Tuesday, instead of being on set, I was working with a friend in a machine shop, building some specialty lights for a gaffer we both know.
Which was great, as I really like the folks in this shop, and I was working for someone I like, and I was out of the bitterly cold wind that, for some reason, had been sweeping Los Angeles for about a week.
Ever since we had to go through a safety training class where a guy with 8 1/2 fingers told us that any electrical power tool would fuck us up and good, I’ve been scared shitless of them (drill press? Band saw? No, thanks. I like my fingers where they are – attached to my hands), so what I was mostly doing all day was assembly work.
Near the end of the day, I was installing a plug on the end of one of the fixtures:
Stock Picture courtesy of Hubbell.
One opens up the plug, attaches the stripped wires into the holes that will connect them with the prongs, then closes the plug and screws down the two big screws on the back there that act as strain relief (because if the ‘hot’ part of the wires are weighted or pulled on, they can come out).
These plugs need to be replaced quite frequently, so this isn’t something that is really all that new to me – I’ve done it thousands of times with no problems.
But as I was tightening down the second of the two strain relief screws, the plug, being round, rolled slightly, and the screw gun slipped.
Right into my finger, Phillips head bit first.
At first, I thought it was just a mash injury, which hurts like hell for a few minutes then goes away.
Then, I saw the blood.
My first thought after that was to get a bandage.
Then, I saw how much blood there was, and, upon rinsing in the sink, I saw the extent of the injury, and the metal dust that was in there.
So, although I felt really, really bad about leaving my boss there to finish up by himself, I went to the urgent care, where, after making me do paperwork for half an hour, they shot Lidocane directly into the wound so they could open it up with some sort of Medieval torture device and clean it.
The doctor informed me that screw gun injuries can’t be sutured because of the jagged edges, so I’d have to keep it elevated for the next 24 hours.
Good to know.
Next time, I’ll cut myself with something sharp instead.
Yesterday, I went back to the center for a bandage change and a checkup, which is when I took this:
....and that's why you always leave a note!
Entry point was just to the side of the nail bed, exit point (sort of, it didn’t so much penetrate as tear) is the big red blob near the tip of the finger.
Note this is 48 hours after, so a lot of the swelling had gone down, and it looked much better than it did Tuesday.
What the photo doesn’t really show is how deep it is. Frankly, I’m surprised that the doctor couldn’t see bone when he opened it up. Also, before they cleaned it the whole wound was full of metal dust and other assorted crap.
Plus, it’s incredibly tender, but much less so today, three days later. I had to turn down three days of work this week because it wouldn’t have been possible for me to touch anything and not scream and bleed.
I’m hoping to scare some work up for next week, so this damn thing had better heal up.
Filed under: hazardous, locations, mishaps, Photos, toxic waste, Work, health, phillips head, screw gun, screwdriver, thumb, Work