September 9, 2008 began like any other day. The task in the afternoon was to help my brother in law cut down a few trees. I had done this many times and it was a hobby of mine. It wouldn't take long.
I was 24 feet in a tree standing on a ladder. My climbing strap was around the tree. I had cut the first branch and as it swung down and hit the trunk I heard a large crack. The tree was rotted in the ground. It began to fall over. I threw the running chainsaw but could not get my strap unbuckled from the tree. As it fell I managed to stay on top of it with my knees and hands against the trunk. My belt kept me tight to the tree.
The tree hit the ground with me on top of it. My hands snapped and my face and chest smashed into the trunk. It knocked me out for what I believe to be about ten seconds. My brother in law had been holding the rope to lower the branch. He unbuckled my belt and I stood up. I did not feel pain as yet. I believe shock and disbelief had overcome me.
What happen to me next I will never forget. When my brother in law ran for help, I stood there alone. As clearly as I can see and the best I can explain, this is what I saw. There was a man lying in a hospital bed. His arms are covered in brown casts with a blue tube coming out of his mouth. With medical equipment around him I thought, 'what am I looking at?' When I saw the profile of my wife I realized, that man was me. A feeling came over me that I cannot explain in words. I knew I would live. I had seen my future!
In reality I later found out later that I had severely broken my wrists, smashed nine of the bones in my right hand. My jaw was broken in seven places, two of which were across the roof of my mouth. I had broken nine ribs and a two-inch tear in my aorta with a split in my spleen. I had also bitten off my lower lip.
From this point on I can only say my life was saved because of God, First Responders, loved ones, Doctors, Nurses and mostly the one thing that I believe saved my life. Flight For Life to this day did for me what no one else could have done. The promptness and care saved my life.
The ambulance came from Mount Calvary. My other sister in law lives real close to where the accident occurred. She is a nurse and just happened to come home at that time. She took one look at me and I will not forget the expression on her face. I knew it wasn't good, however I had seen it would be okay. I asked her to use my phone and push number three to call my wife at work and tell her I had an accident. She said I can't believe you're talking to me this way. I asked her to please do that for me. She said Yes! I will, I just can't believe you can talk like this.The medical team from Mount Calvary got me ready for the ride to the hospital in Fond du Lac.
I remember hearing my wife as they wheeled me into the hospital. I said it will all be okay. She even says today it is just the way I said it that calmed her. She would not leave my side and I am grateful for that.
The hospital performed several scans and decided the trauma was too much for them, so they contacted Flight For Life to transport me to Froedtert hospital. My wife was able to meet the Flight For Life team. She talked with them for a little while. The pilot even came off the helicopter pad to assure her they would take good care of me. The nurse asked her, "would you like me to call you when we arrive at the hospital?" She did call her as my wife was driving to the hospital. This was so comforting to her.
I cannot describe enough the personal care that this team took to comfort my wife.
I remember the flight to some extent. I wondered why I couldn't see out the window. I loved to fly. I even remember landing on the roof at Froedtert hospital. They said it was kind of windy. I was whisked off and into a room with large lights. There were many people around me. I was assured by one of them, I was in good hands and it would be ok. I was then sedated.
I would spend the next nineteen days at Froedtert. My wife had never left my side even at the hospital. The staff there was so kind to allow her to stay in the room with me. Eleven of the next days were in intensive care. I cannot even count all the surgeries I had. They did wait almost three days just to stabilize me. Without that flight I know I would not have survived.
At Froedtert they called me the miracle man. I would say it's not me. I do know that my attitude made a difference. So many people and family members had prayed for me. I didn't even know some of the people that had helped me. Believe me, I know that works! It also helped the doctors, nurses and all medical personnel who were there for my care.
It was a long recovery and many helped with my rehabilitation. I will never be the same and that's alright with me. I am grateful for each and everyday I have. That vision I had was true, it will all be okay. This event changed my life for the better.
There are so many people who helped me and continue to. Most of all my wife, for without her, I would not be here. Many times I remember the pain to be so great I was ready to give in to it. I would see things that helped me push through. One of those things was my wife who never gave up. Love is everything. Many more showed me that. The flight crew who kept assuring me it would be ok. You may not think you're heard, however you are. I can tell you that first hand. By all means keep doing what you do best. You save lives! I will Thank You forever!
On March 19, 2014, Kim Thome and her daughters Hayley and Madison were in a single car rollover accident. While coming up on a small hill they hit snow and ice that caused them to spin and ultimately roll the vehicle over 4 or 5 times. Kim was ejected from the vehicle while the girls stayed belted safely inside.
Good morning, and welcome to July 2, 2011. As I got up that morning I went on an amazing three and half mile training run, gearing-up for the Plymouth, Wisconsin Cheesehead Chase 5K Race in which my goal was to win my age group. Running eight minute miles was a great accomplishment that day, but that is the last thing I will remember for quite some time.