Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How I Spent Two Months Not Making Pots. Chapter 2.

We last saw me heading into the ER:

So I quickly found out that the emergency room is not a fast paced, exciting place like it is on television. After sitting in my room for a good long time, someone finally cam in and made me unwrap the towel from my fingers and look at the unholy terror that my hand had become. The pads of my fingers were totally torn up, but surprisingly, bleeding very little. I half expected them to squirt all over the room, but they hardly even dripped.

I don't remember exactly what order they did things in, but at some point the nurse tried to numb my fingers, which didn't work very well. They still hurt where I had injured them, but also hurt at the base of the fingers where she injected the anesthetic. So she tried again, and they still didn't go numb. Maybe it was her first time? So I asked if there was anything she could give me through the IV. At that point she introduced me to my good friend Dilaudid. The pain went away, I stopped hyperventilating and shaking, and started to smile. Literally. I felt great! At some point I also got sent for xrays, which showed that I broke the bones at the tips of my two injured fingers. Great. That meant an even longer recovery.

After cleaning off the fingers and loosely stitching them "just to hold them together till the you see the surgeon", I was on my way. Only 3 hours and $4,000 (thank god for insurance) to do 20 minutes of actual work. They gave me the name of the surgeon to call in the morning and sent me to Walgreens to get some horse-strength pain killers.

To be continued.....

Friday, April 26, 2013

How I Spent Two Months Not Making Pots. Chapter 1.


Fingers are pretty important nowadays, especially to those of us who use them to make a living. Brains are important, too, but for a potter it's more about the fingers. My fingers and I have always had a good relationship- they put food in my mouth and pick stuff out of my belly button, and I keep their nails chewed down to a nice length and put lotion on them when the clay dries them out. We have a good thing going. But on February 26th I put our relationship to the test.

It was the day of the last big snowfall we had here in the Chicago area. The snow was wet and heavy, and there was enough of it that I decided to cancel classes at the studio (which I almost never do) and head home to clear the driveway. As often happens with wet, heavy snow, the chute on my snowblower clogged. Little did I know that even when the blades are turned off, they hold some tension and can kick when the clog is removed. So when I pushed the snow out of the chute, the blades moved and caught the tips of my index and middle finger on my left hand.

NO, it didn't cut them off. But it really was pretty gory and very painful because it totally chewed up the pads of my fingertips. At first I didn't even know I had been cut. I t just felt like the blades had brushed against my fingers. But when I saw that my glove was cut I knew something bad had happened. When I pulled off the glove it wasn't pretty. I ran into the house and yelled for my lovely wife, who brought me a towel to wrap around my hand. She ran the kids over to the neighbor's house, then drove me to the ER in the snowstorm while I yelled at her to drive faster. She dropped me off at the front door and went to park the car. I had to give the front desk all my personal information while hyperventilating and freaking out, then a nurse put me in a room that would be my home for the next 3 hours.

To be continued....