Bobby Lee Olson's accident

Jodie Zuniga
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I was 17 years old when Bobby was burned. He was a lineman working for the Board of Water and Light and although I dont remember the date he was burned, I do remember the circumstances......Bobby was called into work on a weekend...he was normally on call during these times and would be paged when needed. I believe he had gone to the golf course that morning and family rumor has it that he had been drinking while golfing. It was summer time...I was on summer vacation and home that day when the phone rang. My mother had just left to walk to the store with my sister so I was in the house alone. I answered the phone and the man onthe other end told me that Bob had been in an accident and I needed to get my mother...QUICK! I ran out the door to see my mother returning from her walk. In twenty minutes she had left with someone to go to the hospital. I wasnt told what kind of an accident Bobby had been in...In fact my mother didnt come home for two days and it was then that I learned the details of Bobbies accident. Apparently the sun was in his eyes when Bobby turned and he caught the edge of his sunglasses on a live wire. I cant tell you how many volts he took...the years have blurred my memory...but it was enough to enter his temple, travel down across his chest, melt the spare change he had in his pants pocket then exit by blowing a hole in his steel toed boot. I remember the men who were working with Bobby that day telling the story of lowering the bucket truck where he was found crumpled and unconsious at the bottom of the bucket. When they tried to lift him out they said his skin kept coming off in their hands and the only way to lift him out was by grabbing his belt buckle and hoisting him over the edge. When they got him out and laid on the ground they said he began to breath again....from there I dont know what happened but I know that when he reached the hospital he was admitted as a black man because his skin on his face was black. I didnt see Bobby for a few months because nobody was allowed in his room because of the risk of infection but when I finally was allowed to see him I remember whirling around so he couldnt see my face...I was horrified at his appearance. His face was bright red and he'd lost thirty pounds. I didnt want him to see the horror on my face. Bobby came home about 4 or 5 months later. It was horrible! His intestines had been burned so bad that he had to drink pure mineral oil so he could digest his food and he had to wear a tight body suit to supress the scars. Life was really hard for Bobby after that. He healed and lived on but he became addicted to morephine and marijuana to control his pain. He returned to work but not as a lineman and I think he always missed that. He was a trouble man after that...just turning electricity on or off during emergencies. He finally retired around the year 2000...not quite sure because of life circumstances I didnt see Bobby for about 20 years. When I did...he took me aside and told me he had throat cancer but would tell noone else because he did not want his favorite granddaughter (my daughter) to know. He wanted to be sure that someone would be there for her. I promised never to tell anyone...and didnt until now. When Bobby finally died...his autopsy doctor missed the cancer and listed the cause of death as pnemonia....he was wrong. We all were wrong and I miss you Bobby!

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