Dire News

Stick It to the Man

by on Sep.30, 2012, under Health, Nature, Recreation

Sometimes you just can't see the forest for the trees. Colby Ellis, 22, gives zip line tours at the Nantahala Gorge in North Carolina. Part of the Great Smoky Mountains, it's a popular recreational area. Colby was on his day off when he and co-worker Micah Loyd decided to explore the mountain. He explains, "I spotted a series of vines going up a tree and decided to climb them. When I was about five feet up, the vine gave way. I landed on my feet but when I bent to absorb the landing, a branch punctured my face." "'I was very shocked the first few moments, but luckily Micah and I are both trained in first aid, so we knew not to take it out. Or for that matter to move my eye in case the smaller stick went into the eyeball itself. Micah was great help keeping me calm and leading me through the woods to the road."   "Someone stopped and gave him a ride to get his vehicle so we could take that to the hospital. I did not want to pay for an ambulance if I could help it as they are quite expensive here. We then drove to the hospital in nearby Bryson, but they don't have a trauma centre. Staff there were great and stabilised the injuries and sent me in an ambulance to Mission hospital in Asheville." "Once there, they were able to remove both sticks successfully. Amazingly, I still had my full vision. After that I just needed a few sets of stitches and an eye patch and I was ready to go." "All in all, I feel very fortunate to be able to see out of both eyes and to be alive. If I had fallen an inch behind me the bigger branch could have easily went through my socket and into my brain. ... The whole thing was really intense."
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