Lawn mowing accidents usually have horrific consequences, but once in a while the victim walks away with an injury which is fixable. I never thought I would have such an accident as I had learned how to safely mow and make it a habit to thoroughly inspect my yard before I even start the mower.
I got up on the morning of June 12, about seven which is usual for me. I spent some time on my computer and as the clock's hands reached eight I ventured outside to check the yard I have. It’s only a quarter of an acre with my house in the middle so it does not take long to check. As I am completing that task, I notice the gray clouds rolling in. Mowing wet grass is an accident waiting to happen, so I headed inside to wait out the storm.
I was a more than a bit disappointed as I needed to get the lawn done early, so I could shower and get on with the rest of my day. At 2 this afternoon was my youngest son's baccalaureate program at school, and I wanted to be there for him. My mom had been invited to accompany me in the place of my ex-husband who had deserted our family eleven years ago. I was also trying to make sure the lawn looked nice for the photos that I knew would be taken.
By noon the gray clouds, which produced no rain, had parted, so I went back outside to finish what I had started earlier. We had some bamboo plants that were overtaking the beautiful rose bush out front, so I cut them down, and my son Timmy hauled them away while I got started with the lawn mower.
I had been mowing for about fifteen minutes and had almost gotten the lawn between our sidewalk and curb done. Living on a corner we have two of these sections to do and they do take some time, however I was almost done with the second part when my accident occurred.
We can receive a fine in this small town if grass clippings are shot into the road, as it clogs the grates on the storm drains. So I was pulling the lawn mower and walking backwards so the grass would fly onto my sidewalk and yard, rather than the road. I felt a sting in my right calf so I looked down expecting to have been bitten by a sweat bee which had gotten me a few times already. To my surprise I seen blood, and it was a good amount. I figured I would walk into the house and grab a bandaid, before continuing to mow the lawn.
I was only 20 feet or so from my house, but I had taken a few steps and my clog felt as if it would slide off. I thought the strap had broken. I looked down and saw blood coming out of the little holes on top of my shoe. I quickened my pace. When I climbed my steps in the back door, I glanced behind me and saw a red trail. My shoe was very slippery by this time but I continued walking, as I needed help badly and I knew help lay inside.
After opening my back door, I called out to my boyfriend Jay and I asked if he “freaked at the sight of blood." He said, “No,” and asked, “Why?” I showed him my leg and he promptly sat me down in a chair.
Sitting down felt good, but when I looked at the path where I walked on my kitchen floor I sawbloody foot prints. My stomach began to turn, and then my head began to swim. There was so much blood it was unreal.
Jay had told Timmy (my 19-year-old son) to grab a bath towel from the bathroom cabinet. Timmy was gone less than a minute but when I glanced down as the towel was being wrapped I saw a pool of blood gathered at my foot. To say it was the size of a dinner plate was not an exaggeration. The sight of so much blood made my stomach turn and scared me.
Jay called 911. My son called his siblings and my mom. My parents always had the scanner on, and the last thing I wanted was for my mother to hear that an ambulance was needed at my house for a lawn mower accident.
I heard the backdoor open and a man’s announcement, “Athens Borough Police.” A sigh of relief escaped my lips because the man was Officer Cahill, someone I’ve known for a few years. The local police always show up for all emergency calls in my small town, always ahead of the ambulance.
Officer Cahill surveyed the situation without removing the towel and went to his squad car to get medical supplies. When he returned, he put on gloves and removed my towel. The back of my calf and my entire right foot was red. He began wrapping it tightly; knowing pressure would help control the bleeding
Vomit rose to my mouth, but I swallowed it while calming myself.
Timmy went outside and returned quickly with a bloody tin can lid, about 2 inches in diameter; what had caused the injury to my leg. I was certain the lid must have been carried by the winds of late spring into my yard. Living on a corner lot, that often happens.
While Officer Cahill continued to wrap my leg, the ambulance arrived. A male and female EMT walked into my house, carrying a variety of medical supplies. The female identified herself as Jessica. My mom came in shortly after.
The third member of the ambulance crew entered my house, and I recognize him to be my neighbor, Mark. I told him I had forgotten he was an EMT, otherwise I would have run over to his home for help. He explained he had been on duty at the ambulance garage when the call came in. I remember thinking it was nice having him there, as that meant I knew most of the people in my house on a personal basis. That brought a great deal of comfort to me.
Officer Cahill finished wrapping my leg, and told my son to wash my foot. I asked, timidly, how big the gash was.
“About 4 inches,” the policeman told me. “You’re going to need stitches.”
“Do you think you can walk to the stretcher?” Jessica asked.
Someone, I am not sure who, asked if I wanted to go by ambulance or catch a cheaper ride in a private vehicle. I do remember saying, “Well, I don’t want to bleed to death!”
I was quickly assured I would not bleed to death. The can lid didn’t appear to have sliced open the main vein in my leg. Blood was not spurting. The amount of flowing blood was likely a consequence of my daily aspirin intake prescribed after I had I experienced three heart attacks back in October of 2009. The aspirin thinned my blood, no doubt the cause of how rapidly the blood escaped from my calf.
Before I could wear my shoes, both had to be washed. The right was covered with blood inside and out, so much in fact that no pink showed through. My left shoe was mostly pink, but some splotches of congealed blood stained it.
The ambulance left empty. Jay and I climbed in the truck with my mother. Mom informed me the other man who came in with the EMTs was the county coroner! Apparently, the coroner was also on the ambulance crew and a member of the local volunteer fire company. Learning the coroner had been at my house kind of made me chuckle, but I was so thankful he was not there in his official role.
Mom dropped us off at the emergency room and went to take Timmy to his baccalaureate program. I signed in and went to the triage area, where I told them about my heart history and that the ambulance crew said I needed stitches. I was taken right back to a room, where they cleaned the wound and stitched it up. The gash was quite deep and four and a half inches long. Seven stitches closed it up, and after a tetanus shot, I was released. I had missed one part of my son's graduation, but, three days later, I limped to his high school two blocks away and watched him accept his diploma.
I know I had someone watching over me that day from above to make sure I was not seriously injured. Perhaps it was my dad. In my mind, I’ll imagine a greeting card with a drawing of me beside my mower, screaming, “Ouch!” Then I’ll mentally send it to Dad in thanks; ‘Happy Father’s Day’ written inside.