8/4/05

Zowie

You'd think being electrocuted would make you feel charged with energy, frizzy at the seams and raring to go, all-fired with a renewed vigor for life. Nope.

I shocked the beejeezus out of myself last night while replacing a sump pump, and while I haven't been quite the same since, I still wouldn't characterize myself as particularly sprightly. The primarily memorable quality of the experience was this: instantaneous and massive, almost total disorientation. Also, I've noted a marked increase in the syllable count of my word selections here of late.

I was kneeling on the floor of my basement, peering down into the concrete well to discern the problem. "Ah. The float's stuck," I murmured, and reached down to free it, steadying one hand on the (wet) (metal) handle of the (electric) pump motor. I recall seeing the fingers of the other hand probing the dark depths, threading their ghostly paths to the lint-covered float mechanism. I recall feeling the cold, wet metal on my fingertips momentarily, and then I recall my brain being scrambled like an etch-a-sketch.

There was this noise I heard, this loud tingling buzzer that was everywhere at once, followed by a distant yell I recognized as my own, but sounding like a memory of a sound, a forgotten departure down a long road.

I wouldn't recommend it.

Afterward, I knelt on the floor for several minutes, trying to process Penelope's increasingly desperate questions, struggling to put them in order and determine how much time had transpired since she'd asked each one. "What happened?! Are you okay? ... Is there something I can do to help you?"

I paused for approximately four days and answered, "No."

*****

In truth, to the best of my knowledge, household current is rarely fatal, and I think it takes a sustained jolt to do any lasting damage. An electrician friend of mine told me he's used to it, and that 110 volts is nothing. And I have to say I'm awfully glad the shock took the direct path across my upper chest, more or less bypassing my heart, lungs and brain. Still, though, the muscles in my arms, shoulders and back stayed completely rigid for several minutes afterward, and Penny says I spoke slowly and softly all throughout dinner.

Less current than it probably takes to light up a nightlight, and it froze all my systems. I forgot where I was, who I was, and what was happening. Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to release my grip on the motor handle - that took a lot of strength to accomplish, I remember.

I can't imagine how people survive being struck by lightning.

5 comments:

Katrina said...

Good lord! I'm glad you're okay. Sounds scary. But, I will say it made for an interesting story! ;)

Anonymous said...

you scared the crap out of me...
DON'T do that again.

penelope

Anonymous said...

That's why it's called "EX- Perience" You WON'T do that again. I can just envision what Hap-Pen-Ned. *><***####!!!!<><><*#### Jack

Anonymous said...

P.S. See further comments re: earwax

Jan

To The Moon said...

Ummm, have you been hanging around Tom? That is so a Tom thing to do. I'm glad you're okay!!!