National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Hazards of Working Outdoors


I was stuck by lightening outside while working as a Game Warden in Millville, NJ. I was in the middle of a tree and my work truck that had a 6 foot aluminum ladder in the back. We were all hit. The tree looked like all the bark flew off where the lightening rolled around the tree. The truck's electronics were fried and I was found in the middle of the truck. I lost conscious for a few seconds, couldn't see anything, then flashes of light and then my vision came back. I couldn't feel my limbs, I could move them, it seemed like they were not part of my body.  My heart rate was erratic, but a CAT test came back OK. I did a follow up with the doctor. After complaining about my head still hurt they found a golfball sized wound in the back of my head.

I lost my career doing what I loved because I can no longer carry a gun. My whole life changed in an instant and will never be the same. I still suffer from the barometric pressure. My head gets heavy and I don't have the ability to concentrate when there is a storm coming. I don't even watch the news because it just stresses me out knowing I won't be able to get things done that I need to because of the storm. Resting my head helps, but nothing takes the annoying vibration sensation that goes on in my head.

For the first two years it was a long slow recovery. I'm still not fully recovered. I lost my ability to talk right and walk without swaying or falling. I gave up at one point and just didn't get out of bed for 6-8 months. It was just so hard that getting dressed was a huge chore to accomplish. I would constantly throw up or feel sick to my stomach if I moved, so I just chose not to move unless I had to.  I had such severe migraines and dizziness every day all day long; nothing helped.  I felt like that feeling you get when riding in an elevator and it stops. I had that all day. My vision got worse for 6 months; I got a new prescription, and my vision went back to normal.  A doctor diagnosed me having something wrong with my eyes and said he could help, but my insurance never approved the treatment. Still, if I move my eyes quickly I get sick to my stomach. I can only drive on days where it's not that bad, I don't trust myself otherwise.  I am a lot slower than I once was, I walk slower, talk slower, think slower. I use to be pretty fast paced My family and friends say that I'm more normal speed now. It doesn't make me feel better though because when you are use to being one way your whole life then it drastically changes in an instant, it's hard to cope. I know it could be a lot worse and thankful I've came as far as I did.

I try to deal with what I have and make the best of everyday because you never know when your time is up.  Everything happens for a reason and I'm trying to figure that out and do the best that I can with what I have.

My whole life I use to sit on my porch and watch the storms with my dad. I loved to see Mother Nature's dark stormy sky roll into my back yard. I still like storms, not as much as I did due to the complications I get from the weather changing, but they are still beautiful. I definitely have a new respect for storms and an understanding to stay safe.