Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The young engineer and his red shirt.

Seeing my daughter in her age of 12 reminds me of my youth. It also brings to light that her youth is quite a bit different than mine was.

If we (me or my 2 brothers or 2 sisters) got hurt when I was young, there was no calling of ambulances or rushed trips to the hospital. We had our wounds cleaned out with good old stinging rubbing alcohol, and them we got a bandaid. Or 2. Or 3. Or a wad of gauze and some tape.

I remember hauling hay wagons from the field to the barn and back again with the tractor when I was 12ish or so years old. This was a task I really wanted to do and driving the tractor on the road was still a privilege. When you are young and on the farm, you always want to be a bigger kid and be operating bigger equipment. At my young age, this hauling wagons task was a good task. It was a prideful task. It felt important.

Being the young engineer that I was, I had the brilliant idea to tie a twine string around the clasp of the hitch pin so when I had to unhook the wagon, I could just stop, reach back, and pull the rope and the hitch pin slid out of the draw bar (releasing the wagon). I still had to get on and off the tractor to hook up the wagon each load, but unhooking was a piece of cake. I used this new patent almost all day without issue until the last few loads. I dropped the third to last wagon at the barn and headed back out to the field with just the empty tractor since we were almost done and we needed all of the wagons back at the barn to uload them. I was driving along and all of the sudden POW! Something struck me in the head. All I saw was blood.

Upon initial inspection, I realized a couple different things. One thing was that although my rope-to-pin patent seemed brilliant, it had a dangerous flaw. If you didn't have a load on, the hitch pin swung freely around the rear of the tractor. So, if it is swinging around freely and hits a rear tire when the tractor is driving in road gear, what happens? (ponder ponder?) The pin launched off of the rear wheel at full extension of the twine string, made a arc in the air, and in finishing its rapid forward motion, connected with my forehead. It would seem it was almost impossible for me to use a better length of rope than I did to aid in injury.

One other thing I realized was that fact that head wounds bleed fast and generously and they can appear as if they are a lot worse than they really are.

Yet another thing I realized is that I wasn't sure how badly I was hurt and I wasn't sure I would be able to get home without help. So, I turned around and covered my left eye since I thought that was where most of the bleeding was coming from and I wanted to apply pressure to the wound.

I drove back home more or less on auto pilot. I walked up to the house and my mother was there and she saw me more or less bathed in my own blood by this time. She had glint of slight panic, but snapped out of it quickly. Then, without a falter, she dragged me into the house, pulled the good ol' alcohol out of the medicine cabinet, shoved my head into the sink, and doused me with it (to my dismay). I secretly thought to myself that the likelihood of me getting the rest of the day off was very high until she looked at the gash on my head. She muttered something barely audible. Then, she reached into the medicine cabinet for the second time. I couldn't see what she was doing since as a result of my twisting and fussing I had been reminded not-so-politely that it would be in my best interest to hold still. I felt a painful pinch near the wound, and then fingernails poking my forehead. She released her grip on me, and walked out of the bathroom.

I turned my head up and looked into the mirror. It was about a 2 inch cut. But, my beautiful Polish mother had pinched the skin shut and taped it. I the whole area was bright red, bleeding and it felt as if it had it's own pulse. Within a couple seconds my mother returned with a clean shirt for me so I could go back out and unload hay.

She told me to quit wasting time and get the hay hauled and unloaded. She told me I really wasn't hurt that bad and we would look at it again later. I stood there in shock of what just happened. My bubble was burst. My dream of having the rest of the day off was all but vanished. All I had to show for it was dry, menthol hair from the remnants of the alcohol, crusty, dried blood on my pants and neck, and a pounding headache. I wondered why she got me a clean shirt. I suppose she thought the neighbors might get concerned if I drove by smothered in blood?

I don't know. I guess times have changed?

1 comment:

  1. Sounded like a good invention but you could have damn near killed yourself !