This is a journey into time..... a time past......that still affects my world today. In 1981 , I was freshly divorced from my first---and working on a drilling rig in Sheffield , Tx. Air drilling was a first for me. This is a process where you drill an oil well with air instead of water. It was eerie for a West Texas roughneck to see a cloud of dust coming out of the return line. You could see it for miles and miles.
Oct 13, was a strange day for the daylight crew of Britton Rig #1. We had just moved to a new location and were rigging up. If you have never seen it , it is hard to believe. This is a dance, a ballet, if you will. The rig up trucks with gin poles raised, forklifts unloading pipe racks and pipe, the substructure is hammered together, the derrick is being raised, the motors and pumps lined up, the backyard is pieced together, and all of this is done at the same time. It really is something to watch, if you ever get the chance , just get and stay out of the way, WAY out of the way.
We had been in Sheffield for 23 days, and a new relief crew had been hired the week before. We were finally gonna get some days off. The 1" air line to the drillers console had been pinched during the rig move and had to be replaced. It was my job to replace it and when finished we would be done!!!! That was one job I never finished!!! During the process of replacing this line , the substructure of the rig was hit by a haul truck that got away from its driver. He was still in the truck, it just was stuck in gear and he could not stop. It hit the rig doing 32 miles an hour. Now this next part is the part that is still with me today.
I was standing on an I-beam to get a bite on the line that I was replacing. When the truck hit the rig , I lost my footing and began the longest 3 second trip of my life. We later measured from where I fell and it was 48 feet from where I landed. Now as I was on my way down, a co-worker tried to help me. He grabbed my feet as I started to fall, but as I flipped to be facing downward in a dive , he realized that he was gonna come with me . So....he let me go.
Don't blame him--I would have done the same!
Now I am falling face first-or I should say stiff arm first. I broke almost every bone on the left side of my body, some of them in many,many places. My hand, wrist, arm, elbow, shoulder, skull,and ribs were shattered. My hip , femur, knee and leg were split from the force of the landing,
My hip , and shoulder still give me little fits today, but I have yet to have the crippling effect the doctors warned me about in 81. But on days like today, where we reach 100 degrees less than 24 hours after a good little rain! It hurts like gravel is in my joints. Not enough to make me quit, but enough to remind me....You were not Superman in 81, and You are not in 2009 either.
So with an mixture of Advil, Motrin, and Bayer , I can get through a day like today in West Texas. Go Hawks!
Thanks for your time