Sparta, Wisconsin. Despite frequently occurring moments of excruciating pain and severe cognitive confusion that cause him to expel both urine and fecal matter into his pants, Thomas Patrick, 49, says he is extremely grateful for surviving a horrible accident last month that could have easily ended his life or left him permanently crippled.
The production custodian at Lane Manufacturing Inc. (a factory that produces composite decking boards and household furniture) was cleaning a wall in the packaging department with an industrial air gun early in July when he accidentally plummeted 25 feet out of a Man Lift basket before landing directly on top of a pallet box filled with hardened regrind mix and broken metal pipes.
Completely forgetting to clip his safety harness to one of the bars of the machine while he was blowing down the wall, Thomas soon became overwhelmed and blinded by the massive cloud of dust and cobwebs flying through the air. Upon noticing that the strange and 'tingly' sensation he felt was due to the fact that he had several large wolf spiders crawling all over his face and shoulders, Thomas panicked, lost his balance, and fell screaming from the control panel.
After agonizingly rolling himself off the pallet box, limply crumbling onto the concrete floor, and beginning a slow but desperate crawl toward a nearby supervisor's office, the heavily wounded employee was then (much to his own chagrin) run over by several forklift drivers who were in a hurry to unload a recently-arrived semi truck.
Unable to gain financial compensation for being 'hurt on the job' due to the fact that the building has no cameras (and because Corporate claimed it was his own fault for not following proper safety procedures), Mr. Patrick is still able to look back and feel blessed to have a second chance at life.
Although he lives in an abandoned trailer outside city limits due to a financially devastating divorce he went through a year ago, the injured, poverty-stricken janitor is humbly content with the short-term disability he receives, which covers 60% of his original wages.
Forced to survive off of ramen noodles, tuna, and green beans (and unable to move around efficiently due to his numerous fractured bones and severed nerves), Thomas claims he has nothing to complain about except for the fact that the broken-down structure he currently occupies is located in the middle of the woods.
Outside of the high-pitched howling he hears during evenings, the intense pounding on the roof and sides of the trailer that wakes him up at precisely 3:00 am every morning, the unearthly growling noises that oddly come from beneath the floor, and the occasional 'blood-written' message he finds on his bathroom mirror saying GET THE FUCK OUT!, Mr. Patrick asserts that there really is nothing that should interfere with his newly-found appreciation for living.
"A pale-white, young woman with red hair and bloodshot eyes wandered up to my window last night, and screamed at me for several seconds before vanishing," he confessed.
"But, I think it's ultimately important to move past things like that in order to be truly happy," he added.
Before the interview concluded, Thomas received three text messages on his cell phone: one from a representative telling him that his health savings account was empty, and could no longer be used to pay his hospital bills; one from his ex-wife stating that she was going to marry an attractive, wealthy man; and one from a trusted co-worker informing him that he was going to be fired after Labor Day.
After the last three pre-paid minutes had been used to open the messages, the cell phone ran out of battery power and died.