I am going to try to give my account of the events that have happened to me in the past month... mainly my fingers being shredded by a chainsaw.
Obviously my fingers are getting better (I'm actually typing this, very slowly as opposed to hunt and peck with my right hand while my left hand whimpers in pain) but it still takes me a long time so my posts might be somewhat limited. If I keep up with this, the first one should be the longest one.
Since some people don't see me very often they probably don't know that I did this to myself. Hopefully this will catch you up to speed. If you heard the story you can read it anyways, I'm that interesting.
August 6, 2009 started out as a normal enough day at work. We had our morning break, had our regular discussion on how we would bring about world peace and then headed out to our first job of the day. Luckily for us the job wasn't ready. We were all pretty happy about this because it involved crossing highway 99 and setting up a ton of signs (for traffic control). We happily left, reveling in procrastination. Why do today what you can do tomorrow, plus as I said, it wasn't ready.
Off to Bothell we went for an ill-fated job on Lockwood road. Part of the reason we were so excited to work here instead of Lynnwood was because it meant a 'sign-cation'. For those not in the know this particular road was undergoing a widening thus requiring the utilities to move their plant back to accommodate the wider road and to do this they closed it.
I was feeling froggy so I decided to jump. I grabbed my harness and got in the bucket before my buddy Brian (a notorious bucket hog) could beat me to it. The transfer was easy enough to do before lunch but hard enough to be interesting I figured what the hell.
In order to begin the transfer I needed to top the pole (shorten the pole) so we could lift our line over the top and swing it to the pole about 10 feet behind it. In order to do this safely (har har) we make a cut about 3/4 of the way through the pole from one side and about the same from the other side about 4 inches below the first. This way the pole top doesn't fall until you break it away. I had just finished making my first cut and was about halfway across my second cut when the saw (electric) made an noise like it was bogging down then sped back up. It's hard to describe the sound, imagine the sound a table saw makes when it first comes into contact with wood. Unfortunately for me the sound the chainsaw made wasn't caused by wood, it was caused by a bad combination of glove/fingers.
Now the funny thing about this whole situation is I didn't even know what happened at first. I honest to God didn't even feel the chainsaw get me. That said, it didn't take long for me to figure out something wasn't right. Suddenly my fingers (the pointer and the middle) on my left hand felt like they had been stomped on. I stopped the saw and pulled my hand away only to find a hell of a mess.
Now I'm not one to panic but when you look down and see your precious left hand shredded things start to go through your head. It may be hard to believe but the first words out of my mouth were rated g. Thats right, I didn't even swear (swearing came later, and is still going for that matter) the first words out of my mouth was 'oh no' followed by 'OH NO!!!!!1!!!1!!1!!11!!!'.
I immediately began to boom down to the ground, repeating oh no over and over again. As I was making my decent Brian had noticed that something was wrong. Seeing my shredded hand and glove he deduced that I had cut my fingers off with the saw and immediately called 911.
For some reason contact with the ground freed up my mouth to become more creative with words to use, most of which I won't repeat here. As I got out of the bucket I pulled my glove off and threw it to the ground, I figured the longer I waited to pull it over my fingers, the worse it'd be. Dave, another one of my coworkers immediately started scavenging for a towel to wrap my fingers. The first thing he pulled out was a filthy dirty cloth... oh hell no, I wasn't bleeding to death. After further scrounging we found some clean paper towels and I wrapped my fingers and applied pressure (luckily I'm a first-aid savant).
Now if anybody reading this has ever been badly injured you know the feeling of adrenaline that comes along with it and let me tell you, I was juiced. Shane (another coworker) and Dave tried to get me to sit down while Brian went to look at the street signs for the ambulance. Anybody that knows me knows I'm a stubborn ass so I wouldn't sit down. Brian was just about done with the 911 operator and saw that I was still wandering around. If I said I didn't feel like a scolded puppy I'd be lieing, he made my ass sit down (he used to be a volunteer firefighter and knew better than to let me wander around).
So there I sat shaking with adrenaline and trying to keep blood out of the work truck. It suddenly dawned on me that an ambulance was actually coming, for me, and this wasn't a bad dream. About that time I heard the siren in the distance and wondered aloud to my coworkers why they had to drive up making such a fuss. Seconds later the ambulance arrived, lights flashing, sirens screaming all for little old me. As I looked up I saw every worker on that road stop what they were doing and look at me. I've never enjoyed being the center of attention and this was definitely no exception.
The EMTs came over and took the paper towels off giving me my first good look at my newly modified fingers. They took some gauze and wrapped both of my fingers individually then taped them together. From there I was escorted to the back of the ambulance to get my blood pressure taken. I don't know what it was but I imagine it was a little higher than normal.
As they were wrapping up their quick assessment of me they told me I'd need to go to the hospital. Ok I said in a daze.
"What hospital do you want to go to bud?"
No freaking clue. Up until this question I'd been very clear headed. I told them my full name, address, age, etc. without any problem but a hospital, come on. I've lived in this area for 17 years and at that moment I couldn't name a hospital in the world, let alone in Washington. About the time my brain was accepting I had to go to a hospital one of the EMTs suggested a coworker could just drive me. I don't think I have ever jumped on an idea that fast in my life.
When they were going to drive me the were going to make me lay down on the gurney and strap me in. That was just as humiliating as having the ambulance pull up on the job site. As I looked up I saw my wonderful coworkers taking my picture with their camera phones (aren't they wonderful) of me sitting in the ambulance, I didn't think they needed any more of a story to go along with the pictures.
Brian pulled the truck around and one the EMTs gave me a towel 'in case it leaks'... yum. I got into the truck and off we went to Stevens.
Now, about this point I decided I should probably call Sarah and let her know what happened. Being the sweet and loving husband I am I didn't want to panic her so I composed my voice the best a could (still juiced on adrenaline) and dialed the phone. Now, I didn't have a clue how I was going to tell her without freaking her out. Our conversation went something like this...
her: Hey you, how's your day going?
me: If I had to go to a hospital, which one would be the best to go to?
her: Stevens probably, why do you ask?
me: I kind of cut my fingers on the chainsaw at work.
me: It's ok, the EMT said I'd need stitches. Brian's driving me there right now.
her: What? How bad? Do you want me to leave.... etc etc
At first I didn't want her to have to leave work. For those that don't know she works down in Bellevue and vanpools so it's not easy for her to get home in the middle of the day. After talking for a couple more minutes I decided it would probably be best to have someone with me to take me home, etc. Might as well be my wife right? She said she'd get a cab and be there as soon as she could.
After getting off the phone with Sarah I realized I had better call my dad and tell him before someone else from work did (we both work at the same place). I assured him I was fine and told him to stay at work and I'd be in touch with him later. After that there was only one more call to make to my mom. Luckily she was down near Bellevue and was able to pick Sarah up so she didn't need to get a cab.
Well folks, my finger is burning and tired so I"m going to wrap it up for tonight but stay tuned for tomorrows continuation of my harrowing story. More pictures to follow as well....