“Grandpa, grandpa; are you hurt; do you want me to call an ambulance?” Those were the first words I heard, from thirteen-year-old grandson Benjamin, after I slipped and fell ten feet from the platform of our deer stand — at 05:30 that morning. Frankly, I didn’t have any thought that I was hurt, and told Benjamin to give me a minute to sort things out. Having fallen a few times in my 68 years, there was no reason to think this was any different; I would just get up and carry on.
But it took only a few seconds to realize that this time was different. I sat up, but the left leg wouldn’t move; no deer hunting this morning! Thinking I could pull myself into the pickup, I sent Benjamin to fetch it. He was only 13, but teaching grandsons to drive when they are a little underage is something that grandpa’s do. As he hurried away in the dark, I continued to try to get up or crawl – no luck. Clearly I wasn’t going to be able to get into my pickup, and would need some help!
Daughter Sara, son Russell and their families were staying at our cabin four miles away. I called Sara, told her about the fall and asked that she send her husband Nick and Russell, thinking they could help me into the truck. In 10 or 12 minutes they joined Benjamin and I; but it became immediately clear that my leg wouldn’t tolerate any movement -- so they called an ambulance and set about to keep me warm. Then, son Russell called Brenda; she was already on the way up, for an early breakfast at the cabin — and joined us shortly.
The ambulance was in Fayette, only nine miles away and arrived about sunrise. They assessed the injury, cut away part of my pant leg and gave me a shot of painkiller. Pulling me onto the stretcher was the only painful part of the ordeal, and it was only a couple of seconds.
My left femur was broken; the surgery team put a 47 caliber by 15” rod inside the bone and secured it in place with a couple of screws on each end. The next day, they rebuilt my left eye socket, as the left side of my head had made contact with the bottom stringer of the stand, when I fell.