Saturday, August 18, 2012

Animated suspension

When I was traveling extensively for business I had a technique that let me deal with the hours of tedium associated with air travel. By intentionally not thinking about the trip, the airport hassles, the hours trapped in a metal tube 6 miles above the earth, by effectively putting my mind in neutral I was able to withstand the long transit times to Europe, Australia, or the Far East (30 hours plus in some cases) with relative ease and calm. So while I was physically moving through space and time, mentally I was in a sort of Zen state, living in the moment and not thinking about the past, or the future. Sure I would read, watch movies, nap, and chat with the attendants but those diversions were superficial at best and the details rarely recalled once I arrived at my destination.

I referred to those times as being in a kind of animated suspension where the body is functioning but the mind has slowed, time seemed to lose it’s importance, and the question of how much longer until we get there rarely surfaced.

Aside from long-haul air travel and visiting the in-laws I never saw a need for this skill until my recent unfortunate incident involving a storm, fallen trees, a ladder, a chainsaw, and the medical community. With 7 broken ribs to heal my world suddenly got a lot smaller – no golf, no riding, no working in the yard or in the shop.  Even simple things like sitting down at a computer or standing up could cause pain the like of which I had never experienced. So I was essentially in a place where time had to pass but I had no outlets or activities to help it do so – not unlike an extended 19-hour flight to Hong Kong seated in steerage. And that I knew how to deal with.

As I near 4 weeks of recovery I am on final approach to my destination (to continue the flying metaphor). I am pretty much fully mobile and relatively(!) pain free and the doctors are telling me that I should now be able to start doing the things I like to do, in moderation of course. And that’s all good news, but still I marvel at the power of the human mind that it can so easily focus on the moment and compress hours and/or days of pain and unpleasantness into nothing but vague recollections of a period of discomfort. It truly is an amazing thing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Progress is being made

After the carnage of three weeks ago (reported here) things have been looking up, albeit frustratingly slowly.

A follow up hospital visit discovered fluids had pooled in one lung so that required the medical equivalent of a Roto-Rooter procedure to drain and an overnight stay but otherwise the ribs are healing nicely and I have weaned myself off the painkillers (I hated how they made me feel). Also during that second visit a CT scan confirmed that it was 7 ribs fractured, not just 5. I’m not sure if it actually makes any difference but 7 always seems better than 5 unless one is playing golf, which I am most definitely not at this time.

The insurance company has been great with arrangements made to repair the garage roof and house damage and I have a cash settlement in hand for other insured losses. Unfortunately there is no insurance coverage for property clean-up. When I suggested such a clause, with a cap of $2500 or $5000, might be a useful inclusion in rural policies my agent’s response was, “Well it doesn’t happen very often.” Exactly. Isn’t that what we have insurance for, those events that don’t happen very often? And according to municipal and provincial officials the “disaster” wasn’t big enough (i.e. not enough homes were destroyed and there was no loss of life) so there’s no help available from them either. So we are on our own when it comes to the clean-up of the 100 or so felled trees and associated damage in the 2 or 3 acres directly around our home.

While I am mobile and can get around fine any strenuous activity, heavy lifting, chainsawing remains a distant objective. Without the help of friends and neighbours the clean-up would not have progressed at all in the past 3 weeks. The day after I got home from my initial hospital visit neighbours came by and cleared our driveway so at least we could drive up to the house. Another friend who owns some heavy equipment has been here most days clearing some of the larger trees out of the way. Even the missus has pitched in, learning to use the small chain saw to clear the downed trees off her flower beds. And I have actually been turning down some offers of help simply because I don’t feel right having others work on my property while I sit there and supervise. So a big THANK YOU to all who have helped and offered to do so.

And so it goes. We pick away at it a bit at a time while we wait for the fire ban to be lifted so we can begin to burn the tons of branches, small trees, and other waste left after the good white pine and cedar logs have been removed and the hardwood segregated for next year’s (and beyond) firewood. And then we start to replant.


2012-08-10 11.02.17

This tree snapped off 30’ above the ground, landing on my garage roof.



Can’t imagine clearing this by hand.


2012-08-16 09.12.24

A few of the logs taken off the property.
A similar sized pile is across the road.