I broke my plow

Helmet

I broke my plow . . .

I remember hearing a snap and watching the plow blade on my Polaris ATV crash down.  The next thing I remember is my wife asking me what Eli’s middle name was.

We got a metric butt-load of snow here in Fairbanks this past week.  It was coming down so hard that I was plowing every several hours.  When we got home last Saturday night there was enough to plow and it was snowing hard enough that I didn’t think it was smart to wait for morning.  I started moving our cars around to get my ATV out of the garage.  I saw my helmet sitting the dog kennel.  I thought for a second then put it on.  That one move might have saved my life.

It took me about 45 minutes to clear the driveway and the parking area at the top of the drive.  I finished clearing an area in front of the garage and decided to try to clean up the road in front of our house.  I wanted to make sure that I didn’t leave any of our snow in a road that was already getting clogged.

I started down the steep hill that our driveway is on with my plow up.  The plow is held up by the cable on my ATV’s winch.  You operate the winch to raise and lower the blade.  At least that is how it normally works.  I took off down the hill much, much faster than the speed I use when I plow.  I was going about 15 miles per hour.  That’s when the hook on the end of the cable snapped off and the blade dropped suddenly.

Apparently a lot happened between flying over the handlebars of my ATV and getting the name  pop quiz from my wife.  I have no memory of removing the broken plow from my ATV or carrying it up the driveway to the garage.  This is remarkable because I can’t really carry the plow.  There is some evidence that I might have gone up and gotten my truck and put the plow in the back . . . that is frightening and I don’t really want to think about that.

After I placed our cars in their proper spaces I went upstairs and gave my wife the hook off of my winch cable.  I told her that I broke my plow.  I was soaking wet and told her that I woke up in the snow and my head hurt.  It didn’t take any further conversation for her to put me in the car and take me to the emergency room.

Concussed Curt was impressively tidy.  Besides properly parking the cars, he put the ATV away and placed the plow neatly behind it.  It seems that I got tired of the burned out lights in the garage and changed them.  When my wife asked me how I managed to change the bulbs I told her very matter-of-factly that “I reached them.”  After a few prompts I told her that I stood on a cooler to reach them.  I don’t remember asking Eli to bring me light bulbs,  the cooler-standing or our conversation.

On the way to the hospital I failed a pop quiz on my children’s middle names.  I also, apparently, assigned my grandson Carter status as my child.  When asked who my children were I said “Parker, Charlie, Eli and Carter.”  Well first it seems that I told my wife I broke my plow.  Then I gave her the four names.  I kind of remember the question about Eli’s middle name.  I remember not understanding what a middle name is.

My memory starts to fill in after I got to my treatment room in the ER.   On my way several people asked me what happened.  I am told that I told them that I broke my plow.  That seems to be the only way I could describe my experience.  I remember a parade of people that wanted to ask me questions.  I can barely remember the long list of medicines I take even when I haven’t been thrown to the ground on my head, so remembering the brand name, clinical name and dosage of my meds when all I can say about how I ended up on the gurney is “I broke my plow” is not so much doable.

It seemed everyone had a set of questions for me.  Even my wife kept asking questions.  Middle names, how many kids, what day is it, why do you do stupid shit like this during a freaking blizzard late at night?  I don’t blame her . . . she has to know what she has to work with.  The lady from admissions with insurance questions took one look at me, let me tell her about breaking my plow and said, “That’s too bad, dear, but I am going to talk to your wife for a little while.”  She understood.

For those of you who have never had a concussion, it is kind of like that feeling you get when you wake up quickly and you are still really groggy.  You aren’t sure where you are and you can’t put thoughts together.  It wasn’t that I didn’t know the answers to some questions; it is more like I didn’t understand the question.  I knew the meaning of the words but I couldn’t draw any context or relevance from them.  On top of all that, with a concussion, you have a killer headache.  If you you know me personally, then you know I have a really big head so a bad headache for me is kind of an all-encompassing thing.

In the week and a half since the accident I still have headaches and my back and neck are still sore.  I don’t shake things off like I used to.  I feel lucky in comparison to some people that we are close to.  Friends of our family have had post concussive systems for weeks or even months.  It is a process

After x-rays and a CT scan the doctors decided that besides a nasty concussion and some bumps and bruises, I would fine.  I didn’t feel fine.  Whatever fine is, I felt the opposite.  The doctor chatted with us for a few minutes.  Before he left he looked at me and said, “You might not be here if it wasn’t for your helmet”.  I disagreed.  I felt like I would very likely be in his hospital if I hadn’t put on my helmet.  I would just be in a different room under much different conditions.

It’s interesting how things that seem little and inconsequential turn out to be huge.  I put my helmet on.  I don’t always wear my helmet when I plow because normally I am going less than 4 or 5 miles per hour.  This time I put it on and it very likely saved my life.  The truth is that I put it on because it was snowing and I was trying to keep my hair dry.  I guess in the long run, the reason you do something smart is secondary.  I will take the result.

Did I mention that I broke my plow?

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