The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Hitting The Head On The Nail

On a recent web surf, I ran across this news story about a man who had self-inflicted injuries to his head from a nailgun. Luckily, there were no photos, (I don't do well with sirree) but it's still pretty gruesome thinking about it. At least it is to me.

Oddly, it reminded me of an incident from a previous position I had with a construction company here in River City. One of the many hats I wore at the time, was that of "safety director", and so, when an accident occurred on one of our jobsites, involving a man being shot in the head with a nailgun, it was my business.

I had assumed, because I knew the man had gone to the hospital, but had been released fairly quickly, that the nail had, perhaps, grazed his head or not gone in very deeply or something. Oh no. The hospital sent the x-rays to our office. And when I opened the envelope, I was in awe. Truly.

A 16-penny nail, is, if you don't know, a pretty good-sized nail to get shot into pretty much any part of your body, let alone your head or your chest. Actually, there's not really a size that works well in this application.

In any event, when I unsheathed that x-ray, I was shocked to see the 16-penny nail head at the back of his skull (fully embedded), almost directly centered between his eyes, and just slightly high. There was no way that brain matter wasn't engaged in this transaction. There were, if I may, TWO x-rays included. One a front view and one a side view. Neither disputing the other. I remember looking from one to the other and thinking that there was no way that this man could be ALIVE, let alone walking around functional.

I made copies of those x-rays to remind me of how sometimes, even in the face of what should have been a fatal accident, people can come through adversity. I kept them for years. Finally throwing them away just a year or so ago, when they'd become so tattered that any remote justifications I'd had, (which were primarily to mask my fascination and absolute incredulity), in keeping them didn't seem to matter any longer.

Interestingly, the story from our foreman, was that the man (a Mexican day laborer...I'll reserve comment on his immigration status as it's not relevant to the story) was reaching beneath a pair of sawhorses on which a crew was working with nailguns. A gun missed it's intended stud and instead, shot into the back of the laborer's head. At the hospital, the laborer advised police that it had been an intentional attempt on his life. The police were unable to find anyone at the jobsite that could (or would) corroborate his story. I never got the vibe, though there are some pretty seemly stories that come from this industry. I will say that he was back working, with the same crew, within a couple days, and that there were no further incidents of any kind.

I hadn't thought about that in ages...until I read that article. The advances in medical technology never cease to amaze me. That, or perhaps I'm easily amused. Sometimes, it's really hard to tell.


Blogger MJ Norton said...

Seeing what people can survive is usually both disturbing and heartening, so I wouldn't fault anyone for having a natural fascination with it.

Whenever I see a piece on someone having something embedded in his skull the first one I think of is Phineas Gage, who I first read about in one of those Ripley's Believe It Or Not collections as a child.

6/08/2006 9:51 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

I generally don't go looking, and if there is too much blood or tissue involved, I'm gone pretty quick. An x-ray (as is a medical diagram, in most cases) is a sterile enough peek that I must admit to some interest.

Had never heard of Phineas Gage, but read his story with some amazement. That someone could survive an accident like that at all, let alone still be functional, and given the medical care available when it happened.

6/11/2006 6:10 PM  

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