Jake Evans, 38
New Brunswick, Canada
Each of Jake’s four noticeable scars appeared after spring adventures. “It seems every spring I get all excited. And then something happens.” I talked to him late winter 2014 and he laughed when he said, “I’ll have more scars after this spring I’m sure.”
Head to Toe….
“The scar on my head has made me realize how close I’ve come to not being here. I don’t take life for granted and I will enjoy it while I’m here. I don’t sweat the small stuff. But then again I’ve always been like that so maybe that’s why I get into trouble.”
“Before I went into surgery, the surgeon told my parents there was an 80% chance I wouldn’t live and if I did live, I’d be paraplegic or brain dead. But the specialists saved my life. I went through 6 hours of surgery and at one point I flat-lined.”
Earlier that day in May 1999, Jake was out in the New Brunswick woods partying with friends on Victoria Day weekend. He ventured off with one of the dogs at the camp and didn’t see the 20 foot drop into an old concrete logging bin: an old type of dam loggers used to guide timber down the river. Jake hit the concrete and he was knocked out cold, his neck broken in two places, and his head looked like “someone pushed in an eggshell with its splits and lines.”
Eventually some of his friends wandered through the woods to find him. They didn’t see Jake but they found the dog whining at the top of the drop-off. They quickly climbed down the rebar lining the dam top to bottom. His friends could see Jake’s brain and his eyeball had fallen out of its socket so one guy wrapped a jacket around Jake’s head. Jake gained momentary consciousness and his instincts kicked in; he freaked out sure someone was attacking him. His friends held him down and Jake passed out again. His buddies carried him, climbing back up the rebar and driving him 30 minutes to the nearest hospital.
The doctor working that night said there was no hope for Jake so sending him to a larger, better equipped hospital for surgery was pointless. Jake’s parents insisted he undergo surgery.
“When I finally woke up, I had a tube in my head, my groin, my hand, my mouth and a trach in my throat so I couldn’t talk but the first thing I saw when I woke was my dad messing around with the tube in my head. I motioned for something to write with. Everyone was so happy I was awake.” Jake took the pen and painstakingly wrote a note to his dad, an accountant, a man he loves but feels has no business being around any kind of machinery. He wrote, “Get the fuck away from my head.” Everyone laughed. Jake was back.
Five years ago, at age 33 and now a realtor, Jake went into the office before heading to Grand Lake to show a house. “I didn’t feel good. The girls at the office told me I looked bad and I should just go up to the hospital but I drove out to Grand Lake to show the house anyway. But once I got there, I cut it short. I felt real bad pain. I felt like I was dying so I raced to the hospital.” Jake made the 77 km (48 mile) drive. Within an hour of reaching the hospital, he was prepped for surgery. “At first they told me I might have to wait but it just so happened a surgeon was there from Toronto so I got the surgery right away. It was my appendix. It almost erupted. I got there just in time.”
In 2002, Jake was pushing logs around at the Mactaquac Head Pond when he slipped and lodged a broken beer bottle in his knee.
Just last spring, Jake rode motocross around McCloud Hill, a peaceful part of New Brunswick’s countryside. He fell the bike and ripped open his ankle. Instead of getting it looked at, Jakes says, “I screwed around on it for a couple hours.” The open wound became a major infection and left him with his fourth noticeable scar. The ankle scar sits a few inches above his mangled toes but that’s another story for another time.
For daily mini scar stories, check out my Instagram account and for a whole book of incredible scar stories and portraits, check out my book: WHO I AM: AMERICAN SCAR STORIES.