you out of here.”
It seemed like a fine plan to me so I just did what he said.
 When he tried to pick me up, the flash of pain was beyond belief and I passed out.
The next thing I remember was looking up into the faces of my uncles, my father, and a couple of the ‘Bishop boys’, my grandmother’s neighbors. I was on some sort of stretcher and they were working very hard to hold me up and try to keep their footing at the same time.
Someone had brought a blanket and my father had cut two small trees with his pocket knife and rolled them up in the blanket to make a bed. And these men were trying to hold on to that thing while trying to navigate some very steep and treacherous ground.
 It seems that I had come to rest only about 100 yards from the river bank. But the ground was so steep that the only way they could walk was for one man to step down on one side then one on the other and the end of the gurney was handed to them so the next pair could step down. It was a very slow, tedious process.
Luckily, the river was low enough that time of year that a shallow crossing could be made just a few yards from Grandma’s house.
 By this time, the whole community was aware of the accident and somewhere, someone had brought a proper rolling, collapsible stretcher.
The next memory I have is being lifted into the back of my father’s station wagon, seeing women standing there with hankies and tears in their eyes. I watched the headliner move past me as the stretcher was rolled into place.
The next flash of memory was a few hours later in the hospital hallway with my father talking to me. But in the mean time, I was taken to an upscale clinic where I was refused admittance because my family did not have medical insurance at the time.
Next, I was taken to Welch General Hospital where no questions were asked. Instead, I was rushed to the emergency room and what clothing still remained on my body was cut away and I was prepared for surgery.
Back in the hallway I remember my father asking me with tears in his eyes, “David, if you die here tonight, are you prepared to go to heaven?”
“Yes, of course, I am, Dad.” Church was a very big part of our lives and I had given my heart to God at an early age.
 I remember thinking, “What an odd question to ask.” I obviously had no clue just how dire a situation I was in and just assumed that I was going to be fine.
The next flash I remember was a big, round, pale green light above my body. There were people wearing masks and someone was trying to force some kind of thing over my face. I could smell the noxious gas coming from it as they were telling me to relax and breathe deeply.
“Screw that! Get that thing away from me!”
They told me it took 6 men to hold me down until the ether took it’s effect. ( I love that part of the story!)

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