Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Ow. My eye. Again.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the hanging lamps over the set exploded – well, the lamp didn’t explode, the globe inside the lamp exploded. This happens sometimes. Movie lights use globes (a fancy word for lightbulb) that burn at very high temperatures. Touching the glass of the globe with one’s bare hands results in a weak spot in said glass that after being at a high temperature will turn a funny color, swell up, and eventually… kapow.

This particular lamp was a Source Four, which, due to the way they’re constructed, are particularly prone to blowing globes at the worst possible moment (although they don’t usually completely disintegrate. Normally they just turn a funny color and stop working). Lucky for us, this one exploded when no one was in the set so the only person affected by the shower of glass raining down onto a very expensive sofa was the guy who had to vacuum it up.

And me. After several futile attempts to remove the remnants of said globe, I gave up and took the entire lamp down, lowered it to the ground, taped the hell out of it to stop it from leaking any more glass, sent it back to the rental house and then went on about my day.

Turns out, I managed to get several very small bits of glass (each about the size of a grain of sand) embedded in the skin just under my right eye. I don’t know if there were bits of glass flying about, or if I touched some and then rubbed my face, or there was blowback from when I tried to tug the fixture loose.

The eye started to get all red and puffy and when I ran my finger over the skin, I could feel the little bits of glass, but couldn’t manage to dislodge them. The doctor managed to get two of them out, and then told me that the rest of them would just have to work their way out and to come back when my eye got all sharp and pointy again.

Which is what I did – a few more office visits, a few more glass bits removed. I figured it would all just sort itself out in a non-dramatic way.

Then, Sunday, I broke out in hives. The first one was right under the eye where the glass shards had been. Then, yesterday, I had what looked like spectacles made of hives surrounding both eyes. If you’ve never had the bad luck to have hives break out all around your eyes, I can assure you it really. fucking. sucks. Luckily, it’s also easily hide-able with big sunglasses.

Then, this morning, I got a patch of hives right on the front of my throat – where an Adam’s apple would be were I male. So now, wearing my big glasses and a scarf around my neck, I went back to the doctor where he gave me some steroid cream to smear on my face and told me he thought I was having an allergic reaction to something in the glass shards (remember, it’s not normal glass), and until they finished working their way out, there wasn’t really anything he could do.

Bastard. Tell me something I couldn’t have figured out on my own.

Guess the steroids are working. I’m much angrier already and my eyelids are suspiciously muscular*.

At least the eye hives are much less noticable tonight. Since I have to work tomorrow, we’ll just have to hope that they stay that way.

*Yes, I do know the difference between anabolic and corticosteroids. Sometimes you have to work for the joke.

Filed under: hazardous, mishaps, Work

7 Responses

  1. Dave2 says:

    Oog. Feel better. :-)

  2. Annika says:

    Crap. That sounds wretched. Have you tried Draw Out Salve? I’m sure you’re not supposed to use it near your eyes but I don’t see how it could be worse than whatever is in the glass.

  3. Jesus, that’s one ugly, spooky story. I hate it when bulbs blow like that, especially when they’re up high where it’s hard (or impossible) to work from above the lamp. This is the first I’ve heard about allergic reactions to those glass shards, though.

    I’ve seen too many juicers — including some very experienced people who damned well know better — install new globes with their bare hands. My understanding is that the oil from one’s skin gets on the glass, thus causing unequal expansion as the bulb heats up and a premature bulb failure — occasionally in the form of an explosion. If juicers would just wear their gloves or use the paper inserts that come with new globes (included for that very purpose) during installation, such explosions — and the resulting shower of extremely hot glass — would be minimized.

    But because some juicer was too fucking lazy to do the job properly, you end up getting glass shards in your eyes. Nice, huh? That jerk goes on to his next job blithely oblivious to the consequences of his actions, while you do the suffering he caused.

    That pisses me off.

    I hope you have a rapid recovery with no permanent eye damage.

  4. nezza says:

    That’s really nasty sounding. Can’t you any sort of compensation for that?

  5. geekhiker says:

    Maybe it’s because I do photography, but anything having to do with the eyes kinda freaks me out. I can watch any scene in a horror film unless they’re doing something to they eyes, then I’m a goner.


    Hope you feel better soon!

  6. JCW says:


    The fates are obviously conspiring to blind my two favorite bloggers:–eyed-woman.html

  7. k4kafka says:

    Forgive me…I’m sorry, Peggy…but, I can’t stop laughing…

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