Hidden Danger

Not in Shape to Build a House

Maybe you work out at the gym or go running on a regular basis but it is not the same as working construction.

Ok, I didn’t run or work out but I had spent over 10 years as a carpet installer* and I thought that hoisting ungainly carpets to the second or third story of a tiny condo and then moving every stick of furniture some retiree kept from their previous mansion (including pianos) had kept me in reasonable shape.
Pouring and leveling the garage floor had left me re-thinking my level of fitness and I was happy to take a rest day.
All I had to do was meet the truck delivering the garage package.

Don’t Worry

I got a sinking feeling when I saw the size of the load and the complete lack of forklift to unload it.
As the driver was undoing all of the straps holding the load on, he said “don’t worry, the truck bed tilts and everything just slides off”.

Everything Did

Unfortunately I was right in thinking that it looked like a lot of material.
Once everything was on the ground the driver realized the guys in the yard had put two orders on the truck and someone else’s roof shingles were covering my driveway.

Asphalt shingles weigh between 60 and 80 pounds per bundle. It felt like these were the 80 lb shingles. We spent the next while tossing the other customer’s roof back on to the truck and strapping it down.

The Takeaways

  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Do not twist while throwing bundles of shingles. Just don’t.

I awoke that night with the worst pain I had ever felt. It was like a toothache in my spine and I could not stand on my left leg.
Ruth called the ambulance while I slid down the stairs to the main floor to wait. I wasn’t taking a chance on the stretcher and I crashing down the stairs as I was a bit overweight and it did not seem fair to the ambulance attendants.

Because I was overweight the doctor on duty thought I was having a heart attack. The nurse had the morphine injection ready and considering the pain I was in, I was looking forward to the needle which is something I had never said before.
Foolishly I said it was my back that was injured. The doctor said forget the morphine; give him a Tylenol 3 (which does absolutely nothing for me). He gave me a prescription for the pills and said “you will be back within 5 years for an operation”.  Then he sent me home.

I needed a cane to get around. Not fun.
X-Rays and bone scans indicated it was an L5 S1 injury and it was suggested a surgeon do some exploring in there. I said “No”.
Ruth suggested seeing a chiropractor. I did and after seeing him once a week for a month I was walking without a cane.
No back surgery for me 🙂

Takeaway Too

Be careful. Failure and injury are always an option.

* Fuzzy side up.

This is not a drawing of our house but if you need inspiration…


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