It finally happened, I had an accident with my chainsaw. I used to think that accidents were for people who careless, or for people who rarely use chainsaws. All it took for me was a split second of not paying attention and having my mind on something else.
There is this field I want to put some goats, sheep and some cattle on. depending on how the fence is ran there is between 5- 7 acres, maybe as much as 9 acres that needs to be fenced in. The last time this field was fenced was back in the early 1980s. Falling tree limbs, rotting fence post, and a variety of other causes have downed large sections of fence. All along the old fence row there are sweet gum trees that range anywhere from 6 inches to 2 inches in diameter. All of those sweet gum trees need to be cleared out before the new section of fence is put in.
Saturday January 18th was supposed to be a big work day. My wife and I had a friend of the family coming over, my mom and dad, and two of my wifes kids (my step-kids) were supposed to come over. My wife and I drove to the field which is a couple of hundred yards from our house, I grabbed the chainsaw and started cutting those small sweet gum trees.
I had been cutting for maybe 10 minutes, while my wife was pulling the trees out of the way. I cut a couple of small saplings, reached down to pick up a limb, went to swing the chainsaw bar out of the way, which is when the saw came into contact with my leg. Luckily I had put pants on that morning.
The cut and first aid
All I felt was a grabbing action, like something had grabbed my leg and then let go. I knew right then what had happened. I dropped the saw still running on the ground, dropped myself to the ground and grabbed my leg. My wife ran over and asked how she to turn the saw off. I said the switch on the side. She turned the saw off, got me on my feet and into her Tahoe.
By the time I got into the seat I felt like I was about to pass out. I may have been going into shock. My wife laid the seat back and I propped my feet up on the dash to get blood flow back to my head.
As my wife was driving me back to the house a friend of the family who served two combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq drove up. He looked at the wound and said everything was ok. The cut was not into the muscle and there was no severe bleeding. There was some bleeding, but it stopped in a few minutes. By this time the fainting feeling had mostly passed.
Once inside the house my wife retrieved a first aid kit that had been given to me by Red Flare Kits a couple of years ago. In fact, I made a video a couple of years ago about the first aid kit that was used to treat my chainsaw injury. I changed into a pair of shorts, got the cut wrapped and the bleeding stopped.
The plan for the day was to work on the field, cook some pork chops, sausage, boudin and burgers on the grill, everyone eat, and then relax. So as to not spoil the plans, my wife and I wrapped the injury, I sat down in my recliner and put on a happy face for my guest. The friend of the family and the step-kids took over cooking on the pit for me. After everyone ate and mom and dad were getting ready to go home, I decided it would be a good time to go to the Emergency Room (ER).
At the Emergency Room
Christus in Jasper Texas recently rebuilt their emergency room. The changes included a larger waiting area and more rooms for emergencies. My wife and I might have waited 20 minutes before we were in a room. After I was in a room a nurse came in to take my vitals and to examine the injury. A few minutes later a nurse came in with a tetanus shot. Even though I hate needles and avoid them every chance I get, I knew this shot could possibly save my life.
A Physicians Assistant (PA) came in a few minutes later, looked at the cut, then decided what course of action would be best. Rather than stitches she decided to go with staples. She said there was too much meat missing for stitches to hold.
The absolute worst part of the whole thing were the shots of lidocaine. It felt like the PA gave me around 6 injections of lidocaine around the hole in my leg. I kept reminding myself that if I can make it through kidney stones I can make it through this.
After the lidocaine shots came the snipping of flesh that no longer had a blood supply. When the chain hit my skin several pieces of skin were tore loss from the underlying tissue. With no blood supply the pieces were just dead tissue laying across the cut. These slivers of skin were around 1/2 inch long and had to be removed before the staples were put into place. The lidocaine did its job. All I felt was a slight pulling, and then heard the “snip snip” as the pieces were removed.
Next was the scrubbing to remove any dirt and bacteria. The PA used some kind of liquid soap in a squeeze tube to clean the wound.
Then came the staples, which were not that bad. The lidocaine did its job against protecting me from the pain. There were a couple of staples that hit tender spots where the lidocaine was not stopping the pain. Snip, snip, snip,,, 11 staples in all.
During the process of lidocaine shots and staples I did not feel like passing out, nor did I feel like I was going into shock. Things went better than expected.
Resting at home
The staples are supposed to come out in 10 – 14 days. During that time I can do no physically demanding activities. This means going to work, sitting at my desk, go home,,,, and that is about it.
Looks like working on the field has to be put off a couple of weeks. The biggest issue is pulling the staples loose, which may cause bleeding and risk of infection. So I am just going to take it easy for a little while.