Gray W.

On September 5, 2013, at approximately 11:35 AM, I was inside the house reading essays that students wrote for one of the classes. To give myself a short break, I went outside to the back of the single bay garage next to the house. I was going to trim a limb on a very tall pine tree. I secured a pruning saw, not powered by gas or electricity, and climbed the tree. No ladder or other equipment was used by me. The tree was somewhat slippery and wet, as it had rained during the night. I began to saw the limb. As the limb fell to the ground, I lost my grip and fell after it.

During the fall, I used my left arm to grab a lower limb, but the limb slipped from my grasp and I landed on my back. I had ripped all the tendons out of my left arm. The owner of the house had gone out a half hour before this occurred. The day was sunny and pleasant, but the neighbors were not available to help. I tried to catch my breath and eventually I could breathe somewhat normally. However, when I made an attempt to move, the pain was agonizing. I knew I had injured myself very badly.

An intense tingling sensation ran up through my legs and into my arms and hands. I had the sense that everything around me was fading away. It was as though the grass, the back of the garage, the rocks, and the trees were becoming transparent. At the same time, a very intense shaft of light shone around me and seemed to come from the sky, which was very clear and very blue. The light shone on my face and my body. The heat was intense, but not unpleasant. I had the sense that my body was fading, as my surroundings had faded a few minutes earlier. I suspected I was dying.

I felt intense disappointment and surprise. I did not expect to die at the age of 59, especially as I was in very good health. I was always very athletic and at the time of the accident I was fit and trim. I had no concept of time, and I had a sensation of sinking into the ground and disappearing. I felt disappointment and resignation. The fear and hysteria I felt in the first minute or two after I fell had entirely dissipated. Meanwhile, the entire time I was in intense pain. I began to feel chilled, and then very cold. The light was still on me but it was not a warm light at all.

Then I heard a car pull into the driveway and I called for help several times, albeit very weak cries of help. The owner of the house came around to the back of the garage and saw me, and knew instantly that I was in bad shape. I told him he should call an ambulance and he did so. He brought out a pillow for my head. But when he tried to put the pillow under my head, I screamed in pain, so he stopped. The EMS (Emergency Medical Staff) arrived after a time. They followed protocol for back injuries and moved me from one side to the next, to check for protruding bones. I screamed as the pain was extraordinarily intense, like nothing I had ever experienced. When it was clear the EMS staff could not place me on a board, they called for a paramedic to come to the house, to administer a shot for the pain. About a half hour later, the paramedic arrived and administered an injection, and soon I was loaded onto a plastic backboard and strapped down. The backboard snapped in half, and another backboard was secured, the procedure followed again, and eventually I was loaded into the awaiting ambulance.

During this time I was completely conscious, but I had kept my eyes closed. At the time I was carried on the backboard to the ambulance, I very much remember looking down, as though I was hovering above the scene. I was not high up, perhaps just a few feet above the place and the people and the vehicles. During the ride in the ambulance, I ‘flat lined’ but I revived, and then I arrived at the hospital.

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