3 Photos: The First Photos of Jan’s Injury after the fall from the rooftop

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Here are 3 photos of Sunday night – 2 days ago – when I was injured. I’ll explain some more below, because I went back and had a look at the scene. I will explain more later. I’ve clarified some things. My 2nd post was a bit wrong in it’s conception. One thing that I was thinking about since the accident is: How long was I unconscious? The answer might be provided by photos I took on the day, before and after the accident as well as phone messages, and that paints quite a scary picture. I could easily have been unconscious for 20-30 minutes after the fall. The longest time window would be 40 minutes. I was clearly knocked out for quite a long time.

I was at least 8 feet from the ground when I fell. I’ll measure it all in the coming days. My upper body fell a minimum of 8 feet.

I must tell you, upon looking more closely at the ladder (which was in a weird position and I will explain that later), that I realised that if I had continued to hold on to the ladder, all my fingers on both my hands would have been TORN OFF. It was a weird but incredible piece of luck that I had actually let go of the ladder when it began moving. The ladder was not at a HIGH angle against the building like you normally put it. This ladder was extremely long and I had it at a LOW ANGLE – against the building. It was in a position that is UNNATURAL for ladders. The ladder actually lifted and slid backwards due to my body weight being above the roof! Most of my body was ABOVE THE ROOF. My weight lifted the entire long ladder and the whole ladder moved with me on it – sliding backwards downwards. If I had wanted to stay on it, I should have continued holding on the rungs. But if I had done that, ALL MY FINGERS WOULD HAVE BEEN TORN OFF! By some amazing piece of luck, I just let go of the rungs even though I was on a ladder that was busy sliding off the roof. It was just a weird natural reaction. I did not do it consciously for any reason. I just did it in the instant for no reason, with no thought even though upon reflection it made no sense at all. I did it and I felt very calm doing it and just “letting things be”. I was not worried or fearful. The last I knew I was in free fall. The next thing I knew, I was groggy on the ground. (I had fallen on planks covered by a thin plastic). I was groggy and I got up and walked unsteadily towards my house. I regained strength after a few minutes and began contacting people. My glasses and the flip flops I had been wearing had fallen off, and we later came back and found them. But I must tell you, if I had retained a hold on the rungs of the ladder, I’d have had all my fingers torn off. It was an amazing piece of luck and it was NOT CONSCIOUS. There was just a natural reaction and I remember just letting go – without understanding why.

The basics of what happened:
I was looking for a big roof leak that I only discovered when our first rain had come. This was in an outbuilding I don’t often go to. But which I have now put things in. So I was in a hurry to discover the roof leak. I was trying to find the leak on the roof and I was spraying water on to the roof and going up and down the ladder. So I took photos of the roof before my accident. The last photo was at about 17h12.

The first photo below:

The above photo was taken at 18h38 which is probably more than an hour after the actual fall. I know I contacted my neighbour either at 18h00 or perhaps at 17h50 – within about 5 minutes of getting up and managing to walk into my house. I’m writing from memory, so I’ll check my actual phone later. The question is: Of the time between 17h12 and about 17h50 – how much of that time was I unconscious? I might have carried on for 5 or 10 minutes after the 17h12 photo before the accident happened. I think I could have been unconscious for anything from 20 minutes to maybe even 35 minutes.

My neighbour phoned the ambulance but the ambulance was so slow and my neighbour left. She said she did not think she could stand the sight of the blood any more (she’s from Europe). I phoned an Englishman who is a neighbour and he’s a cool guy. He knew of nurses in the area and put me in contact with a White Afrikaans guy who had been a full time medic. I contacted him and walked to his house. He put on his gloves and said he would see what he could do. But after he took a look for a while he said that he thinks he must take me immediately to the hospital. So he got me in his car and drove me there immediately. By the time we were at the hospital it was just after 20h. By then, it was 2 hours since the ambulance had been called and then we were notified that the ambulance was at my house!!!! I was bleeding for a long time. I wasn’t bleeding fast, but I bled for more than 2 hours. It slowed down gradually and stopped. The nurse at the hospital spent quite some time cleaning all the blood out of my hair.

The two photos below were taken at my request by the nurse who cleaned the blood off my head and shaved me so that the doctor could sort out the wound. I need to check, but I think these were taken at about 20h30. I asked her to take photos and these are the 2 photos she took:

You’ll see that I had a deep Y-shape cut on my head. I think that is why they used staples to staple my skin together. I think it was too wide for normal suture.

After I got the staples everywhere, they took me to have a CAT scan to assess if I have brain damage. They found minor things but nothing that indicated anything serious. I visited my Boere-Afrikaans doctor on Monday so he could double-check everything and give any additional advice. He suggested I get some physio on my neck. His nurse opened everything and did a bit of cleaning. The nurse said the healing had begun. My doctor said there could be brain damage, but we would only know in 3 weeks time. He said it was unlikely, but it could happen.

So I got quite a hectic blow to the head. I am aware of the dangers of blows to the head. That is how my mother became blind in one eye. It was from blows to the head which detached her retina. So I’ll watch everything carefully.

I’m writing this 40 hours after my accident. I’m going to get some sleep now.

So that will give you some idea of what happened.



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