April 28, 2005

Where's the Left of Me?

So, anyway, about a year ago I wrote about how I strained my left arm while digging up a garden in the backyard and it went numb. It came back to life within a week, but it's still not back to a full state of normalcy. My arm feels weak, mu left hand shakes when I try to do precision movement.

About a week and a half ago I wrote about how my left ear had closed up much as it did a while back for 4 1/2 years. It's still closed.

So, today at work, I was cutting some oversized letterhead. It's oversized because it has a three-way bleed. (Meaning: the ink runs off the edge of the paper at top, left and bottom. You can't print a bleed straight-up on 8 1/2 x 11 paper because it will build up and the blanket cylinder and cause blotching along the edge of the sheet.)

So, anyway, I put a stack into the cutting area and reached for it again to jog it (make it a nice and even stack o'paper). My left middle finger scraped what is supposed to be the clamp bar and, instead, scraped the knife.

The sharpest things we encounter in our normal daily lives are kitchen knives. The blade on a paper cutter is a bizzilion times sharper than kitchen knives.

The knife, inexplicably, was hanging below the protective clamp. I merely scraped it. It took a nice red swatch of my fingernail and a bit of the skin beneath.


Lemme tell ya, I haven't felt real physical pain since that wisdom tooth extraction where the tooth broke apart and each root had to be extracted one-by-one.

But the pain wasn't when I scraped the knife, nosirree. It was when I ran cold water over the wide-open wound.


The injury itself was actually kinda painless. Y'ever put the * node of a D battery on your tongue? That's what it felt like -- only much more intense. Definately a warning of injury, but not really what I'd describe as intense pain.

It's bandaged now, of course, thanks in large part to the efforts and concerns of new Boss and his wife. They continually asked me if I wanted to go the hospital to have it looked at. "Bah, what can they do about it that we can't?" I stubbornly resisted.

But, it took quite a while to finally stop bleeding. I mean, it's a gash of nail and skin, not a mere cut that can close by itself. The dermis is exposed. Will the skin shortly become tough? How will the fingernail grow back in over it? I think I'd like to know what to expect here.

New Boss, Minuteman Jim and I spent about an hour examining and greasing the cutter's mechanical parts. We got the blade to consistantly rest above the clamp, but the resting place was inconsistant. We also wanna know why we don't have a frickin' manual for the thing. It's a frickin' machine, dammit. It's supposed to be doing the same exact thing every time.

New Boss is probably wondering what he's gotten himself into. I'm amazed at how little I've heard the jangle of the front door opening and closing and at how silent the phones have been. And, now, an injury and an issue with the cutter. I tried to assure him that this week is not normal.

Oh, well. I redressed the finger tonight. I read the instructions on the medicated pads I wrapped it in. Boss's wife put the first dressing on backwards. **sigh**.

I've seen plenty of press repairmen, who are former operators themselves, with fingers missing down to their second knuckle. I've been doing this work for over 18 years and I'm starting to wonder if it's just a matter of time before real tragedy strikes.

Busy day on the press tomorrow. Two big jobs need to ne delivered Monday morning. Wish me luck!

Posted by Tuning Spork at April 28, 2005 10:40 PM
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