Ed Spoelma has three words of advice for anyone who hunts from a tree stand: Wear your harness.
Three years ago, Ed was hunting from a tree stand near Remus, Mich. when he fell 20 feet, breaking his sternum and back. He suffered permanent nerve damage and now has two rods in his back.
“I wasn’t expected to walk again,” says Ed, who is now 63 and lives in Hudsonville. “I tell everybody that Mary Free Bed made me walk. Mary Free Bed made me the person I am today.”
Ed lauds the dedicated nurses at Mary Free Bed for taking care of his every need and managing his pain. The doctors and therapists encouraged and inspired him.
“I started getting better and better. Pretty soon I had a walker. I left Mary Free Bed after about two weeks. Basically, I took my walker and walked out to the car to go home,” Ed says.
Ed continues to work at Premier Granite and Stone where he creates templates for stone cutters. He returns to Mary Free Bed for regular check-ups with Dr. Sam Ho, director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program.
And he still hunts – although not from a tree stand.
Ed says he still has his mobility because he works hard to stay active. “Every day is a blessing for me,” he says.