A Slippery Slope

You know, sometimes things just do not go the way we would like!  Certain Man has been wanting to tear down half of the older chicken house (commonly referred to as Chicken House #1) for quite some time. He has been planning this specifically for over a year, and last fall, he contracted with Warfel Contstruction to replace the roof on the half that he wanted to keep. When that was completed, he went in and removed a strip from the building that would separate the two structures so that he and his friend, Steve Parsons, could close in the end wall of the part that he was going to keep. He left the tin of the roof intact because he didn’t want it raining in until he got the end wall weather proofed. He considered tearing the old part down with a couple of church frolics and some rented dumpsters and maybe a borrowed backhoe, but he kept weighing the reality of the intensity of the work and wondering what it would cost to hire a local demolition company that he had used before. He finally called for an estimate earlier this month, and the price was considerably less than he had expected. However, his last flock of chickens was giving him grief and he was very uncertain about whether he could afford to hire the demolition crew. So when the settlement was in and there was enough to cover, he called Macklin’s to schedule. Macklin’s put it on the schedule for February 24-26th.

Well, as you know, we’ve had some bad weather and the roof was very icy.  The chicken house was ready except for removing the one strip of tin that covered the split between the two ends. “Couple of screws,” he told me, “like six or so, and it won’t take much.” No, he didn’t need any help. “Piece of cake” once the ice was off. I noticed that he was keeping an eye on that roof and would sometimes talk about how he could get up there and get it done. He wasn’t too concerned, though, because Macklin’s was still a week out, and things were supposed to warm up. He would get up there first chance he got and take care of it.

Then Friday, someone from Macklin’s stopped by in the afternoon and asked if they could start Monday- (the 21st).   Daniel said he thought that would work, he just needed to get up there and get those few screws out! And he also needed to call Dave Burkholder to get the last of his things out of the end that was being torn down. Dave was on the trigger and got everything out. Saturday evening he sent Daniel a text. “I got everything out that I want. Tell Macklin to tear it down.” So the only thing left to do was to get those few screws out and it would be ready to roll. But Saturday, whenever CM checked it, there was still enough ice on the roof to concern him. He kept thinking that he could put an extension ladder on the loader of his bucket and anchor it really good and crawl out over and do those screws, but he decided to wait and see what the morning would bring. 

Sunday morning dawned so sunny and clear and by the time we got home from church, most of the ice was melted. After lunch he announced he was going to go out there and take those screws out. I was a little concerned and said as gently as I could, “Sweetheart, it IS Sunday, and we really shouldn’t think we need to work on Sunday–”

I was obviously not weighing all and considerations, and he was sure that he needed to do those screws because “Macklin’s might want to start first thing in the morning!”  So out he went. I asked if there was anything that I could do, but he said that there was not, so I was happily ensconced on my favorite chair reading the Sunday school papers.

About a half an hour later, I heard him come in and thought “That didn’t take very long!” I looked across the family room and kitchen to the utility and saw that he was removing his work parka. He placed it carefully over the hamper in the laundry room, then walked soundlessly across the kitchen to the living room, and I noticed that he was limping. He came over to the middle of the living room, and stood there quietly.

“Could you get me some dry clothes?” He asked. Surprised, I looked more closely. He was soaking wet, muddy, and looking rather pitiful, his face pulled tight with pain.

“Daniel!  Whatever happened???”  

“I need some dry clothes,” he said, a bit querulously.”

“Did you fall???” I asked, more than a little alarmed, and struggling to unload the papers on my lap..

“Yes, I fell.” He said, obviously disliking the admission.

“Off the chicken house roof???!!!” I almost wailed.

He looked at me like I had taken leave of my senses.  “Of course off the chicken house roof.  I need some dry clothes!

Yes, yes! Of course! And I scrambled upstairs to find him something warm and dry. I came back downstairs to help him change, and tried to determine if he was bleeding, bruised or injured in any way, but he just kept saying, “I’m fine!  I landed hard on my tail bone and that really hurts, but I’m fine!”  

“But what happened?” I asked, trying to figure out how this man who is exceptionally careful in places that are slick, fell off the chicken house roof! It just didn’t make sense.

As he explained it to me, the side of the roof towards the morning sun was clear, but alas! The other side was not. After he had crossed the peak to the other side, he noticed that there was quite a bit of ice still on that side. “This isn’t going to do,” he said. I’m going to need to go get the tractor and loader and a ladder and come up from the bottom.” As he was turning back to go back over the peak to the other side, his foot hit something really slick – a patch of ice or just an extra slippery wet spot and down he went, sitting on that tin roof and sliding down with no way to catch himself!  He must have had some momentum by the time he reached the bottom because he overshot the ice and cement at the bottom and landed in a mud puddle about six feet out. People have since asked him, “What did you think on the way down?” His answer? “There wasn’t time to think. One minute I was standing on the roof, and the next thing I knew, I was flat on my back in the mud!”

We got him cleaned up and into some warm clothes, and I began to think. “What if there is a fracture of some kind?? What if he should jar it somehow and sever his spinal cord?” My worries became anxious words, and I began to urge him to seek medical attention. That was NOT a happening thing. No, siree!!! So I decided to invite his two oldest offspringin’s into the muddle. He was on his chair, obviously uncomfortable, but able to hear, so I texted them. Christina and Jesse were on their way home from Ohio, and Christina didn’t get the text. However, Deborah was right on it.

“WHY was he on the chicken house roof?!?!?”

I explained what was happening and she was over to check on him in short order. He answered her questions, but he was mostly worried about finishing up taking the screws out of the rest of the tin. It turned out there were a lot more than just six screws holding things down and with the possibility of Macklin’s coming the next day, he really wanted to go out and finish them. He was pretty sure he could do it if he had some help. Deborah, always better at talking him into something than I am, talked him into letting her go out with him to finish the screws, then she came back in the house to try to talk him into getting it checked out. He was having none of it!  “I’m not going into that ER to sit for hours and hours!  There’s nothing wrong, and even if I broke my tailbone, there’s nothing they can do!”  

About then, Christina got her text message and was on the phone, joining the fray, It almost looked like it was a loosing battle, but neither daughter was giving up. After this had gone on for a while, I told Christina (in CM’s hearing) “The best way to get Daniel Yutzy to do something is to tell he can’t!”  Whereupon she yelled (on speaker phone,) “Daddy, don’t you DARE go get that checked out!”  That made him laugh, and between that and Deborah’s professional opinion, they convinced him to go. Jessr had checked on the ER and discovered that there was zero wait time at the ER, so we headed for Bayhealth, Sussex campus around 5 o’clock. I couldn’t go in, of course, but I waited in the parking lot, hoping he would be out soon. Of course, even though he was back to the treatment area almost immediately, he was back there for a long time.  He texted me regularly, telling me what they were doing, and then said that they were waiting for the doctor.

After almost two hours he texted, “Waiting on someone to read the X-ray of the spine. Nothing wrong with the pelvis and they also checked my head for a concussion, and nothing was wrong.”

“Oh, boy!” I thought. “He’s been here two hours and is telling me that there is nothing wrong???” I began to get worried. He raised such a fuss about going in the first place and now kept saying that he was “waiting on the doctor.” I figured that he was back there getting more and more impatient and that there was probably nothing wrong and that he was going to be insufferable when he came out etc., etc., etc..  So I sent him this text, hoping to amuse him – “Could they scan your ‘stubborn streak while they are there? And maybe send you home with some medication that will make you bearable if you were right and we were wrong???”

That did not amuse him.

Finally at almost nine o’clock, he said he was on his way out. I drove the minivan around to the entrance and he came out and gingerly climbed in. He was very subdued, had a sheath of papers and a prescription to pick up.  He talked about all of these things before I finally said, “But what was the diagnosis???”

The man has two fractured vertebrae!!! (Lumbar #1 and Thoracic #12) They aren’t bad enough for surgery or even a brace, but they do want him to consult with an orthopedist. The doctor said he should take it a little easy, but that it’s not serious enough to even say “no heavy lifting.” The fact that it’s more comfortable for him to walk than to sit, is supposedly a good sign.  CM did ask about his chores and such and the doctor said he could keep on with his usual schedule. However if he notices worsening symptoms to get in there NOW! (Yesterday, reading over the instructions from the ER, I noticed that the instructions DID include “no heavy lifting,” but CM says that they told him otherwise).

There are many things for which to be grateful. CM was able to get up on his own accord and motor into the house. Any of a number of things could have happened to make this turn out so differently. We are not minimizing the seriousness of this. It’s impact will likely give him some pain for some time. Hopefully the intensity of it will subside in a few days or weeks, but there is the possibility for it to be an ongoing issue. But he can walk. He is able to do some of his work. He has good help, and he has the prayers of people who love him.

For this and so much more, my heart gives grateful praise.

1 Comment

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One response to “A Slippery Slope

  1. Louise

    oh my. Well that fall will probably work better than nagging.

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