Category Archives: Safety

Ouch!

Ouch

Nothing like talking a long walk off a short pier. Hubby dearest went out to view the stars off the dock unaware the dock was closed for repairs. The dock owners assumed everyone had been informed and since they were planning on being back to finish the repairs very early in the morning, they didn’t physically block the dock off. Also because of the repairs the lights were not working. Dick walked along looking up at the stars, and abruptly dropped about eight feet into a foot and a half of cold water over an oyster bed. Amazingly enough, he was basically unhurt except for a lot of superficial cuts and bruises.He couldn’t find his glasses in the dark and he was bleeding from his head and hands. He had about 50 small superficial head cuts. Head cuts really bleed and so by the time he got back to shore, one side of his head was covered with blood and it was running down his jacket front. He was also shaking from cold and shock. Jack was just getting ready to go to bed and so the sight of Dick walking in the door nearly gave him a heart attack. Jack called me to come.

After a warm bath and check, we decided he didn’t need to go to the hospital. By some miracle all the cuts were superficial. I cleaned one cut below his lip and found a tiny bit of oyster shell and a splinter of wood that had to be removed. The rest of the cuts were not dirty. We go to wild places a lot. Our doctor sends us to these wild places with a prescription for antibiotics which we fill before leaving and strict instructions for when to use them. We decided, given how oyster shells are notorious for causing infections, that this was one of those times. I used steri-strips to close a nasty wound that might have needed stitches on one finger. I also used steri-strips to tightly close the wound below his lip where it gaped but I left a small portion open to drain in the region where I had picked out the foreign bodies. I figured that area would need to drain and it did for a full 48 hours.

Two days later, Hubby Dearest is up and about and doing fine. He has a very nasty bruise under his armpit extending well down his arm. His knee got good banging and swelled up horribly but that knee is troublesome and arthritic anyway so we gave it the ice/anti-inflammatory treatment. The bump on his head is going down. The swelling on his lip is going away. All the assorted bumps bruises and cuts are healing very nicely with no sign of infection.

We got lucky, very lucky. The tide was not quite all the way out and the foot and a half of water probably cushioned his fall. Catching his arm on the exposed centre beam probably broke the fall into two stages, reducing the impact even if it bruised him. I keep thinking of might-have-beens. He had been out at a meeting and just returned. Our host thought he had gone back to our trailer and I thought he was still out. I probably would have gone to bed in another hour or so and not noticed he was gone until I woke up hours later. No one knew he was out on the dock, so if he had been knocked unconscious he would have drowned or died of hypothermia before we noticed. He could have broken bones or gotten cut up enough to need a surgical repair. Sharks and alligators are a rare but certainly not unheard of sight around the dock. The only permanent damage that occurred is that we discovered his almost new jeans have a great big rip in them. That’s a pretty cheap price to pay all things considered.

The people who were working on the dock were absolutely horrified. They apologized multiple times. One young man came over and got into the cold water (now higher because the tide was coming in) in the dark with a flashlight and he retrieved Dick’s glasses for him, apologizing all the time. Amazingly enough, the glasses weren’t even scratched.

All is well that ends well. I suspect the folks involved in the dock repair will never again make the mistake of assuming everyone knows and not blocking access. We certainly saw lots of caution tape and wooden barriers all over as they continue their work. The other thing we discovered is I should probably have a tetanus booster when we get back. Mine is overdue. It pays to keep that up. You never know when a oyster bed might be your landing place.

Safety near the front of line.

FutureWe bought a lot of stuff to be done over the summer and I am slowly working my way through the list. My latest job is I got the two safety bars into the bathtub. I have heard it said that the way to stay financially solvent is to be very careful to distinguish want from need. I have found a good way to spot need is when you don’t really want it but you know you should.

Part of the reason I didn’t want to install these is that they remind me of old age, which is creeping up on us, and getting feeble, which I actually worry about more than dying. However, one of us already took a bad fall and at our age we’re entitled to a little extra security. And then again I know a woman who fell in her bathtub and broke her leg in a most awkward fashion and it was two years, four surgeries and months of physiotherapy before she could walk without a cane. She was 32 years old and an athlete. She had to pay to have her safety bars installed after that because she couldn’t manage herself. Now if I fall and hurt myself and need a long rehab, I won’t have to hire someone to install the bars before I can go home.

These safety bars are not cheap but I got some from the Sears Clearance catalogue so they cost me about half of buying anywhere else. They do the job just fine. They have been sitting in the bathroom in their box staring at me, making me feel guilty, since they arrived about a month ago. They should have gone in sooner. They were really more important than lights, tomato plants, curtains and new door knobs. Now they are installed, gleaming and all proud looking smug, finally.

These safety bars were a real pain to install. First I had to find the stud. The bathroom walls are done with plywood so the stud finder didn’t work. I kind of guessed based on the construction I viewed while checking out the support for the ceiling light. Then I had to drill a hole which turned out to be two holes. That is a two step procedure because the screws are a bit thicker than space between the tiles. This meant I had to first drill a hole through the porcelain. Fortunately, one of our cement cement bits worked very well. Then I needed to change the bit on the drill so it went into the stud. I ended by slathering up the big screws with bathroom silicon so that when they were screwed in, they were also sealed against water. The result is some very securely installed safety bars. I wouldn’t recommend climbing on them, but they are perfectly secure for grabbing.

Oh and I had one very nice experience. An old timer in town asked me how I liked my little house. I told her I loved it. Someone had built it right and I told her about how I had installed the ceiling fan and how well put together the house is and how much I appreciate the excellent craftsmanship.

“My brother built that house,” she said with a huge grin.

So thank you to the late Mr. Ben Lashewicz, a thoroughly competent builder, who built our little house in 1961. I appreciate your work. He built it for his daughter Patsy. Later on another Lashewicz lived in it. And it remained in the family, changing hands as the family grew, until recently. I just knew this was a much loved little home. One can feel such things.