King, as promised, this is for you.
Yes, I fall out of trees from time to time. I didn't climb many trees in Wisconsin over the last ten years so I don't know whats got into me since moving to North Carolina. Maybe it has something to do with being around Vincent. I'm not blaming my nine year old son for my unstable tree climbing. I'm simply saying that having him around brings out the kid in me. I have to climb trees. That's what Dad's are supposed to do.
If you read some of my earlier posts you may have noticed that Vincent and I are trying to build a tree fort.Now lets rewind to before those posts, like four weeks ago actually. Vincent was in Virginia with his mother and I was bored one day. So, I decided to start building the fort and surprise him.
Well, you can't just build a fort, you have to scout out an area for the fort first.
Normal people would walk around, look at some trees, maybe climb one, get down, look around and then decide on which one to use. Normal people do that. I never claimed to be normal. See, you need to determine if you have escape routes and places for ladders, extra levels, gun turrets, sniper nests, or maybe even an alien landing pad. As you can see its actually a day long job deciding which trees to use.
Now, if you only have one tree on your property then your choice is pretty darn easy. In a case like that you can pretty much make your decision in bed, or at breakfast, or as you are gathering materials to make the fort. But if you have four acres to wander around on then things can become complicated.
After rooting around in the woods for an hour I finally settled on a group of fallen trees that were knocked over by hurricane Irene. They were old, huge and had safely nestled all the way down on the ground.
There is nothing scarier than getting five kids in a tree fort and all of a sudden the tree falls or shifts with all of them in it. They tend to fill their pants when that happens. I was not going to be the dad responsible for giving some kid a nickname like Doody Pants, Poopy, or Stinky. They don't need any help when it comes to unkind nicknames. I made darn sure everything was stable.
In fact, I jumped up and down on all the limbs. I shook branches, knocked down dead fall that hadn't quite fallen all the way to the ground and basically spent ten minutes trying to get the tree to do something I wouldn't want it to do if my child were in it.
A small step to the side turned out to be a step into open air. The only thing able to stop my decent was my fingernails that clawed at branches, leaves and ticks on the way down. Somehow I managed to spin myself onto my back instead of going down head first.
I landed flat on my back across the only log around for ten feet in any direction. Oh, and I couldn't breathe either. I knocked the air out of myself with such force that it made a whistling sound when it left my chest. My teeth chomped and snapped at the air, my nostrils flared and my eyes watered. The noises I made sounded like a water buffalo in heat.
Finally I caught my breath and started to wiggle my fingers and toes. One by one I inventoried all my parts. Everything moved and I could feel everything. Some spots were worse than others but at least I had feeling everywhere.
It was now or never. I took a chance and crawled to my feet.. No one saw me, thank goodness, so I clambered out of the woods like a bull in a china shop. I had no balance, my butt hurt like crazy and my back was close to calling it quits. All I wanted to do was get in a hot shower to rinse the ticks and pine cones out of my hair.
The water felt awesome!
Dawn came home from work a few hours later and found me curled up in bed.
"What happened?" she said.
"What? Nothing. Why?"
"Mike, what happened? Its 4:00 in the afternoon and you are laying in bed, there is a wet towel on the floor and a trail of filthy clothes and pine needles leading into the shower. You didn't put the Ibuprofen away and you left the juice out with the cap off. What happened?"
"Oh, yeah, um....I fell down and hurt my back a little bit. No big deal."
"How high up were you when you fell?"
"How did you?.....Did someone....... I wasn't! Who...?"
I swear she is either a mind reader or a wizard or something. Nothing gets by her.
"Mike, what did I tell you about going in the woods when I'm not home? Do you want to go to the emergency room?"
"Well, no, but I do need some more Ibuprofen." I gave her my 'I was being good' face and hoped she would get the pills and some water and forget about it.
"You can probably get them yourself if you aren't hurt right? Go ahead." She stepped back and motioned down the hall.
That has got to be a wizards trick.
"Fine! I'll do it myself!" I said and tried to pop out of bed.
At about the point that my feet hit the floor I let out a yelp and doubled over onto my side. One hand held my side and the other my tailbone.
Clearly this was not a job for Ibuprofen.
"OK get dressed and I'll move the car closer to the door. You are going to the emergency room so they can check if you broke anything. If you tell me 'no' then I won't take you the next time you 'want' to go."
"Holy crap Dawn that's a little harsh don't you think?" I gave her my best angry face but it wasn't convincing.
"Do you want your walker or your crutches? I saved them both for you. Or do you need the wheel chair?" Hearing her say walker made me feel like a geriatric patient. Unfortunately I've had to use all three over the past couple years for various reasons.
"Um....get the walker. When we get to the hospital I'll probably need someone to bring a wheel chair." I just shook my head and stared at the bedroom floor. I need to be more careful. It's embarrassing to know that I have what amounts to a small clinic's worth of mobility aids on hand.
Dawn called to me from the spare bedroom. Her voice was soft and sounded far away. She must have been in the back of the closet.
"Honey! I found all your braces! I have your back brace here and the two knee braces that make you look like The Terminator......Oh here's your ankle and wrist things you don't like......Hey! Did you know we had all the Ace bandages?" Her voice became muffled as she tunneled deeper into the closet, no doubt finding more and more medical devices that have accumulated over the years.
Finally she came back down the hall, snapped the walker open in front of me and said. "Honey, you have enough stuff in there to start a small rehab clinic! Did you even know you had all that stuff?"
I just looked at her and smiled weakly, "Princess, all that stuff got there because I came home wearing it, riding it or leaning on it. Trust me, I know its there."
She shook her head, "Man, I'm surprised you haven't paralyzed yourself yet."
"Yet being the operative word in that statement I imagine. Just get the car please."
The x-rays and CAT scan came back negative. If anything was broken or bleeding inside it wasn't major. At least I couldn't feel it and the doctors couldn't see it. I was given orders to relax for the next few days and told to stay out of trees.
Like that's gonna happen!
How do they expect me to build a tree fort?