"I thought I was dead": Survivor of lightning strike tells his story
Thu, 17 May 2012 03:53:07 GMT —
"I woke up, and I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know what. I thought I was dead," says Michael Hardbaugh.
Hardbaugh is recovering after being struck by lightning Tuesday afternoon. He was working on spreading pine straw in the backyard of a home on Fieldgate Road in the Ricefields neighborhood where he regularly does landscaping.
Fire officials say it appears the lightning struck a tree and then hit him.
"I think I was thrown, I'm not sure. My cell phone had fallen out of my pocket. I was in a tremendous amount of pain. I just starting crawling and screaming for help," he recalls.
It was then a neighbor came to help, and 9-1-1 was called.
"The whole time I was thinking of my kids, my family."
About 10 percent of lightning victims die; the remaining 90 percent suffer injuries that range from mild shocks to permanent chronic pain, hypersensitivity and memory lapses, according to Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, the world's leading authority on lightning injuries and a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Hardbaugh says he knows he's lucky to be alive.
"I didn't sleep well last night, I just kept thinking about everything that had happened."
He adds that he hopes to be back on jobs as soon as possible - including laying the remainder of that pine straw at the home on Fieldgate Circle.
"I love doing that, that's how I provide for my family, but if the weather is bad, I'll probably be staying home," he says.