Curt Petersen's wife, Emma, shouted, “Curt, Curt, are you alright?”
“Yeah,” Curt groaned. “Call an ambulance.”
When the life-flight helicopter landed, the life-flight nurse asked, “Mr. Petersen, on a scale of one-to-ten, with ten being the worst, how much pain are you in?”
Curt figured his pain level was about a seven. But he knew his wife Emma was listening and he didn't want to alarm her, so he said, “Oh, about a five.”
“I don't think so, Mr. Petersen,” the nurse shot back, observing Curt's mangled body. “You're a ten!”
It all started when the Petersens' dump truck developed an air leak. The Petersen's live north of Burlington, close to Big Hollow Recreation Area, in rural Sperry. Curt Petersen pumped the brakes, and had his wife, Emma, walk around the dump truck and attached pup trailer, listening for hissing. She has better hearing than Curt (except when he's trying to tell her something, Curt jokes).
“It's on the pup's rear axle,” Emma hollered.
Curt shut the dump truck off, got out, and put a four-inch block behind one of the truck's tires. The dump truck and pup trailer were parked on a small incline.
“I don't think that's a big enough block,” Emma warned.
Curt ignored her, crawled under the pup trailer and commenced to tear apart a “pancake” until he located the air leak. He went into the garage, found another “pancake” and crawled back under the pup. The four-inch block must have settled in the gravel because the truck rolled over the block. Curt thought, “Uh, oh,” and reached up and grabbed the axle and tried to scoot along with the pup. His bottom was catching up to his feet. There wasn't enough room for him to turn around under the moving trailer, and he couldn't let go and let the truck roll over him. It's low-hanging rear-end would kill him. It flashed through Curt's mind that if he had only set the dump truck's brakes, or put the truck in gear, it would never have moved. This was his fault.
The middle-axle-spring bolts caught Curt's shoulder, rolled him, and he heard his ribs crunching. It sounded like a plastic water bottle being squeezed. The tire hit his head and started up his arm. That's when his left arm snapped. Then the tire on the other side went over his leg and crushed his ankle. He let it happen, and didn't fight it by trying to yank his leg back and making things worse.
The pup trailer was jack-knifing. It rolled up onto another little incline and stopped. Curt thought, “Good.” But it rolled back down and stopped right on top of his leg and foot.
Of course, pandemonium and chaos broke out. Both Emma's and Curt's cell phones were in their house. Emma rushed in to get a phone. Curt's brother from Tucson was visiting. He was on the phone with a daughter who had called from New Mexico. She heard the commotion and tried calling 911 but reached Albuquerque 911. And so it goes.
Curt's brother rushed out and was able to back the truck and pup trailer off Curt's leg.
Curt spent seven weeks in intensive care and the hospital in Iowa City. Emma and his family were with him 24-7. In the chopper ride to the hospital, bilateral chest tubes were installed because of two collapsed lungs. He had broken or pulverized all his ribs, with the exception of three, he had a broken arm, crushed ankle, broken leg, and fractured C-7. (This turned out to be an old injury.)
He hallucinated from all the pain medication and thought he was being flown by helicopter to Canada for treatment because it was less expensive there. He couldn't talk because of a tracheotomy and all the tubes that were in him. One of his sons brought him a white board to write on. He couldn't move his broken arm, so all his words were written in one spot. His son had to move the white board as he wrote. (The doctors didn't set his broken arm—they were more concerned about his other injuries. Curt's arm healed itself.) Curt managed to write, “They're taking me to Canada.” A nurse walked in and Curt quick erased what he had written so she wouldn't see it. His son sighed, “Dad...”
This accident happened in June, 2019. Thankfully, and by the grace of God, the capable hands of excellent doctors and surgeons, and lots of prayers, Curt has realized close to a full recovery. He is a God-fearing man and believes God has everything planned out even before you're in the womb. You are to trust in God. Even when bad things happen, you are to learn from them.
What has Curt Petersen learned from his own dump-truck's pup trailer running over him twice? “When your wife tells you the four-inch block isn't tall enough--listen to her!”
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