What a pain

During our 5+ year journey with this project, we were remarkably lucky in the injury department. All told, we only required 1 ambulance visit, 1 ER visit, a short bout of physical therapy. Oh yeah, and one shoulder replacement.

The ambulance visit was for a neighbor who came over, toolbelt in hand, offering to help one day. Within minutes (literally) he fell off the porch and cracked a rib. So much for free labor.

The physical therapy was for my back, which I damaged one day while trying to lift a section of cast-iron sewer pipe that we were removing. I was in bed for a week and then in on and off pain for a year or so after that. An MRI scan ($1,600 for that fun ride) revealed two herniated discs. Finally, one year, we rang up enough medical expenses (On non-renovation issues) so that our deductible was covered. I got 8 sessions of PT that finally put the issue to rest, sort of.

The ER trip happened relatively late in the process. We had moved in and I was installing vinyl gutters around the porch. I was trying to cut a gutter to length with a utility knife and slipped, sending the tip of the knife into my stomach. There was surprisingly little blood involved. Five hours, 4 stitches and $900 later I left the ER with a new conversation piece. The ER nurses were not the least bit sympathetic. “Didn’t your mother teach you to cut away from yourself?” one asked.

And, finally, the shoulder. Sue has rheumatoid arthritis and has an artificial shoulder. These have a limited lifespan and she was nearing the end of hers when she took up the 3-pound hammer to demolish the chimneys. We figure that pretty much completed the process. A year or so after the chimneys came down, Sue had a new replacement shoulder.