David Gilmore, struck by 100 million volts of lightning gasped for breath as he was rushed to the nearest hospital.
Clothes were stripped from Gilmore’s body at the hospital and a shot given for relaxation. He was in shock. A steady drip of morphine eased his extreme pain. He had no feeling in his lower limbs; his feet would not move, his toes would not wiggle. He couldn’t lift his legs and his skin was ivory white.
A Question Mark on His Head
The lightning marked his body from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. It burned a question mark on the top of his head. The barber strap bruise went from the left side of his head to his lower right hip. The bruise then went down his right leg in the standard zigzag pattern all the way to his little toe. On his left side, the pattern was on the inside leg coming out the arch of his foot.
The zipper on his pants was melted, but his body not burned. The lining of his white socks was burnt, yet his leather boots were undamaged. The doctor relayed that this was the probable reason he was still alive. Had he worn rubber-bottomed shoes, a double dose of lightning would have gone through his body, not being able to hit the ground.
Paralysis – Morphine & Pain
As the paralysis began to subside, the pain of electrocution was still intense. Morphine only minimized the pain and left him in a near-dream state. “It was as if I could see my thoughts in front of me–like watching a video of my own imagination. The doctor came in with his white lab coat to examine me. I thought it was an angel sent to take me home. There was no fear, but then I recognized him. “Ahh Doc! It’s you.”
Within the first six hours, the doctor came back in and pushed a needle into Gilmore’s foot. “Can you feel that?” the doctor asked.
“No,” Dave said.
The doctor shook his head and showed Dave that he’d reached a depth of almost a half inch into the foot. He felt nothing. Asking if he would get his feeling back, the doctor was honest. He told Dave it was difficult to determine with lightning strikes, but that he would keep checking.
Very Lucky Man
“You are a very lucky man to be here talking to me. I’ve seen people with fewer markings in the morgue than you have on your body!” the doctor told him.
“Luck has nothing to do with it,” Dave replied. “I’m thankful to the One who’s responsible for me being alive.” He admitted he started praying while laying on the ground under the tree while waiting for the ambulance.
Walked Like a 105-Year-Old Man
Five more hours passed, and Dave began to see movement in his right big toe. He called the doctor back in and was told it was a good sign. He thanked God for this subtle movement and determined to keep moving. After six hours of paralysis, his legs began to move as well. His determination paid off. He was in the hospital for a total of seventeen hours and then fearing a huge hospital bill, he checked himself out against medical advice. The doctor could only prescribe painkillers, not morphine. Gilmore said, “he may as well have given me vitamin pills.” Without the aid of morphine, he said he walked like a 105-year-old man for a week. Gradually all movement returned, although he cannot bend his toes or sprint and is still a little numb from the knees down.
Marked for Life
He was marked by God, and small remnants remain – a ‘God-kiss’ patch on his neck and a tiny circle on his right hip pocket area. Dave says, “Papa has a sense of humor. The question mark on my head reminds me He has the answers to all my questions.”
“The experience made me understand how much God loves His children and to what length He will go to show you. I now have a better understanding of what a ‘personal relationship’ truly means.
Now I wake up every morning and greet Him with ‘Morning Papa!’ I hope it makes Him smile,” Gilmore said.
David Gilmore received his M.A. degree from Bowling Green State University in scenic design. He taught theatre technology at Findlay University as a graduate student and now teaches theatre performance/technology at the Firelands branch of BGSU in Huron, Ohio. As the Technical Director/ Designer, he works with lighting and sound and also helps with set construction and scene painting.
Gilmore also does his share of acting at Firelands Playhouse in Huron and at Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio) on the weekends playing diverse roles including the insane narrator of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart.
By David Gilmore as told to C.A. Simonson (c)2018