December 30, 2005: Dad has a run-in with a table saw

Announcement: Yes the fifteenth annual SGL New Year’s Eve Party is still going on tomorrow evening and everyone is invited as usual. The party is expected to be very small and low key this year. No, we are not dressing up. It is casual. No, invitations were not sent out so don’t think that you are the only one who didn’t get one. No one got one. Don’t expect a lot of people. Just come and have a good time. People are invited to start coming at 7:00 pm but a lot of people probably won’t start coming until more like 8:00.

I had to be up early this morning so that I could deal with Dominica’s cell phone. She had it all packed up for me so that I could just grab it and run out of the door. I left the house at 8:55 and went down to Christiano Cellular at the bottom of the hill on Rte 63 and met Leo so that we could order Min’s new phone. The guy at the cell store said that that particular phone hadn’t come in yet (that particular phone being the VX8100 just like the one that I ordered yesterday – we decided that having the same phone is a really nice feature so that we can share batteries, chargers and accessories) but just as he said it someone from one of their other stores walked through the door with six VX8100’s so we were able to get Min’s new phone right then and there. That ended up being a lot less hassle than we had anticipated. It only took a few minutes to get everything taken care of. My aunt Sharon had ridden along and they were planning on going to breakfast at the Omega. They called dad on the way over and he was going to meet them at 9:15.

I ran home and dropped off the new cell for Min so that she would be able to take it to work with her and play with it today. Then I went out to meet everyone at the Omega Grill. Dad was just getting out of his car as I got there. We all went in and got our breakfast. Before our food arrived Shirley and Jim came in and we moved to one of the big tables so that we could all eat together.

As I was leaving the Omega I recognized one of the guys sitting at a table behind me from Castile Christian Academy and stopped by to talk to him and got introduced to Tim the electrician that is helping us out with getting the power for the computers at CCA. We ended up having a long chat and he was able to get a lot of necessary information so that he can get to work on the power lines at the school. He is planning on being at the school on Saturday so that we will be ready for the kids on Monday morning. Dad, Jeremy and I are planning on working at the school on Monday and we will have to see whether or not we can convince Dominica to go along as well. There is a lot of work to be done but I really want to get these computers ready to go so that the students can start taking computer classes as soon as possible.

I got home and dad and I made plans to get our usual Friday Fish Fry at the Omega at 5:30. I did a little work around the house and was just getting caught up on SGL when at 2:30 I got a call from dad. I was in the bathroom when he called and didn’t hear the phone ring but it had only been a minute by the time that I had returned to my computer and had all ready heard the message that he had left. I could hear the sheer panic in his voice on the message. He had been working in the barn cutting something with a table saw and somehow had managed to saw two of his fingers really badly. The ambulance was on its way. That was all of the information that I received. I called down to Richardsons’ and talked with Leo but dad hadn’t called there which meant I was the only person that knew. Fortunately (read: the Lord was watching over us and had me get ready for this) Oreo’s entire cache of blankets had been washed and had just come out of the dryer so I had four blankets ready to go for him. I grabbed all of his blankets and his pillow and pretty much ran right out the door. I called Min on her new cell and let her know that dad had had an accident and that I was going to his house to try to beat the ambulance since I had no idea where they were going to be taking him. I had called him back as soon as I had heard the message but he wasn’t able to answer the phone.

I drove as quickly as I could but there were so many slow people on the road (and by slow I mean driving through town at 25 mph!!) that it took me forever to get over to the farm. Sharon and Leo managed to get over there faster than I did but only by a minute. Dad was still there when I got there. The EMTs had been there for a while but the ambulance had had to come from Pembroke and they had just loaded him into it at that point. I made it just in time to get to the open door as they were closing it so that dad could see that I was there. He waved to me with his heavily bandaged hand and they closed the ambulance door.

The EMT told me that they didn’t know how badly the fingers were damaged but that dad was fine. They knew that the blood loss was reasonable and not a problem. They had him on pain killers and the fingers were still attached. They had no idea whether or not the bone had been cut but they knew that the saw hadn’t taken them clear off. There was too much blood to tell any more than that at that point. Dad had gone into shock while the EMTs were thereThey told me that they were taking him to United Memorial Medical Center, UMMC, in Batavia. Sharon and Leo drove separately from me over to the hospital so that we would have the flexibility of two cars.

We were in the hospital for close to an hour, I think, before we got a chance to go in and see dad. He had to have triage and then X-Rays so that they could determine the extent of the bone damage. So that took a while and he wasn’t a top priority patient so that probably made things take longer too. I got to go in and see him first. He was in a lot of pain but they had him on some strong pain killers and that was helping some. He was able to tell me what had happened and we got the first take on how bad the situation was.

Dad had been using the tabel saw in the barn while wearing gloves. He was just making two quick cuts and hadn’t really thought about the gloves. At one point his hand just got too close to the saw and it caught the glove on his right hand and pulled his hand into the saw. The saw cut into the tips of his pinky and ring finger with the ring finger taking the worst of it. He was able to see the bone of the ring finger when it had happened. The X-Rays showed that there was bone damage to the ring finger but it did not look to be too extensive. His pinky did not appear to have bone damage but was still cut very deeply. They did nerve tests which dad did not enjoy very much and the nerves were working okay so they were confident that his fingers were going to be okay once they healed although his ring finger is going to always be shorter than it was since the saw blade ground down the bone.

It took about another hour but the doctor got dad all stitched up and got everything taken care of so that we could get him home. It turned out that the main nurse working with dad was once of his old neighbours, Shanon, whom I rode the school bus with when I was young. She lived about five or six houses down from us on Peoria Road so she and I were on the bus for an hour and a half together for six years or so from when I was in second grade until I was in seventh. She is probably two years younger than me. I haven’t seen her in eight years or so since Andy and I last ran into her when she used to work at Davis Farm Market in Pavilion in 1997. At that time she had said that she was going to school to be a nurse. So I guess that that worked out okay then. A year or so after that dad had run into her and she had said to say hi to me but that was the last that I had heard from her. It was nice getting a minute to catch up a little.

It was around 6:30 when I got to take dad back home. Four hours after he cut himself. Sharon and Leo left around 6:00. At that point we had known that everything was going to be fine and that I would be able to take care of everything from there. I got him to his house and got Oreo settled in as well. Then I ran down to Perry to fill his pain killer prescription and to pick up some dinner. I went to the Silver Lake Country Market and got toasted subs for dinner while I was waiting for the script.

I got back to the house and we ate. Dad was feeling a lot “better” by that point. The pain in his hand was getting worse as the lidacaine (I have no idea how to spell that) was wearing off but overall he seemed to be getting back to normal. I think that the shock of the whole affair and the general pain killers were wearing off and he was getting back to thinking clearly again. We ate and then hung out in the living room for about an hour. Then we went down to the basement and watched an episode of Chef! before I took off to get back to Geneseo.

Boy was I beat by the time that I got home. Very exhausted. There were a lot of SGL updates that needed to be taken care of so I got to those and did a couple of little things for Min around the house while she worked to get some stuff done for the party tomorrow. Then it was time for bed. She has to be up an hour earlier than usual for a Saturday tomorrow which is normally an hour earlier than she gets up the rest of the week. So tomorrow is two hours earlier than “normal” which makes for a long day. But she gets out at 3:00 in the afternoon so that she can enjoy the party.

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