woodchips, sawdust and a boo boo

One morning last week I had just begun to work in the studio - about 40 seconds of grinding wood with a tungsten carbide wheel on an angle grinder when the one second it takes to injure oneself happened.   Ear protection, a dust mask (purple), anti-vibration gloves to protect against carpal tunnel, my hair pulled back in a ponytail and tucked under a cap... I really was wearing eye protection too but the boo boo happened.  Ok.  So I could have been wearing goggles instead of protective eye glasses but the goggles had gotten scratchy and hard to see through. 


Wood found its way into my left eye.  I rinsed it out with water since I hadn’t remembered to replace the eye wash in my studio first aid kit.  When it became evident that I couldn’t keep the eye open and work, I duct taped some wadded tissue over the eye, put on goggles along with the rest of my safety gear and tried to get back to work.  Both eyes were watering enough to quench the thirst of a potted plant.  I tried rinsing again, repatched the eye, called Cliff who was returning from town and asked him to bring me some soothing eye drops.  Then I tried to grind again but I couldn’t see through the non-stop tears.  I lay down for an hour in my studio nap room with the soothing drops in my eyes but as the pain and symptoms persisted it became apparent that I would have to see a doctor.

“You really did a number on your eye!” she said from the other side of the magnifying eye apparatus.  “Looks like a bear clawed your cornea in a crosshatch pattern.”  She flipped my eyelid inside out and removed a piece of wood stuck there before putting a patch on my eyeball.  Yup.  You read that correctly.  My eyeball was “bandaged” with a large clear contact lens looking thing.  I left her office with blurry vision, minus a $120 doctor bill, a $100.00 bottle of antibiotic eye drops and relief.  Phew!!  Luckily eyes heal rather quickly.  The pain persisted for a few days and one week later the vision is slightly more blurry than the right eye.  So the injury happened at the tail of 2011.  I have begun 2012 with a NEW pair of unscratched goggles, a fresh bottle of eye wash is in my first aid cabinet and my safety awareness kindly rekindled.