Every time I walk in and out of my house, I walk by the scene of an accident that could have ended up much worse than it did. You don't see a ladder against my house in the above picture. That is because I rarely go on them anymore. Four years ago I put a ladder up to clean leaves off of my roof. Let's just say, that Black Friday morning did NOT go as planned.

Four years ago I fell off a ladder and broke my back. It was a beautiful Black Friday morning. I had gone out to do a little shopping, and returned home to take care of some chores for the day. One task was to get some of the remaining leaves off of the pitch of our roof. I got out the ladder like I had done so many times before as a homeowner. Holly, who was leaving for work as I began, shouted out to me "don't fall off and die". It was a sarcastic saying she gave me every year. I assured her I was being careful. But I made one crucial error.

After several stops along the side of my house, I set up my ladder on the sidewalk. Even though my kids were home, I chose to go up without a spotter. Big mistake. When my feet were even with the roof of the house, the ladder gave way on the cement surface and I fell. I landed on my feet, but the pressure from the fall fractured my back. Paramedics had to cut my clothes off, board me, and take me to the hospital by ambulance.

Holly Brainard
Holly Brainard
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Yes, I broke my back, but it could have been so much worse. What if I'd landed on my head or neck? I could have been paralyzed or even worse. After months of wearing a brace and rehab, I made a full recovery. I was lucky.

As the weather gets nice this week, many of you will put up your holiday light displays. If you decide to get up on a ladder, do me a favor. Follow all the safety precautions and use the buddy system. Have a spotter. It sounds simple, but it could have saved me that sunny November day. As for me, I'll stick to putting lights in the bushes...on the ground.

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