Unavoidable Dash Delay

Well, Jim thought he was going to get the dash in place and the bus started again yesterday. He was determined. When he is determined, things normally get done. Fast.

About 3 PM, I heard him come in the house and pretty soon he came upstairs to my office and said, “I think I need to go to the emergency room.” I was like “WTF?” Turns out he had been wire brushing one of the battery terminals and all of a sudden his eye started burning. He rinsed it out for a good fifteen minutes and said the rinsing hurt. This immediately registered on my radar.

About 25 years ago, I worked at a photo processing place. It was a great job and I loved having access to so many wonderful machines and equipment. And, yes, this is in the days of film, where we mixed chemicals and processed everything in very caustic chemistry.

One day I was standing by the large utility sink when one of the girls who worked there was getting ready to mix chemistry. She had the concentrated “cube” and as we were standing there, she dropped the open cube into the sink and the chemicals flew out of the cube directly into my eyes. YIKES! I immediately started rinsing my eyes at the sink but it didn’t get better. They were burning and so sensitive to light, I couldn’t hardly stand to have them open. I rinsed for a while; then we called the ER to tell them we were on the way in with a chemical burn. We took the cube with us so they could see what the chemicals were and I rinsed in the car all the way to the hospital.

When we got there, I was amazed. I was taken immediately into the ER where they lowered the lights. The doctor squirted some drops in my eyes and they instantly felt better, normal even. That was when I could open my eyes enough that I knew that my sight was OK. He held up the little bottle and said, “People think cocaine is all the rage but THIS STUFF is the real deal.” Whatever it was, it worked and I felt so much better.

Then they irrigated my eyes with a fall of water from about five feet above me. The force was necessary I guess. I didn’t care because it didn’t hurt, I couldn’t feel anything. This went on for a long time. After they examined my eyes, they said my corneas were burned, but not to worry because they heal fast. That’s why everything seemed so bright. They gave me some drugs and said to go home and do nothing but rest since that would promote the fastest healing. I had to go back to the doctor every day for like  a week to get them checked and make sure the cornea was healing with no infection.  They told me later that if I hadn’t been standing at the sink and rinsed immediately, I could have lost my sight. For a photographer and visual person, eye stuff is scary.

So I went home and as luck would have it, a friend came over that afternoon while I was resting on the couch. I told him about the accident and the rest requirement. As it turned out, he just happened to have some high powered Valium, 10s I think. He gave me a bunch of them. I took one and immediately went back to sleep. Every time I woke up, I took another one and went back to sleep. They worked great.

The next day when I went back to the Doctor so they could check the cornea heal, they were astonished at how fast it was healing. This is in just one day. I told them I was resting alot, but not about the Valium. They sent me home and progress continued until I was just fine again. I didn’t go back to work right away, and the first day I did, I got a little wierded out with the chemicals and had to leave. But eventually, I returned to work and everything was just fine.

But I digress, only to make the point that when Jim described what was happening with his eye, I suspected that he had cornea damage. Since he retired and we basically have catastrophic insurance, a trip to the ER would be super costly. His eye doctor office was closed but they said to go to an Urgent Care center. There is one nearby so we went.

It wasn’t busy, there were no other patients in the waiting room. Of course, there is all the paperwork, which I did since I figured they would want to irrigate his eye right away to avoid any further damage. We waited. We waited some more. After we had been there about 20 minutes, I was getting a little anxious about the irrigation that was not taking place. They assured us we would be seen soon and finally we got led back to another room where they asked all the same questions again. The we waited for the doctor. He asked all the same questions again. By this time, I was pacing the floor, wanting to begin the treatment.

He put some drops in and Jim felt better right away. This was looking familiar. Then he turned out all the lights and examined the eye with a black light. Cool man!

He did have some cornea damage, but unlike mine, it was not burned through. Like having an injury to your skin but the skin is not broken. He got some very expensive anti-infection drops and some pain pills (vicodin) in case he needs them.

When we got home about 4:30, he said, “Well, I guess I’ll call it a day today.” He laid down for awhile. Then we had our usual evening. He went to bed early and is fine today. Back out working on the bus.

Oh, and he wasn’t wearing goggles while he was brushing the terminals off, there was no liquid or acid present, just that gunky green stuff that collects on the terminals. Some of it must have gotten airborne and got in his eye. He is pretty religious about wearing goggles while using power tools or other times when stuff can be flying around in the air.

I bet he’s wearing them today…


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