Tuesday, Aug 21
Want to hear the story of me falling in the cave, and having to be salvaged by EMS and Fire Department? Here goes:
Fisher Cave is a large, spectacular cave inside the Meramec State Park. The entrance (and ticket-purchase window) is just down a short road from our campsite, and this was to be our first cave tour on our Cave Caper safari.
The cave does not have wiring for electric lights, and each person is given a flashlight. Along with the tour guide, Tom, and me, there was another family of 3 on our tour. Near the front of the cave is a long passage where the ceiling drops to 50” high from the floor, requiring you to walk bent over at the waist. Not a problem on the way in.
For whatever reason, on the way out I suddenly got off balance and fell off the concrete trail, into the small trench alongside, landing on my back in a semi-reclining position against a rocky lump . . . in the water. The pain was immediate and intense, and I knew I wouldn’t be getting up to continue the short walk out of the cave. I lay in the little water-filled ditch for awhile until it was decided that I really needed to make an effort to get up on the path. Oh, the pain – and the certainty that I WOULD NOT be able to get up and walk out of there (remember -- bent over at the waist for quite a distance.) Tom, with help, managed to get me up on the walkway to lay down flat on my back.
The cave guide left us to go and call the “extraction” team. They arrived 20 minutes later with all kinds of equipment to carry me out. So, imagine a swarm of EMS managing to lift me up onto a backboard and shuffle me over to a “litter/cage” – and then carrying me out. At times the ceiling was very low for them and at times the walkway was very, very narrow, allowing only the front and back persons to carry. Use your imagination!
At the cave opening I was mustered from the cage to a regular litter (still on the backboard) and slipped into the ambulance. Here they were able to do a preliminary assessment and start an IV. Oh the relief of their pain medicine – I begged for more on two different occasions on the 20 minute ride to the hospital.
At the hospital some more detailed diagnostics started up, and as the pain medicine was helping considerably I was fairly comfortable. As the doctor worked his way through his assessment, we both began to feel that there were no broken bones – just some very deep muscle damage. X-rays confirmed this! With a load of medicine for swelling, pain, and muscle spasms, I was discharged to go home – the Airstream. There, I was very relaxed in my own bed, lying on my back, propped by pillows – for the next 16 hours.
The accident happened at the very end of the cave tour -- here are some pictures that I took before.
I will post this little episode on our Cave Caper trip, and then I"ll probably take a little rest for the next few days before picking it up again!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown