My First Broken Bone

Years ago, Dad warned me that a tool – any tool – was: A.) Not my friend, B.) Wanted to hurt me, and C.) Is very patient.

I have never since picked up any kind of tool that those words did not come back to me. But one day, not long ago, I got careless.

My lathe was spinning a large piece of wood, ordinarily no problem, but I had forgotten to tighten one of the rear stabilizers. The log spun free from the lathe. Good news – it missed my teeth; bad news – it didn’t miss my nose. I bled all over the place, and in the midst of all that blood, I saw a ‘spurter’ – an arterial laceration.

Holding pressure alone was never going to stop this hemorrhage. I probed the wound with my finger, looking for wood or bone, and sure enough, there was a small flap of bone. Knowing it might heal leaving a bump on my nose, I tugged it free. Dumb. I only thought I been bleeding before. (You’d think a doctor would have better sense, but it was in the name of cosmetic results, after all.)

Next move, stumble into the house, leaving a blood trail behind me despite my pressing a towel to my nose. To the bathroom. Aha! I found suture, hemostats and scissors; everything a growing,  injured boy needs! I have sewn myself up too many times to be squeamish about it, but this time, I had to suture myself indirectly looking in the mirror; a ‘reverse image’ sort of thing. (I couldn’t stay ‘cross-eyed’ long enough to accomplish the job with direct vision.)

I poked the needle into the wound; then, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to ‘throw the knot.’ I continued to bleed. The risk I ran was Sabrina coming into the bathroom, seeing all the blood on the floor, and giving me “down-the-river” for making such a mess.

I made my way back to the ‘Animal Room,’ and as luck would have it, a Vet-Tech was working that day. I opened the door, Sally shrieked at my blood-soaked and dripping towel, this got Sabrina’s attention. She said, “You better not have gotten blood on my clean floors!” I answered, “Ah’ll cleed id ub.” (My nose was starting to swell.)

“Sally, cad you sew a cud?” ‘Can you sew a cut?’ She looked rather apprehensive, I thought. Her voice quavered, “I practiced on an orange once.” An orange or a surgical towel often serve as the first ‘patients’ for medical people learning to suture.

“Close enough!” We repaired back to the bathroom with Sabrina in tow scowling at the floors. It was clear, and understandable that Sally was very nervous. I introduced the suture needle into my skin again, and Sally, her shaking hands threatening my eyes, began a tremulous knot-tying. “Pull harder!” I said.

“But it will hurt!”

“Sally,” I whispered hoarsely, “Pain, no problem; bleeding to death takes priority.”

“My poor floors,” Sabrina mourned looking down.

Well, Sally’s last tug did it. Other than a trickle of bleeding, the arterial flow had been successfully ligatured. But what to do about the trickle?

“We’ll go downstairs to the shop.” “Right,” Sabrina grumped, “Why let the shop be the only part of the house to escape rack and ruin?”

I had decided to use Krazy Glue to finish the job, knowing we used it at the ER all the time; not

remembering that the ER version was rather mild, while the industrial grade – the one in my shop – was Napalm In A Bottle. Sally applied it.

“Dr. Garvin, Is your nose suppose to be smoking?”

“Under ordinary circumstances, I’d say ‘no.’ Do you see any flames?”

“No.”

At last, I’d caught a break! “Well, then, put down the fire extinguisher,” I said, as a huge heat blister took shape on my nose. But, I couldn’t gripe, at least the bleeding had stopped.

Sabrina, looking around, asked, “Anyone seen my mop-bucket?”

And so it was, my laceration, my broken nose, and my second degree glue-induced burn all healed very well, and I’m as ugly as ever.

– Lucky Garvin

Look for Lucky’s books locally and on-line: The Oath of Hippocrates; The Cotillian; A Journey Long Delayed, Campfire Tales. And Sabonics.

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  1. Wow. Great story. We are all glad that is behind you.
    Your wife earned her stripes on that one.

    Interesting more cursory solution some wood cutters have used in the field, duct tape and it works, believe it or not. I am sure they are happy to get those guys at the hospital. LOL

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