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Archive for March 30th, 2008

My better half has come to a conclusion after last night’s attempt by the power supply to crush my left pinky. Her conclusion wasn’t:

  1. You are a wonderful man beyond description
  2. You are the best thing to ever happen to me
  3. I’d die w/o you

Oh… No. No, no, no, no, not those. What was her conclusion?

That I am a klutz.

Ow.

I asked her what she bases that conclusion on. So then, I will regurgitate her list and you can decide for yourself.

The Axe Incident

badaxe.jpg

As I was putting up a tool rack in the garage, I placed a few masonry nails to put the rack up temporarily to be sure that was where I wanted the stuff. I liked it, and started using the sledgehammer to put the lower rack up permanently. The self-camouflaged axe, the demonically possessed axe (click the pic for the larger view) leapt from the rack, came straight down and struck me in the top of the head – note the bottom corner where it was moistened with my blood and struck bone. I had a splitting headache for days.

The Cuisinart Incident
processor-blade.jpg
I had just finished making a sauce for some grilled fish that I was going to serve that night. It was a roasted bell pepper and saffron sauce that I put together in the food processor. As I tipped the processor bowl up to put the sauce in a ramekin, the blade threw itself out of the processor, lunged at my ankle, and stuck the point of the blade into the bone in my ankle. That was the first time I ever had stitch one w/o novocaine.

The X-Acto Incident
xacto.jpg
I was at work, trying to cut through a small block of nylon with an X-Acto knife. The knife chewed through the block in the blink of an eye (aware of my awkward and distracted situation, no doubt) and plunged itself into my left forearm up to the handle and a little bit beyond (the knurled part hurts when you pull it out).

The Mill Incident
veneer.jpg
Threatened with the loss of my job if the intake of the veneer dryer got plugged up one more time, I was reduced to frantically trying to get some veneer out of it’s tangled spot. When one’s arm is in a machine and part of the machine decides that it wants to (slowly) go through the location where your arm is, the result is very slowly created compound fractures of the forearm.

The Gym Incident
It was a light warmup as I had benched 350 the week before and I was pumping out a higher rep set with 225 on the bar. The weak wrist from The Mill Incident (above) gave out during rep #4 and the bar and weight came screaming towards my sternum (gravity was a convenient excuse for it, obviously). At that point the cartilage in my chest zippered and there was a really cool wet ziiiiiip sound as it hit me. A long story short, my spotter/buddy/x-ray tech guy was waiting with me in the ER. He kept saying that I didn’t really mean all the nasty things I said to him while he was x-raying me. I swore I did.

Later, the doctor came in and said “Are you married?” I told him no. “How about a girlfried?” No, I said, as was truly single at the time. I asked him why. He said “I just wanted to tell you to avoid the missionary position for a while”. See? Doctors can be lead-pipe cruel, too. He KNEW it was going to make me laugh and hurt like a sonofabitch.

She also added The Broken Nose Incident (water polo),The Motorcycle Crash Incident, The Gravel Plow Incident (using my face), and The Bicycle Spill Incident(s).

UPDATE: 05/08/08

The Staplegun Incident

I managed to flip it end for end, and forget the business end is to the left, not the right. While supporting the gun from underneath (so as to avoid dangerous positioning and/or misfires) with my LEFT hand, I drove the staple home.  In this case, “home” meant to sink the staple and bottom it out in my left index finger. It is called a PowerShot for a very very good reason, mostly because the powerful emotions it elicits when it is misused. Why is it you can never find a staple remover when you really need one?

These are all perfectly understandable accidents once you realize that life is out to get you. No one gets out alive.

So… am I a klutz? Is my wife (gulp) correct?

– LK

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Gotta whine a bit today. Can’t be helped.

It all started out in the foggy mists of time, a long time back, in the murky period commonly known as “last night at 11:30pm”. As I was lifting a constant-current power supply (10A) to get ready for a copper-etching session, I did experience an Incident.

The Incident did not involve the almost-unimpeded flow of electrons through my body, so please relax. I don’t believe in electrons in any event.

The power supply has a very generous supply of windings in it. It was made back in the days when throwing 30lbs (plus change) of copper into a 19″ rack-mount housing was pretty much de rigueur for a power supply. It also seems that a 17-5/16″ cord was perfectly common-sense in those days. Cord length and proximity of support for the chassis dictated that the supply would need to, comically, be rested on the sink.

With all due care taken to not exacerbate my neck injury, I carefully walked the supply up my body and positioned myself to place the supply on the counter. As I was easing the supply into place, the fact that it was largely being supported because it was hooked on the faucet escaped me. Slight movement towards me freed the supply and the heavy-gauge sheet metal mounting/cover plate saw it’s chance. There was a whoosh of displaced air as the supply whistled down and mangled the joint and tip of my left pinky finger against the counter.

Now, banging your finger with a hammer is one thing but applying that force along a line contact is quite another. What followed was a hideous crunching sound enhanced by exquisite pain and blood and a sudden cocktail of sensations: nausea, clammy skin, time-dilation, industrial-strength butt-puckering, and a tendency to sink to my knees (AKA “shock”). Very rapidly there was blood and swelling and I was unable to move my finger. Surely there were splintered bone fragments everywhere, requiring surgery if not amputation?

Leaving the wife and kids to their own fate, I put 2 gallons of gas in the truck ($20 was all I had) and drove myself to the hospital ER where they know me by sight and by name, and then patiently waded through the hospital’s first line of defence… bureaucracy, which is far superior to armor plating. Luckily the way had been smoothed by last week’s visit (another story).

Noting my untied shoe the nurse admonished me to be careful to not trip. I opined that tripping and breaking my nose would be the coup-de-grace, with the casual observer surmising that the two were somehow related. The humor was lost upon the ober-nurse, who is a second cousin to Nurse Ratched.

I was admitted for x-rays which were done by a lady who looked like Bob Newhart and spoke like Droopy.

An intern who looked all of 12 years old brought a packet of medieval implements of torture and the doctor followed soon after with a large needle and a sterile medical-grade bottle of muriatic acid. I surmised that this could lead to no good and conveyed my assessment to the doctor who merely grunted.

He skewered the finger near the joint and depressed the plunger while applying a great deal of force, and I swear this to God, he wiggled the needle. To my amazement and horror, my already twice-sized finger doubled in size again because of all the fluid, and swelled in a disturbing parody of advanced pregnancy.  During that process I exclaimed to Dr. Mengele “Holy SHIT! OW!” What was his rationale for this procedure? He didn’t want it to hurt while he was stitching my finger up.  Thanks Doc.

To wrap this up, no stitches were required and nothing in the finger was broken. It did, however get a brace and the ungrateful wretch of an extremity reminded me of it’s condition all night long by throbbing incessantly until 5:30AM when I fell asleep. Today it is twice it’s normal size and I cannot bend it. But it isn’t broken which means in a few days I may be able to type again. For a guy who uses the left CTRL key continually in CAD work, this is going to be frustrating.

Damn thing is still throbbing. Grrrrr.

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