Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to not make homemade train tracks cost effectively

Do everything in making wooden train tracks, but don't follow the safety directions.

I've been making Thomas and Friends compatible wooden train tracks for my son after he goes to bed each night for the last few weeks with scrap wood thats been accumulating in my basement.

This past Saturday I picked up a 2"x12"x12' to do some testing of production directions I came up with the week before. I was to the part where I was making the grooves/tracks with dado blades on my table saw, and was making small, fast adjustments to the height of the blades when an accident occurred. The table saw threw a kickback and I tried to catch it, which is a big no-no. NEVER EVER TRY TO CATCH A KICKBACK!

My left hand slide over the piece of wood and I pushed my index finger into the cutting edge of the blade. Unfortunately, its not one of the fancy saws that automatically turns off when its touched by skin.

I immediately apply pressure right below the wound. I don't remember how the table saw got turned off, but it did somehow. I assume the giant bruise on my thumb is from smashing the power switch.

I run upstairs to the kitchen sink, dropping f-bombs as fast as I can breath. That is where I always go whenever I cut myself, which doesn't happen all that often. I'm not a swearing person; very rarely under my breath and only slightly more in my head, so this is an indication of my state of mind.

I don't know how long I was hunched over the sink trying to decide what to do next. At this point I'm too scared to release the pressure to turn on the faucet, which is a red flag. I try to work through if I can make it through the night and go to the family doctor in the morning or if I need to take immediate action.

I've not been able to get control of my breathing, and I'm starting to feel worse instead of better, so I let go of my finger and pull out my cell phone and drop it on the floor. I reapply pressure to the wound, and drop to my stomach on the floor. I pry open the phone and call my wife. She doesn't answer, and I leave a message that goes something like "I'm mostly ok. I cut my finger on the table saw." I'm still gasping for breath and grunting like a pig. I notice 3 drops of blood on the floor; thats the total extend of my blood loss. I don't know why I have the instinct to apply presure to wounds.

I then call 911. I give the operator my address and a quick description of the preceding events, then elaborate as I find the breath. She tells me she's dispatched an ambulance and asks if I'd like for her to stay on the line, to which I reply yes; I'm afraid I'm going to pass out if I don't have something external to focus on.

She asks if the front door is locked, and I say it is. She says to wait until the ambulance arrives before going to unlock it. When I do go to unlock it, I find its already open. Oh well, at least I had a small task to focus on.

The paramedics come in, and ask if I need to take anything. I go upstairs to get my work pants that have my keys and wallet in, but forget to grab my cell phone that I had set down. This makes the end of the night difficult.

I get into the ambulance, still grunting like a pig with breathing totally out of control. The medic wraps the wound and tells me the bleeding is under control, and starts talking to me about my breathing. He says I'm hyperventilating and becomes very stern about getting it under control before it makes the situation worse from passing out or going into shock.

I get to the hospital, get triaged and into a room immediately.

Once I get home,  I go back into the basement to turn off the lights. Facing the table saw again is not a comfortable encounter.

When I laid down to sleep one of our cats was eating goldfish out of a snack container on my wifes nightstand. I propped myself up on my good arm and yelled at her at the top of my lungs, then collapsed back onto the pillow sobbing. I had a lot of emotions from that night to work through.


Benjamen Johnson said...

I too have made some very expensive wooden train track, but I mangled my finger with a router instead of a table saw. I feel your pain.

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