Friday, May 4, 2007

Sparky and the Holey Foot

My son-in-law works for a company that installs GPS guidance systems in tractors and combines. It is very interesting technology in that it utilizes soil maps and software to guide the tractor so that precision adjustments can be made automatically to seed and fertilizer application rates, tractor speed, plow depth, etc., based on the location in the field. It is a tool for maximizing performance. Ultimately, it could replace the need for a driver.

Today, while installing a positioning tower for one of their guidance systems, he tried to electrocute himself. God must have been watching over him. The tower that he was erecting came close enough to a high-powered electrical transmission line that the electricity arced to the tower he was holding, ran through him and discharged out his foot and into the ground. Most accidents of this nature result in death. It is very similar to being struck by lightening.

We received the call around noon from my daughter who was in route to the hospital where he was being transported by ambulance. She of course was distraught although at the time she called, they thought he was probably OK. We immediately headed toward the hospital which is about 100 miles away.

His accident caused quite a stir, both at the hospital, and at the college campus where both he and my daughter are seniors. Apparently everyone in the hospital knew about his accident. They seemed amazed that the only damage that he suffered was a burn on the inside of one of his feet where the electricity discharged out his foot, through his boot, to the ground. The burned area was about the size of a penny and completely cauterized. It appeared as though a scab had formed over a wound that was many days old. The boot had a tiny hole in it where the spark exited.

At the college campus though, the rumors were still running rampant when we arrived at the hospital. Cell phones rang almost continuously for over an hour from professors and friends checking on our daughter (who is 7+ months pregnant) and son-in-law. The story on campus was that it had blown his foot off completely. Fortunately, they sent a campus-wide e-mail to hopefully dispel the rumor before it grew any more exaggerated.

While in the emergency room, the staff cut all of his clothes off of him, which is standard procedure where burn victims are involved, although totally unnecessary in this case. Fortunately, my daughter was able to reach us when we were near their home so that we could bring him clothes for tomorrow when he is expected to be discharged. When we arrived at the hospital he was lying under a sheet with the various tubes and wires connected to him for monitoring his heart, etc., and handling bodily discharges.

When we knew that all was well and there appeared to be no adverse effects beyond the "holey" foot, we took our daughter to get something to eat. Upon our return, we found him in a hospital gown. A nurse that we had not seen before stuck her head in to see our son-in-law and said, "I just had to come look. All the nurses are talking about how good looking he is and I had to see for myself. It took six of them to get the gown on him!"

He was fortunate. There were many prayers offered on his behalf. That is one of the advantages of attending a small Christian College. I'll be interested to know what nickname he will receive out of this episode. Sparky comes to my mind.


MotherPie said...

Sounds like luck was looking out for him. What a scary thing, but what a great story to tell.

After your week where it rains and pours (happens here, too -- I learned to say "get an umbrella and wear galoshes"), you needed to feel a bit of grace, huh?

Or was it just "one more thing"?

Panhandle Poet said...

It was a wonderful reminder that God is in control!

CDO said...

Good to hear that he is OK.

Quite a scare sounds like!

Incognito said...

Amen to that, Panhandle. God is in control of everything. Glad to hear your son-in-law came out relatively unscathed. Obviously not his time, thankfully!