WEST LIBERTY – Short-term memory is still playing tricks on Scott Boyd. When he rolled his wheelchair into the Green Hills Community Wednesday, Oct. 26, for the “Iron Man Part II Blood Drive” in his honor he knew he had spent time there during his long recovery from a near-fatal farm accident. He just couldn’t say when.
Boyd was critically injured on Aug. 12 when he was caught in the blades of his bush hog while mowing a pasture. He suffered a “shark bite” wound to his side that shattered his hip and damaged his ribs and internal organs. He managed to send a scrambled text message to his wife, Cindee, who by chance had arrived home from work at lunch time.
His heart stopped twice while waiting for CareFlight and twice again in flight to Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton. He underwent multiple surgeries over the next 39 hours and received 108 units of blood, plasma and platelets. Against the odds, and with his wife constantly at his side, he survived.
“They say I died four times,” he said. “If she hadn’t had made it back and done all she did, it would have been too late.”
The first “Iron Man” replacement blood drive for Boyd at Green Hills Community on Aug. 31 was expanded to accommodate more donors. It was one of many ways the West Liberty community would reach out with overwhelming support for the Boyd family.
Boyd returned home on Oct. 4 after nearly two months of hospital care. Appointments were again added for the “Iron Man Part II” blood drive and again it was a full house. The result was 64 donors, 12 first-time donors, and 56 donations for 112 percent of the collection goal.
Boyd recognized every smiling face as he moved around the blood drive, thanking neighbors and old friends who arrived to donate. But details of those conversations would soon slip away. Severe blood loss takes a toll on the brain. He hopes that in time he will walk again, and remember more.
He still isn’t sure why he jumped off his bush hog while mowing that day. Perhaps he cleared away a branch. But his memory of what happened next is crystal clear.
“I knew I was in trouble,” he said. “When it rolled over on me I figured I was done.” He began a fight for his life.
“I took hold of that blade,” he recalled. “It wouldn’t turn. I think I stalled the motor out. It had cut me up pretty good at that point. I thought I was going to die. I was able to text my wife. She ran out to the field and I was behind the mower.”
Over the next 22 days Boyd underwent 12 surgeries. He has at least two more surgeries ahead to replace his shattered hip. He forgets the detail that he must wait up to six months between hip surgeries. He asks his wife again about the schedule, and each time she answers he frowns with the same disappointment, feeling it again for the first time.
Cheating death again
An amazing part of Boyd’s story is that the mower accident was not the first time he cheated death. When he was 13 he was one of three boys who survived a car accident on the way home from football practice that left three others dead.
“My best friends and a father died in a car accident,” he said. “I’ve had that on my shoulders all these years.” He removed his hat to reveal the scars like a crown of thorns around his forehead. “I broke both my arms and wrists and the top of my head was cut off. I had stitches all around.”
“I’ve cheated death twice,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to go for a third time.”
Friends like Roni Lile, whose brother died in the crash, donated at both blood drives for Boyd. His wife’s step-father Ed Fout donated at both blood drives as well. “I figured he would be here,” said Fout. “He’s getting around good for what he’s been through. He’s got that real grit to go.”
Boyd is lifting weights to build strength. He wants badly to regain his independence. “I want to drive again,” he says with a smile. “I’ve got a couple of muscle cars. I keep trying to squeeze in that I can, but I’m not convincing anybody. I said I’ve got my right foot for the gas and brake.”
Boyd chatted with Joe Williams, who made a special effort to donate Wednesday. “I came for Scott,” he said. “The last one filled up right away.”
Boyd knows it’s a miracle that he is alive. “I thought for sure I was dead when I was under that mower,” he said. “I know what a bush hog blade can do, I’ve cut through small trees. I knew whatever it did wouldn’t be good.”
He knows also that blood donations helped him survive, and he marvels at how donors continue to support him. “I appreciate the people giving,” he said. “I didn’t know how important giving blood was. I do now.”