Guest Post Four- All Things Phil

July 20, 2008 at 3:44 pm | Posted in 20 Something Bloggers, Blogosphere | 6 Comments
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Ed. Note: Continuing in the spirit of accident themed guest posts, as well as an attempt to pump some testosterone into my blog without allowing Hubby to give away all of my “Tipp” secrets and exposing all of my flaws (oh yes, he would!), I give to you Phil from All Things Phil. He is a fellow 20sb, who I became acquainted with a few months ago! It has been great getting to know him and you should too, pop over and say hello and a big thanks for the help in my absence. I will be back tomorrow to relay to you all or, eh, most of what has been going on in my life. Oh, the suspense, you can cut it with a knife. (sarcasm). Miss you all!

It seems our Tipp had a minor accident this week and injured her hand. Having done the same thing myself in the not-so-distant past, I (perhaps inappropriately) volunteered to write a guest post about a certain misfortune that befell a certain digit belonging to an extremity of my own. Needless to say, I was delighted when Tipp expressed curiosity and, dare I say, excitement at the prospect of this guest post. So here we are.

It’s the summer of 2006. I’m working at summer camp for my third summer. Three summers of escape to the wonderful state of Minnesota to surround myself in the outdoors. The woods, the lake, the cabins, and of course, the campers. It’s speech camp, which means that in addition to regular camp stuff, all the kids receive speech services during their stay. Having never once attended residential camp myself growing up, I’m understandably proud that I had become a successful camp counselor. Better still, I discovered I loved it.

It’s July, and I’m working as a “Speechie” this summer. With Bachelor’s degree now in hand, I’m able to provide speech therapy services. Perks include nights off every night and weekends to myself. On this weekend in July, my services as a veteran counselor are requested for an offsite camping trip fifty miles away, on an island in the center of a rather enormous glacially-formed lake.

It’s Saturday. The two-night camp-out has one night left. With the exception of a slight lapse of good judgment on my part, in which I steer the pontoon boat right over a sandbar and nearly break the Honda engine, everything is a great success.

It’s mid-day. There’s a nice public beach I remember, and we head there to spend the morning and then enjoy a picnic lunch. Lunch has been eaten, and after waiting for fifteen minutes, everyone heads back to the water. Everyone except for one girl, who decides she wants to play on the swing set. Never one to leave a single camper out of the care of any staff, I decide to join her.

She’s sweet, this girl. Lonely. Grateful to have a companion join her on the swings. I love swings. The “staff” label is a poor cover for the fact that inside, I’m just a big kid. I climb onto the swing beside her, and start moving back and forth. Public beaches have the best toys in the world. In this case, a swing set big enough for a 6’1″ kid to play on.

The swing set gives in playfully. It taunts me to swing more. Freedom. The only way in the world to feel the rush of wind through my hair, resounding in my ears. The girl’s voice reminds me where I am. “I bet I can swing higher than you!” Thoughts of freedom evaporate. A competitive streak takes over. No camper in the world can swing higher than me, and I’m going to prove it to her.

A simple bend at the knees, followed by extension. Bend. Extend. Bend. Extend. Bend. Extend. Higher. Higher. Bend. Extend. Whoosh. Whoosh. Extend. Bend. Reaching a point of near weightlessness, followed by a G force that tells me walking on the ground is boring by comparison. Eyes want to close, to allow pure feeling take over and envelope my being completely. Bend. Extend. I hear the sound of my own voice. “I’m swinging higher than you!

Bend. Extend. At the end of possibly my highest extension yet, my knees instinctively move to bend. Except this time, they don’t. My body moves backward with the rhythm of the swing. There’s no give this time. No time to think. No time to get my bearings. Whoosh. Not the sound of air. Eyes closed. Contact. Coughing. Dust. Sand.

Eyes open. Blink several times. Tear. Focus. Looking upward at the tree-lined sky. No swing set. Lift my head. Hear my name shouted by several voices. “Phil!” “Phil!” Catching my breath. “Phil!” Unable, for the moment, to speak. Lying still. Unable to move.

Dazed. My back aches. I lift myself up, try to stand. Aside from knocking the wind out of myself and being in shock, the only injury I sustain is in the form of a slight amount of blood oozing from my left middle finger. I notice the swing. The leather seat torn in two, each side swaying slightly, nearly at rest.

Replaying the event in my head. Trying to figure out what happened. The seat snapped in two with me still on it. I made contact with the ground, back first, and skidded a solid six feet backward in the less than forgiving sand. After a few minutes’ time, I got up and walked away.

My left middle finger throbs in pain. Within an hour, it changes color. A plum that’s about two weeks from being ripe. The lifeguard wraps it in tape, using my ring finger as support. By the end of the day, my middle finger is twice its normal size. The pain remains intense. The more time passes, the more I seem to feel numb to it.

The next day. Sunday. Thrilled to be returning to camp. Packing up and loading the pontoon. Setting off for the first of two trips to prepare for the drive back. My finger has turned a variety of colors, but is still attached. I’m able to drive the pontoon, the motor roaring behind me as I guide it with the single handle. It cuts out suddenly. Trying to restart it is useless. Pull it out of the water. Fishing line. No knife on hand to cut it loose. Rescued by a local guy who happened to witness our plight. He expresses concern over my colorful bird.

It’s Tuesday. I at last convince my director to let me get x-rays. I’m at the hospital emergency room. My hand is under the machine. The physician’s assistant returns. He explains that I just barely managed to not break any bones. Rather, the topmost knuckle’s tendons are torn. All of them, and significantly.

A five-inch splint is fitted to my finger. Gauze holds it in place. I’m not to move my finger for at least three weeks. The PA discerns that I’m very active, and use my hands a great deal. He asks about this, and I point out that, among other things, I interact regularly with deaf and hard of hearing people. He tosses a sling around my neck, fits my arm in it, and warns me not to remove it lest I cause myself any more harm.

The word ‘improbable’ comes to mind. People ask if I tried to catch myself as I fell, if I held out my arms and tried to break my fall. I reply that I never even knew I fell until after it was over, and in all likelihood, had I tried to stop myself, I would have broken a lot more than just my finger.

It’s July 2008. Two years have passed, almost to the day. I remain unsure exactly how I managed to walk away from my swing accident with nothing more than a broken finger. The nearest I can guess is it got caught in the chain somewhere along the way. But that remains a guess, because honestly, I have no clue.



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  1. ouch! I think you’ve just given me a phobia of swings.

  2. I haven’t been able to swing like that since my little accident, but I don’t mind sitting on them and swinging lightly. Fortunately, too, I healed up just fine and am in good working order once again.

  3. I always get worried when i’m out with the kids on the playground… OUCH!!

  4. I pinched the ever-loving crap, yes Mom I said crap on my blog, out of one of my fingers doing this very thing when I was little. It didn’t keep me from swinging though, it is still one of my favorite things to do!!

    Thanks Phil-man! You’re the best!

  5. Ouch! That’s not good, at all, but at least you were able to get x-rays on it. It would have been A LOT wores if you didn’t.

    And I’m with you on the camp thing — I loved it so much simply because I’m a big kid!

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