Charlie Lee of Bradenton was lucky to survive a freak accident earlier this week when he was stabbed in the throat by his own pool furniture.
Lee detailed the accident on his Facebook page July 23, noting he was moving a poolside chaise lounger when a heavy gust of wind blew through.
The wind caught the underside of the lounger and acted like a sail, causing Lee to lose his balance. He fell into his pool with the lounger and that’s when things got surreal.
“The lounger punctured and lacerated my throat down a big knuckle deep and 3 inches wide,” Lee wrote on his page. “I realized I might be in trouble.”
Lee said the lounger’s leg missed his carotid artery by about 2 centimeters, as well as the primary muscle used for speaking.
Fortunately for Lee, one of his neighbors is critical care nurse Tracy Craley Knapp Freeman who Lee thanks for her fast-acting, calming method of care that helped stabilize him at the scene until paramedics arrived.
“You are my hero,” Lee told Knapp.
Knapp told the Bradenton Herald that she and her boyfriend had just returned home from lunch on Anna Maria Island when they stopped by the Lee home for a yearly get together. Timing is everything, it appears.
“I was actually at the other end of the pool getting one of the chairs out because the storm had blown a couple of them into the pool,” Knapp said. “I heard the splash and looked over to see another friend helping Charlie out of the pool and he started screaming my name.”
Knapp said Lee has had other medical issues in the past and thought she was going to have to begin CPR, “But that’s when I saw the big gash. Who would think a chair would slice someone’s throat?”
Knapp told another friend to call 911 while she applied pressure to the wound with a towel and kept her friend calm. She credits everyone at the get together for doing things calmly and quickly.
“Thankfully everybody worked together and EMS arrived quickly,” Knapp said. “The doctor met us at the ER because no one was sure how serious it was and whether he would have to be airlifted to a trauma center. I’ve worked in all areas of the hospital including ER and I’ve seen some crazy things, but nothing like this.”
Lee did not immediately return requests for comments on Friday, but Lee said on Facebook that he continues to improve, “with a lesson learned.”
Lee is the special teams coordinator for the Southwest Florida Gladiators, a competitive adult amateur football team and is a former punter and place kicker for the San Francisco 49ners.
Well wishes came pouring in from friends, family, football players and loved ones, but perhaps one summed up Lee’s experience the best when he posted, “HOLY CRAP!”
Lee responded, “That’s what I said when I saw the hole in my neck.”