Personal Injury #1of3 – Saved $300

In 1995 I was preparing to move my family from Maryland to North Carolina. The company I worked for was purchased and they wanted me in NC before February 1996. I had a lot of work to do including getting rid of all of the junk and stuff out of the garage and basement that we did not want to take with us to our new home.

I had two choices for this one task. I could hire someone to do it for me at a cost of about $300. Or, I could haul it away myself.

I was scheduled to work in NC on the up coming Monday, so, early that Saturday morning I loaded up the back of my little red pickup truck with the scrap wood, broken yard tools, extra carpet, paint, cinder blocks and bricks.

My wife, Rebecca, asked me if I wanted her to go with me, “No babe”, I replied, “this will be an easy trip.”

I drove up to the landfill by myself.

Back in 1995 the landfills were operated by county employees and they did things way different than they do now (2010). Back then, when you drove to the landfill, they weighed your truck and then had you drive your truck out onto the actual landfill. I pulled my truck up beside a group of really big trash trucks just as they were unloading their loads. Off to the right was a big landfill bull dozer riding around packing down the trash.

I backed my truck up beside the trash trucks and hopped out of the cab. As I unlatched the tailgate the trash trucks started pulling away, they dumped their load pretty quick. I had to empty my truck the old fashion way, by hand.

I hopped up into the bed of the truck and started pulling out the trash and throwing it onto the landfill.

Here is where the problems began.

I grabbed one piece of wood and started yanking on it. It seemed stuck on some of the other junk. I yanked it up and down and when it finally came loose, it flew up out of my hands and smacked me right in the face. Hard enough to Knock Me OUT.

I passed out and fell down in the bed of the truck.

When I came to, likely after only 15-20 seconds, I sat on the edge of the truck bed feeling really bad. I knew something was not right about my face, but I was not sure what.

The bulldozer guy kept doing his thing, apparently unaware of what was going on.

I felt something warm on my face and looking down on my shirt, I discovered my white T-Shirt was now blood red. I could feel more warm blood running down my face.

Within a few more moments I started feeling the pain and swelling around my nose. My initial self diagnoses – I must have broken my nose.

I shook off the pain, like a real man, and using one hand to pinch my bleeding nose, I used the free hand to pull the rest of the trash out onto the landfill.

It took a little longer to empty out the trash with one hand, but fortunately nothing was very heavy.

When I got done I jumped (maybe not really jump), into the front seat of the truck, started it up and started heading home. I had to weigh the truck on the way out and pay for the trash I unloaded. When the lady at the weigh station saw me she asked if I was OK. I assured her I was OK despite the blood that still trickled slowly out of my nose. She told me to go on without paying.

While driving home I started to really feel the throbbing in my face and nose. The bleeding had slowed down, but the white T-Shirt was very red at this point. I could feel it sticking to my chest.

The drive home was at least 20 minutes, but it felt like hours. I drove up the hill to the house and as I got out of the truck, my wife came out the front door asking, “Where have you been?” Then she saw the blood. “Oh my God, what happened to you? Did you get in a fight?”, as if this happens to me.

I told her what happened and she immediately said we need to take you to the Drs.

She loaded me and the 4 young daughters into the minivan and drove us into town.

The kids had already planned to go to different friends houses, so she dropped me off at the Drs office and then took the kids to their various places, promising she would be back soon.

I sat in the Drs office for well mover an hour before he saw me. As soon as he looked at my face he noticed a big problem. My eye was sagging down into my eye socket. He told me that this was a good indication that the orbital bone between my eye socket and nasal cavity was broken. He wanted me to go to the emergency room.

When Rebecca got back she took me to the emergency room.

By this time my face was really swollen and black and blue. It was impressive looking as far as bruises go.

After a 2 hour wait, I finally got a Doctor to get me an X-Ray. This confirmed that I had a big problem. The orbital bone was crushed and had to be replaced. The emergency room Dr scheduled me an appointment for Monday morning with a plastic surgeon who would replace the crushed bone.

I called my boss and told him what happened and that I would likely miss the next few weeks of work.

Monday morning I went to the plastic surgeon. He measured my orbital bone (thru the X-Rays) and ordered a piece of surgical plastic for surgery on Wednesday. I still wonder why we could not a piece of plastic out of a Coke or Peter-Pan bottle. That would have been real cool.

Wednesday’s surgery was quite non-climactic. I walked into the plastic surgeon’s office, he prepped me, and in less than an hour he had the crushed bone out and the replacement plastic inserted. His stitching skills were such that even today there is no indication of the surgery.

I missed two weeks of work; however I saved $300. Rebecca reminded me that I made a bad choice that time.

This has been another Teddy Burriss story. I hope you enjoyed it.

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