A truck driver from southeastern Manitoba got into an accident involving a 3 pound chunk of concrete on February 9th.
Eddie Friesen was headed south on Hwy. 75 with an empty trailer, as he was traveling to Fargo for a pickup.
“And I didn't quite make it down to the border. I had another tractor-trailer pass me, and as he was coming over back in front of me, he kicked up a chunk of concrete and it came through the windshield.”
The concrete hit him on the left side of his head.
"It crushed my eye socket from the front to the back, crushed my cheek, broke my nose, cracked the side of my skull, and also broke part of my upper jaw."
The accident also caused a severe concussion, brain trauma, and a brain bleed.
“The brain bleed should eventually clean up on its own. It's not severe- like the bleeding part of it, they (doctors) don't seem really concerned about that. It's getting all the swelling down, that they can go back in and continue surgery.”
On the bright side, if he physically opens the eyelid, he is still able to see.
“My eye still does work pretty good. It'll still move left, right, up and down as well. Not perfectly at this point."
He is unsure if his eye will work the same as it did before the accident.
“I'm assuming my eye is going to come back, but they couldn't do full surgery when they did surgery in February, because there was too much swelling,” he says. “And everything is still to this day, completely swollen from the inside and also from the outside, so we don't really know.”
He’s had one surgery so far and there are plans for more. He notes his eye is currently infected, so he has been spending a lot of time at the hospital.
“I spent three weeks in the hospital originally, and then I was out for a day, and then I went back in and I've been fighting with infection ever since,” he says. “So at the moment, I have to go twice a day to Steinbach to the hospital for IV treatments, so I'm spending 5 hours a day doing that, but at least I can be at home otherwise.”
Friesen notes it’s unlikely the other driver ever realized what had happened.
“He didn’t stop, I don't think he knew that it happened.”
He says the only way the other driver would have known is by looking back and noticing the truck veering.
“The way I remember, I was kind of veering to the left and I was passing out so to speak. I know everything was getting all fuzzy, and I just asked for help out loud, and then I started going to the correct shoulder on the right side of the road.”
Luckily, he was able to pull over safely.
“I knew I had to safely come to a stop. Number one, I didn't want to crash. Number two, I didn't want to hit anybody,” he says. “I do remember going over onto the shoulder, and thankfully we have the rumble strips on the side of the road, so when my right steer tire went over and then my left steer tire went onto the shoulder I knew I was safe, I could park.”
He says he knew the next step was to contact someone.
“I knew a friend of mine was right behind me. I needed help, so I contacted him. He was literally 3 minutes behind me.”
The other thing on his mind was how he wouldn’t be able to finish his job.
“The way my brain thinks, ‘I got to get a hold of dispatch, let them know that I can't pick up my load the next day.’ And then they contacted Kim, my wife.”
He says that over the last two months, he’s had nothing but support from those around him as he’s been receiving many visits, phone calls, and texts.
Friesen notes he has also been very well taken care of by hospital staff.
“I've had such good people, like everybody in the hospital, I have nothing negative to say. Every hospital that I've been to, which has been a number, Steinbach, Saint Anne, and Health Science in Winnipeg, everybody’s been perfect to deal with it. I have nothing bad to say."
He is staying positive.
"This is the road that I was given and this is the road I'm going to walk through, and one way or another, we're going to get to the other side.”
With files from Corny Rempel