WARNING – if you are squeamish you may be squeamed reading this !
Life just happens sometimes – UNEXPECTEDLY – doesn’t it! In ways that leave you gasping for breath and doing 360 degree turns when you least expect it.
A good friend of ours had one – an accident – the other day. A fall in the shower left her with a fractured shoulder, a trip to hospital and an operation. It got me to thinking of other accidents that have confronted me over the years –
The first that comes to mind is one TRH (The Retired Husband) had very early in our married life. He fell off a floor joist to the ground whilst carrying a wall frame on his shoulder. Ouch!!! Crushed two discs in his lower back. Led to six months off work and a total career change. And permanent damage to his back of course.
Thereafter follows a series of other accidents. He seems to have a knack for being spectacularly dramatic with how he does things. There was the occasion he was helping our neighbour with his extension. Somehow while on a ladder, he slipped through the rungs (how he fitted will forever remain a mystery), landed on his back on top of the ladder. He was bruised from waist to back of knees. How he did not break his back remains another mystery.
On another occasion he was on a ladder (again) tearing down the old veranda roof when he slipped and fell, landing on his feet. What is it with him and ladders ?! Lots of loud clanging and banging. He dusted himself off and kept on working. A week later he was complaining of his foot not feeling right. He had ruptured his Achilles tendon. An operation and a moon boot saw him off work until the doctor said he could go back when he asked. What the doctor did not know was that the not-yet-TRH was self employed. Which meant he went to work, AND drove his manual car, wearing the moon boot !
Then there was the time he and his brother were working on our boat which was still in the backyard. It had been there a long time. It meant that the wooden steps leading up to the boat had weathered and sections had wood rot. Acknowledging that it could be hazardous and should be fixed stayed as an acknowledgement. Until the day the not-yet-TRH stepped on a rotten step, some ten feet up and fell, his head very narrowly missing the steel I beam that formed part of the boat’s cradle. I watched this play out in slow motion through my kitchen window. His brother, on the deck, looked down, saw that the not-yet-TRH had survived the fall. Without a word, he stopped what he was doing and fixed the steps.
There seems to be a pattern in TRH’s family where the men have spectacular accidents. His brother, a builder, was working on the roof of our extension. He had put on new shoes that day. The soles were not of the non-slip variety. The roof was wet. He fell off the roof his head narrowly missing some concrete rubble.
Many years prior to that the very same brother, wearing a brand new flannelette work shirt, needed to use a brand new circular saw. Being a seasoned tradie he had removed the safety guard. That was not a good thing to do. The saw grabbed a hold of his stiff new shirt sleeve and pulled his left hand into the saw. Three fingers neatly sawn off. A trip to hospital, re-attachment of the two that were still usable, and six months off work.
It seems that risk taking is an essential part of this accident-ness thing that happens with them. Or it could be that the capacity to learn from certain life events is entirely missing. To this very day the SOFO (Sawn Off Fingered One) continues to display a stunning disregard for work place safety. I tender the following as evidence –
I have a theory. They learnt the accident-ness from their father who was an exemplary role model. Either that, or it’s in the genes. They both worked with their dad who was so accident prone it became a standing joke. There are just too many stories to tell about him. Even the seasoned tradies were on high alert when he was in the gang. He survived – in one piece and is enjoying a happily retired relatively accident free life now.
I also have another theory. Imagine this. We all have at least one Guardian Angel each. The Tanska family men probably have a huge team of them specially trained to deal with high risk situations. They are on a regularly rotating roster. They have to take it in turns as the stress level of the work is so high it would become too much for one or two. Every time there is a major accident, I have been heard to say “There goes another Guardian Angel into therapy, pleading not to be sent back to those Tanska men!” I wonder what sort of Worker’s Compensation and rehabilitation systems they have for Guardian Angels who work in high stress jobs?
© Raili Tanska
Images – Pixabay and personal