Aug. 13, 2012 was a day Margarito Meza can’t fully remember, but will never forget.
While working as a lineman for CableCom in San Jose, Calif., Meza was adding a section of cable 25 feet above the ground when 21,000 volts of electricity rushed through the Gardnerville resident’s body, just missing his brain and heart.
“The last thing I remember is I stopped my truck,” the 48-year-old said of the day of the accident. “The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital with no arm.”
The latter memory was six weeks later.
Meza spent those six weeks under heavy sedation at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, undergoing multiple surgeries.
“They took skin from my legs and put it where I had burns,” Meza said. “I remember the last two surgeries, but there were 18.”
Doctors told his wife of 24 years not to expect her husband to survive.
“They said there was no percentage of survival. The doctor came out of one of his surgeries and said he’s a miracle. He was coming out of every surgery, every time,” wife Eddy said. “It was the most critical time in my life. God, and my friends, and my kids helped me. I guess it wasn’t his time. God had plans for him.”
In addition to an amputated left arm, Margarito lost his left ear, and has scars from fourth-degree burns over 36 percent of his body.
“I feel blessed. Everyday I feel stronger. Sometimes I have weak days, but not that often,” Margarito said. “If this (arm amputation) is a price for a second chance, I’ll take it. I’m not going to give up. There are a lot of people with one hand, and they’re still functional.”
Margarito has worked with his hands most of his life, and will be retrained in a new skill after completing rehabilitation.
Eddy worked in housekeeping at Carson Tahoe Hospital prior to the accident, and now stays home to help her husband with rehabilitation, and take him to bi-monthly check-ups in San Jose.
While Margarito was in the hospital, friends in Carson Valley held a fundraiser for the family, earning them $15,000.
“Many friends sent me pictures and texts that night. It made me cry. This is such a good community that cares for each other, no matter who you are. There was a lot of good people behind this,” Eddy said. “I want to say thank you so much to the community. The money we got is helping a lot. We’re still making the car payment and mortgage.”
The Meza’s children Edna, Rocio, Karla and Joshua helped organize the fundraiser along with their friends.
The Douglas High culinary students cooked, Joshua’s Pop Warner football team helped cook and bus tables, and Karla’s soccer team set tables and sold raffle tickets.
“We’re all really thankful,” Edna said. “It was really hard, but it helps you see who your friends are. Everyone came together, and it was really nice.”
Margarito was alone in the bucket of his cable truck when the accident occurred. CableCom is still investigating the cause.