The Importance of Safety

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


This is a stupid English essay that I have to post online to receive feedback. The purpose of the essay is to convince the everyday person of the necessity of safety. The kind of feedback that I'm
looking for is whether or not it will influence decisions that you do (or don't) make. Other types of feedback are also welcome.

Submitted: May 21, 2018

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Submitted: May 21, 2018

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The Importance of Safety

Always be safe when dealing with equipment, especially without supervision. You hear it all the time; don’t do that, be careful with that, don’t mess with that while I’m not around, etc. But one of the consequence of hearing it all the time, is that it is so familiar, that it goes in one ear and out the other. Typically, people (especially teenagers) are naturally inclined to act without careful consideration of the consequences. Thus, not acting on impulse requires proactive thought about what you are doing at all times when you are doing something dangerous. I learned how to do this the hard way.

The summer after my eighth grade year, I was helping my dad build a fence. I was using a metal fence post driver, a tube of metal, closed on one end with two handles. My dad had gone back to the house to do something, while I was out there alone. I was finishing up one of the posts, and was moving on to the next one. The fence posts are about six feet tall, and I had to lift it all the way to the top to start the process. I was feeling lazy, so I decided to swing the driver over my head onto the post, using the momentum to aid me. Unfortunately, It happened to come down too far to the right, crushing my thumb between the post and the handle of the driver. A fence post driver weighs about fifteen pounds, plus about a foot’s worth of gravity, ending on the sharp edge of the T-bar. Imagine stubbing your toe. There is a slight delay between the initial impact, and the tangible pain. It is a similar experience, but understably more painful. I was in shock. My thumb was spilling blood faster than I have ever seen in person. The scene was so unsightly, it seemed as though it had to be a nightmare. The signal that bridged the gap between the ghastly sight and a bad dream was the pain. I was confronted with the image before me, and the pain with me; I had to make it stop. A sizeable distance from the worksite to the house, and the shock of the wound had every intent to stop progress. Dizziness was ensuing, and the possibility of passing out was very real. If I were to pass out, help would not be on the way, and I may lose a finger. I made it to the house, perhaps by survival instincts, perhaps not. While my family was preparing to leave for the hospital, I washed the wound. I was again confronted with the sight of my mangled appendage. It is disconcerting seeing something so familiar as a finger, of which you have your entire life, to be blighted with gore and viscera. On the way to the hospital, aside from steeling myself against the pain, I feared that I would lose the thumb. The digit that sets us apart from monkeys and apes; to be gone would be impeding. Worst of all, it would be different. Because of that fear, at a very odd time for it, I began to feel remorse. I wished that decisions could be undone just as easily as they could be done; sadly, they cannot, and I knew it.

We arrived at the hospital in good time. I had soaked through the wash cloth that I was using to stifle the blood flow. I had never seen this much blood at once. Attempting to enter the Emergency Room, I promptly walked into the glass window, thinking it was the automatic door. At this point I felt as if I were sedated almost. I only remembered parts of the visit. I remember the doctor washing the wound with an instrument that was reminiscent of a turkey baster. He collected the overflow in a plastic container, and I remember it contained shards of bone. Bone is meant to be on the inside, and seeing is on the outside causes an odd feeling of mental distress.  The nurse gave me an IV, but in the process, she messed up, and allowed my arm to squirt a copious amount of blood. At this point, I was in too much shock to care, having soaked through my second rag, but I recall the blood pooling at my side. The whole endeavor was of course, excruciating. The finger was split down the middle, making the it look alien and unfamiliar. The doctor let us know that I would keep my finger, which bolstered my mental composure. This may have seemed like a favorable outcome, but little did I know, the worst was yet to come.

On surgery day, I was originally told that they would anesthetize me, and I would get my thumbnail removed, due to pressure building up underneath. However, when I arrived, I was told that anesthesia was unnecessary, and that I would simply get numbed. When the procedure started, they put two shots in my thumb. As trivial as a shot sounds compared to everything else that I have been through, It was a sharp pain, exacerbated by anticipation. Minutes passed, but I didn’t feel different, so they used two more. We waited a little longer, before using one more, and then beginning the procedure. My thumb was feeling tingly, but by no means numb. I told the doctor, but he insisted that we would start. As soon as he started prying, I felt the worst pain in my life. It was a different kind of pain altogether. There is an aching pain, there is a stinging pain, but this pain was unlike all else that I knew. I had him halt the procedure, and they administered two more shots of lidocaine. The process continued. I get some shots, they pull, I tell them to stop, rinse, and repeat. By the time I had fourteen shots of lidocaine, My thumb had a fuzzy feeling, but I could still feel pain. We decided that it was unlikely to get better, and continued with the procedure. As a thirteen year old, It was easily the worst experience of my life to that point. We would pause after certain intervals to allow me to regain my composure, and continue. The pain was so great, that I didn’t even have the capacity to think about the what it would be like without the thumbnail. After the nail was finally removed, the pain persisted. I don’t remember leaving the hospital, and i don’t remember going to bed; I only remember waking up in bed several hours later. I would have to dress and take care of the injury for several months before the nail grew back. And even today, there is a large scar that covers about a fifth of the pad of my thumb, on which I have no sensation.

Apart from the cliches, safety is important, and I am still paying for my neglect of it, to this day. When dealing with equipment, or a dangerous environment, make sure every action, step, or move is deliberate, and safe. If not, there are dire consequences. Remember that you can never take back an action, never repeal the sequela, no matter how much you regret it in the future.

 


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