Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"We're Not Lumberjacks..."

2011 August 14

The first clue that we are not lumberjacks, should have been the fact that we do not own a chainsaw. We do, however, own a reciprocating saw which we use like it's a chainsaw!

Raymond was determined to remove a large branch from the maple tree which grows next to the spot where we park our RV. He had already removed an offending portion of the branch when it proved to be too close to the ladder on the RV. Now, he was simply making sure no part of this tree limb ever came in contact with our home on wheels again.

I had just driven us home from our first weekend camping in the RV and went in the house to have an iced tea and a little rest while Raymond plied his skills as a tree limb amputater. Raymond assured me that it would take him "about 30 minutes" to trim off what he felt was necessary. After about an hour, I thought I should see if I could help in any way.

The offending branch was very long and very thick. I took a turn at trimming some of the lesser branches, so Raymond could take a little break. This was a much bigger job than either of us anticipated. But, we kept at it. Little by little, we were piling up a whole lot of maple tree in our yard and there was still a lot to go!

Eventually, we had managed to trim away many of the smaller branches and were left staring up at the main branch which needed to come down, according to my dear husband. The problem was that the branch was very tall and very thick. The branch was going to be taken down in increments, because otherwise it would simply be too heavy. We put all of our skills to use and attempted to predict which way the top portion of the branch would fall. Then Raymond took his turn climbing the ladder, but he wasn't happy with its placement, so he came down, repositioned it and scaled it again. It was a humid day and we were hot and sticky. In spite of that we were trying to hold on to all the good feelings we had from our successes during our first weekend away in the RV.

Raymond was concerned that the branch might fall onto our fence, while I was certain it would fall onto the cement area where our garage used to be. We were both wrong!

Raymond was standing on the eight foot ladder, about five feet off the ground. I was attempting to hold the ladder steady, directly behind him, but on the ground. When the branch fell, it came straight down, just to the left of Raymond. It grazed his arm and then continued downward until it hit the support brace on the side of the ladder. It was so heavy, that it broke the support brace. As the support broke, the ladder toppled to the right, causing Raymond to drop in the opposite direction. It all happened so fast. Suddenly, the ladder was laying on it's side off to my right and my husband was laying on his side off to my left. As I began to step toward Raymond, something told me to look where I was stepping. It was that still, small voice that kept me from walking directly onto the saw blade. Raymond had locked it in the "on" position and it was still going! My first thought as I reached out to Raymond was that he had dislocated his left shoulder this time, because it looked like he had landed on his shoulder. But, he said that the pain he was experiencing was in his left leg. Let me just say that Raymond is usually very accurate in self-diagnosing injuries. Probably all the years he spent playing various sports and having all sorts of sports related injuries have given him a pretty good basis for recognizing what part of him is hurt and how badly. This time, as he tried to stand, he said, "I ruptured my Achilles tendon."

We took a trip to the ER, where I left him, while I went to see if any of my brothers could help me finish the task Raymond and I had started. This was the only way I could get Raymond to go to the ER. He wanted to finish removing the tree limbs from the parking pad, so that we could pull the RV into the yard. He was concerned that if we left the RV in the parking lot, someone might vandalize it. I promised him, that while he was at the ER, my brothers and I would clean up the tree cuttings and pull the RV into the yard. And when that was accomplished, I would come back to the hospital to get him.

Thank goodness for Vinny and Davey. They came over, got blistered hands, sweaty bodies and sore muscles, but that branch surrendered! We got the part that Raymond had cut cleared away and then finished cutting the remainder of it. Then, with them guiding me, the RV got backed into the yard without any new damage!

I dropped my brothers off at their house and headed back to St Margaret's ER to check on Raymond's status. He was in an exam room, waiting for the CRNP to return. He was accurate in his diagnosis, the ER doc confirmed that he did indeed have a ruptured Achilles tendon. He came home with a hard boot/cast on his left foot and leg, crutches, a prescription for pain killers and instructions to call the orthopedic group in the morning and to keep his left leg non-weight bearing. The CRNP suggested that he shouldn't climb stairs and should stay in bed, with his leg elevated, except for bathroom trips until he could see the orthopedic doctor. Yeah, right!

I love my husband, but he is not a compliant patient. Thank goodness he only had to wait until Tuesday morning to see the doctor.

In spite of the fact that it is a ruptured tendon, the doctor and Raymond have decided to go with the more conservative treatment. No surgery. Raymond is wearing a lovely black boot with an slightly elevated heel and major support from his toes to his knee. He will be wearing it for at least four to six weeks, possibly longer. The good news is that he is permitted to weight bear slightly, as long as the device is properly in place and he is getting better using his crutches.

And the lesson learned? We are NOT lumberjacks!


  1. omg! Poor Raymond! What is it about men and ladders that always ends catastrophically?

  2. I know, right? R's 2 for 2. And he is so NOT a compliant patient; he makes up his own rules as he goes along.