Peace of Mind
Phil, age 45, and Cindy, age 44, lived in a two-story home with their three young children. It was the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Phil decided to hang Christmas lights. He climbed his ladder and got on the highest part of his roof with his string of lights in tow. He walked across the roof to the peak of his home.
Each year, he always thought, “what a great view from up here.” His plan was to connect the strands together and hang the lights to go in both directions, with the plug being the center point under the peak.
It was a nice day, the sun was out, no rain or moisture on the roof. Cindy happened to walk into the kitchen when she heard a muffled bang, followed by some other strange sounds. Looking around and wondering what it was, she then heard an even louder thud above her. She was hearing Phil, who had just fallen from the roof above the second floor to the roof above the kitchen. The thud turned into the sound of Phil rolling down the kitchen roof. In a flash, Cindy saw something go by the kitchen window. To her, it was in slow motion. She watched Phil in a horizontal position drop past her window and land in the bushes, followed by a long stream of lights.
Screaming, “Phil!” she ran outside as he fell out of the bushes and rolled onto the lawn. Confused and shaken, Phil was aware and unbelievably in one piece. Cindy made him sit for a moment, collect himself, and see if anything was hurting beyond what should be after rolling and falling from 30 feet up. But Phil said everything seemed alright. He sat up, stood, and then looked up to where he had been just a few minutes earlier.
Phil was luckily in one piece; nothing was broken, sprained, or twisted. He did have some aches and pains. He also had a great story to tell all the Christmas parties he attended. Phil’s version was fun; Cindy’s version was fearful. For what might be the first time in Phil’s life, he agreed to call “the guy.”
Phil began playing golf at the age of 7. For the first three years, he found it boring but stayed with it. When he was 15, everything came together; he had grown to be six feet tall, and his golf swing fell into place. His club striking the ball was far more consistent, and his golf shots were landing where he intended. The game got far more enjoyable.
As an adult, he would always play a local course every Friday morning. He and a neighbor would drive over as the sun was rising and be the first out to play the back nine holes. He would try to get a full round of 18 in as often as possible, usually hoping for once a week, but having a wife and busy family life didn’t always make that possible.
His eldest son’s high school was having a golf fundraiser for the water polo team. Phil, of course, decided to play and put together a foursome. Phil’s playing partner wanted to see what was over the hill, so he got out of the cart but forgot to lock the brakes. Phil was sitting, head down, writing on his scorecard when he realized he was moving backward. He looked around, it was a steep hill, and the cart was heading quickly for the water hazard behind him. All Phil had time to do was brace himself for the impact. Fortunately, the cart sank slowly, giving Phil enough time to bail out and get to the shore 15 feet away.
When the excitement died down, Phil was soaking wet. The cart was being pulled out of the lake with his bag, and inside a pocket were his car keys and wallet. The rest of the golfers played on. Phil and his playing partner were off the fairway and seemingly safe as they watched the winch pull the cart. That was, until he heard someone yell, “FORE!” Phil next felt someone hit him from the side, the two of them went down, and the errant golf ball hit the tree that Phil had been leaning against. It struck about six feet off the ground, eye-level for Phil. That was enough for him. He called it a day and walked back to the clubhouse.
Their children were now all old enough for Phil and Cindy to take a long weekend away as a couple. They had been discussing this with a few of Phil’s friends and their wives. Each individual family found babysitters for their kids, and they made a plan to fly out Thursday night and return on Sunday evening.
When they arrived at the resort on Thursday, Phil ran across the pool deck, stripping down as he went, until he was only in the shorts he had been wearing. He jumped, pulling his knees to his chest for a cannonball, into a rather small hot tub. There was a sizeable splash. Everyone was laughing at Phil as they made their way to join him in the hot tub. As they got closer, they realized something was terribly wrong. Phil was spread eagle, face down, and not moving.
Scott yelled to stop anyone from going in to save him. Scott somehow correctly recognized that Phil may have been electrocuted. He grabbed pillows from deck chairs and pounded the water as fast and as hard as he could to make a wave. Phil’s limp body made it slowly to the other side. Rusty grabbed his hair, and as his body got closer, Kevin grabbed his shorts. Scott came to their side, and they pulled him out of the water.
Phil’s heart had stopped. Rusty’s wife was a nurse, and she began chest compressions and CPR. Phil was young and in good health. His heart responded, and he began to breathe on his own. The resort had a doctor come visit to give Phil a checkup. Phil was going to be fine. However, the trip was now over, and all eight boarded the first flight they could on Friday morning to go back home so that Phil could see his own doctor. Phil was lucky. Somehow the light in the hot tub was loose, and if not for his friends’ fast actions, Phil would’ve died that evening.
8th-grade football was underway, and Phil’s youngest son, Josh, was on the team. Unlike high school, there are no bleachers at this school, and the parents are free to roam the sidelines. As the season progresses, it’s common that the dads find each other and hang together to watch, cheer, and support the players. Phil was one of those five or six dads that made every game. Phil looked forward to Friday afternoon football.
During one game, the opposing team had returned a punt and brought the ball to the 27-yard line. Unlike the typical sideline of players and coaches, parents are unrestricted and can walk the entire length of the field. Phil’s group followed the punt return and were at the first down marker. The opposing team tried to throw a 10 yard out pattern. The receiver went for the ball which sailed just above his fingers. As he came down, his feet weren’t under him, and he was falling forward towards Phil. So Phil reached out, grabbed the kid by the shoulder pads, and the two of them spun around together.
The cornerback on Phil’s son’s team was in hot pursuit to defend against this sideline pass. He too got tripped up by the parents just a few steps out of bounds. He went flying forwards, head first. The top of his helmet hit Phil in the small of his back, while Phil was still holding the opposing player, so he never saw the other kid coming his way. All three went down in a pile.
The two kids in uniforms got to their feet, but Phil was not moving. The other dads dropped down to speak to Phil and see if he was alright. The cornerback that hit him knew from what he felt that this was not good. While others attended to Phil, the cornerback was jumping, waving his hands for help, and yelling to their trainer. Phil had dodged a lot of bullets in his life, but this one was going to be different.
When Phil woke up in the hospital bed, his feet felt like they were burning. In his room were Cindy, his parents, and a nurse. The doctor visited soon after he was awake. Phil knew something was very wrong by the faces and the tones of their voices. The doctor asked him a few questions about how he was feeling as Phil grew anxious.
Finally, the doctor got down to the situation at hand; Phil was listening intently but never heard anything after, “you’ll never walk again.”
Fortunately, Phil worked as an attorney and could still practice law. Barring any miraculous medical breakthrough, Phil will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. His home has been retrofitted inside, his car has been modified, and his life has been changed forever. Insurance couldn’t have prevented the events, but it certainly would have been useful, a crutch so to speak, as they all moved forward.
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