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Any Good D-I-Y Injuries?


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A short while ago, as I was checking my email on my iPhone, my eyes happened upon the scar between the thumb and forefinger of my left hand. "It's healed rather nicely," I thought. "Just enough of a scar that it will stay with me for some time, but not so bad that it's disfiguring."


It was a bit of a mishap with a RotoZip that occurred while I was trimming a plastic clip on a pet gate that I installed a few weeks ago. It turned out nicely (the gate, not the hand). I simply got a bit distracted while preparing to zip away a bit of the plastic and ended up zipping away part of my hand. I'm not sure what a doctor would call it . . . it was sort of a combination of a burn and a laceration . . . but it was simply one in a long list of self-inflicted injuries I've suffered over the years while tackling D-I-Y projects.


Some of these injuries have been unremarkable--I've abraded most of the skin off my hands in efforts to fish a wire here or replace a headlight bulb there--but some have been more noteworthy. They're the sort of injury that allows you to tell a tale for at least a few weeks and, if you're very, very lucky, may leave a noticeable but not disfiguring scar, something that can be the object of great amusement for years to come.


The small slices and abrasions aren't the whole story--I've had a few good injuries, too. Like the time I decided to restore the curvature of one of the walls in our Victorian home. It looked easy--a false wall had been built over the curved wall to accommodate a furnace duct. And it started off well. The drywall came off nicely, revealing the studs and ductwork beneath. My only mistake was in forgetting the laws of physics, which would ordinarily dictate that the best approach to demolition is to first remove the heavy stuff that's resting on top of the light stuff. Oh well--it only goes to prove that not every head wound that bleeds heavily warrants stitches.


My best injury, though, came on a clear, sunny day when I was inspired by the stunningly beautiful weather and the promise of a more lovely patio to engage in a flurry of D-I-Y multitasking. As it turned out, it served as a reminder that sequencing skills can serve you well throughout your life, and should not be forgotten when engaged in D-I-Y endeavors. There were quite a few things that God told me to do that sunny day--among them, cleaning the grill, scrubbing the patio furniture, and repainting the soffit on the garage that was adjacent to the patio (a lovely red brick patio that I laid myself, I'd note).


I gathered the materials for my tasks: the stuff to scour the grill, a fine soapy cleaner for the patio furniture, and all the things I needed to paint the soffit--paint, a stir stick, a good boar's bristle brush, and an aluminum ladder. It was one of those super-duper ladders that can serve as an straight ladder, a stepladder, or can be bent like a pretzel to do any number of things. God, I loved that ladder.


It all proceeded very well. The grill was scoured, and I moved on to the furniture. I mixed up a big old bucket of soapy water and set up on the task of hosing and brushing away the grime with great gusto. When I was finished, the patio set gleamed. Time to paint the soffit.


This is where the problem with sequencing skills comes into play.


I carefully positioned the ladder so as not to make contact with the electrical supply line strung between the garage and my house. I walked back across the patio, popped open the paint can, stirred the paint, and strode back toward the ladder. Brush and paint can in hand I began my ascent. It being a tallish garage, I had to climb pretty high, up to that point where OSHA and the product liability attorneys advise their ladder-manufacturing clients to put stickers reading "Do Not Stand On Or Above This Step."


Remember the sequencing thing? So did I . . . only a few seconds too late. You see the problem was that in striding back and forth across the patio, I had marched quite proudly through a nice quantity of soapy water.


So there I was . . . on the ladder . . . standing "Above This Step" . . . when my balance shifted ever so microscopically. It was probably a matter of angstroms. But that was enough. One foot--which had been ever so slightly gripping the ladder through a layer of soapy water--slipped off "This Step," and it all began. Uttering those words usually reserved the the last seconds on a black box recorder, I began my journey.


It all had to occur at the rate of 32 ft./sec./sec., but each millisecond was a distinct epoch in my life. As I achieved separation from my paint can and brush, I was seemingly for a brief moment in a state theretofor only experienced by Wile E. Coyote, momentarily suspended in mid air. Beginning my descent, my left leg slid inside one of the steps on the ladder. My torso upright, the inside of that leg scraped along the step until just microseconds before a blunt force neutering, when my attitude shifted from head up to "prepare for a subdural hematoma."


Somehow, as I achieved a 180-degree rotation, my left leg cleared the ladder, and my right leg decided to take over. It introduced itself to the inside of the ladder. Now inverted and accelerating toward terra firma (bricka firma?) that leg took its turn, scraping both inner and outer thigh against rungs of the Wonder Ladder. While this wondrous sequence of God's Plan was revealing itself to me, my right leg somehow slipped out from between the rungs, and I continued to a one-point landing on my back, expelling all the air from my lungs, down to every last molecule.


When you get the air knocked out of you like that, there's a considerable period of time when it appears you may never be able to take that initial, life-saving breath of air, but ultimately it happened. Then it's time to run the checklist:


-Vision . . . check, I can see the leaves on the tree.


-Hearing . . . check, though maybe it's not crickets I'm hearing.


-Toes and fingers . . . check, they seem to be moving. But then I've heard about the sensations that amputees have for years.


I laid there quite a while in all that soapy water, ultimately concluding that most of the functions necessary to sustain life were intact. Amazingly nothing seemed to be broken. But, golly, my legs hurt. Coulda been worse, though, as the God of Genital Protection seemed to have been looking out for me. I slowly got up and saw that my legs seemed pretty beaten up.


It took me about a half hour to more or less clean up. The paint can had landed on its bottom, so a bit of paint had splashed out, but it was really not all that messy.


I retired to my boudoir and proceeded to watch my inner thighs turn into a spectacular melange of black, red and purple. "Wow, this is magnificent." I had bruises that one would normally associate with a parachuting mishap. Long, chromatically spectacular sweeps of color that could just as well have been created by Franz Kline.


And the best part was that these were severe bruises. I probably carried those puppies around for five or six weeks, and I made sure that I wore shorts on every possible occasion, the better to regale my audience with the tale of the unfortunate juxtaposition of gravity, low friction, and paint. Truly, that was one of the best period of my life--injuries that looked horrific, but didn't hurt all that much. Sometimes life is very, very good. Sadly, they did heal and I have no scars to show for it.


Have you ever stupidly hurt yourself, trying to save time, money, or inconvenience? I'd just love to hear about it.

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Have you ever stupidly hurt yourself, trying to save time, money, or inconvenience? I'd just love to hear about it.


I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.











...and I'm not going to let my wife see your post!

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Not TO me, but it affected me so here goes;


About 5 years ago, my long time riding partner, 3 days before our annual big trip see's a dove nest up in his eaves and decides to see what was in there, and clear away the debris to see the nest more clearly. Early in the morning (he is retired) climbs up the ladder in nothing but his shorts, and when he gets to the top, misses a rung and plunges head over heals to the ground, but one leg went through a rung and when it was over, the ankle and leg were broken in 5 different places. After the plate was put in, it got infected for almost 1 year. Now he still walks with a limp; has almost no movement in his ankle; arthritis is rampant, and the dr wants to R & R the stainless steel plate knowing full well it might cost him his leg. He still rides however. "Ol Gimpy"

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OK here's my best, and most embarrassing "injury". The injury was mostly to my pride since there was little physical damage as a result of the incident.


In my early 20's I worked in a small shop as a school bus mechanic. The shop was not the best equipped and we generally did pretty much anything that needed to be done. We had a prehistoric 5/8" drill motor that was roughly the size and weight of a 7 hp Evinrude outboard.


Though old, the drill was extremely powerful, apparently indestructible and there was little that could even slow it down. Owing to the dull condition of most of the drill bits in the shop the usual end result was that holes materialized through extreme physical exersion resulting in a red hot smoking rod that burned its way through any object defiant enough to resist. It's probably worth mentioning here that I was a bit of a rock and roller in my youth and the “proper” length hair to prove it.


On the day of "the incident" I was fabricating something or other and had a heavy steel plate clamped in a large bench vise in preparation to drilling. As I bore down on the drill, a lock of my stylish hair dangled near the shaft on the old drill. Perhaps it was the sweat dripping in my eyes or maybe the bulging veins in my neck that prevented me noticing the proximity of my hair to the shaft; regardless the reason (you saw this coming right?) my hair caught in that shaft and, in an instant, my head began to creep, face first, toward the glowing, spinning bit below me.


As anyone who has operated a large drill knows, they generally are slow rotating and ours was no exception. The spinning mass of these things however doesn't lend itself to abrupt stops. For these reasons, despite releasing the trigger immediately, my face was dragged ever closer to the drill pulled by the entwined wad of my own hair. In what seemed like an eternity the drill finally ground to a halt (the good news). At that point my face was roughly an inch from the business end of the now smoking drill and held completely fast by my hair (the bad news).


Another hallmark of large drills is the general difficulty one has in attempting to turn the drill by hand (in reverse). Nonetheless, for the next five or so minutes I wound the drill in reverse by hand until the last bit of my hair was released. The amazing part is no one was there to witness the event.


And that is a true story.

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John Ranalletta

I'll vote for the Roto-Zip, the most dangerous tool in the garage, next to the 15k rpm router.


Landed in ER with left index finger slashed to the bone. It's been a few years, but I never handle that sucker carelessly or w/o heavy, leather gloves and eye protection.


The leather won't stop the blade, but they're just a reminder. Ouch...

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I think I posted this shortly after it happened, but here's the Reader's Digest version:


Aerating the lawn on a hot, humid day. Boredom and fatigue set in. Right leg started getting tired from doing all the pushing down on the aerator. Switched to my left leg. Shortly thereafter started hopping up and down pogo style to make work go faster (seemed like a good idea at the time). Landed on right foot. Pierced clean through.


Aerator: 1, Right Foot (and boot): 0



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Funny you should post this today.


I happen to be reading this from home, as I just got back from a visit to my Doctor, which resulted in an MRI, and a CT scan this afternoon. It's never a good thing when your Doctor looks at an X-ray, scratches his chin, looks at you and says:


"Well, I've never seen one of those before. You've managed to fracture your shoulder blade. I can't imagine what your rotator cuff looks like."


Bad wakeboard landing, two weekends ago - trying to save time in getting to the dock a bit too quickly (albeit non DIY related). I was wondering why the Advil didn't really help that much. Off to the Orthodpedic surgeon I go...

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When I was 15 years old, I was very lucky to own a brand new 1969 Yamaha 100. Like many bikes back in the day, it had an enclosed final drive chain guard.

As a very smart and intelligent 15 yr old, I decided to take the chain guard off to clean, oil and adjust the chain.

What better way to clean the chain than to put the bike on the center stand, start the engine and let the bike idle in first gear with the rear wheel revolving off the ground? Just wipe the moving chain with a rag, right? All was fine until the rag got sucked into the rear sprocket and took my right thumb with it.

I live with an amputation to this day. Fortunately only took the tip off..


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Oh jeez -- just what I need. I'm planning to demolish/rebuild a deck when cooler weather returns to Atlanta. A building permit is required to build a new deck, but not to "repair" an existing deck, so I'm going to repair the sucker with 90% new materials. In 63 years, I haven't amputated anything yet, but I do have some good scars on my right hand (I'm left-handed, so the blades/drill bits, etc. tend to inflict damage on the right).

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It might be easier to list the times I HAVEN'T drawn blood or suffered blunt-force trauma or electrocution during a project. Most of the time I have avoided trips to the ER.


My latest boo boo was a concussion three weeks ago while working under a cabinet in my in-laws' motorhome. A cabinet on which each of them had already hit their heads, and from which I already had one glancing blow. So, it wasn't like I didn't know it was there. Then, THWACK! I might as well have been doing this: :dopeslap:


I've had 2 prior concussions (from sports, not home improvement projects), with progressively worse after effects. This time, I made it into town and to my office the next day and thought I was OK, but within an hour I had to have Heidi come get me and drive me home. I was so woozy I became nauseated, and stayed that way for ~18 hours. Usually I wear safety glasses and gloves. Now, I guess I oughta add a helmet to my home-improvement gear.

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Back in early 2005, I was still putting together all the equipment to make Mojo. On March 22 of that year, I sent my brother the following email:




So this weekend I hung a pair of stanchions from the ceiling of my garage, with platform/hooks on the end:




The idea is that I hang a crossbar in the cradle formed by the two stanchions, and three tire bars hang from that cross bar; spray on the powdercoat, then grab the crossbar w/tire bars dangling and hang it in the oven for curing. Great idea, huh?


Huh. The ends of those stanchions are at forehead level. (you can see this coming, can't you?) I remember thinking I should put some padding on them, or at least round the ends so as to minimize injury in the event of head impact. Needless to say, I didn't do it.


Tonight, not once, but F'iNG TWICE, I hit my f'ing head on those f'ing stanchions. TWICE!!!!!!! Each f'ing time, they literally removed A F'ING PIECE of my f'ing scalp. Here's one of 'em, along with my short stupid f'in' hair. (do not click on link if you're squeamish...)



And here's my stupid F'IN head afterwards. (do not click on link if you're squeamish...)



Remember when Dad called us "goddam retards?" He might have been onto something.







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Mike, I'm not trying to hijack your thread for my own ends, honest, but...


On my website, at http://www.wildwestcycle.com/f_pain.html I have a page that deals with this sort of thing. I may even have mentioned it here a couple years ago.


What I'd like to do is ask your responders this: If any of your stories show the startling originality that would qualify the damage for inclusion on my site, may I? I'll give credit or not, as desired.



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I was about 20 years old at the time and working for my father.

Had to cut a hole in the roof of an industrial building out in the meadows of NJ. Building is about 30 feet tall with a parapet around the roof line about 3 feet high. No problem, I have a 40' extension ladder.


Set the ladder against the building, extend it till it is about 2 steps over the parapet and up I go. Building is nicely shielding me from what was about a 20 mph wind out of the opposite direction.


As I cleared the parapet, the wind got ahold of me and I and the ladder blew clear of the building and over backwards. I clutched that SOB all the way down. Thankfully into a swamp. Got the wind knocked out of me pretty good, I couldn't breathe at all at first and was on my way to passing out.


Thankfully, I recovered but the hole didn't get cut that day or the next. When I went back, I was very careful to walk to the side of the building and check for wind before climbing up again. I also set the ladder at a MUCH sharper angle.

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Mike, I'm not trying to hijack your thread for my own ends, honest, but...


On my website, at http://www.wildwestcycle.com/f_pain.html I have a page that deals with this sort of thing. I may even have mentioned it here a couple years ago.


What I'd like to do is ask your responders this: If any of your stories show the startling originality that would qualify the damage for inclusion on my site, may I? I'll give credit or not, as desired.




I'm sure they'd all be honored. :eek:

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Not really a DIY as I was gainfully employed as a carpenter at the time.

It was however a very enlightening episode in my career.


We were working on a stick built multi-story condo complex in Vernon, BC. As we were on the third floor we would frame up the exterior walls on the floor and completely sheath them in with plywood.

Then you get the whole gang together and lift them into place, with kick boards of course to stop them from sliding right over the edge.


Once up you cut out the windows that have been covered with plywood and then, because skill saws do not cut close to the edge you lean out the window, reverse the direction of the cut.


That is instead of pushing the saw with the blade away from you, you are pulling it with the blade towards you. Exciting stuff right?


Actually when you are doing this all the time cutting overhead, underhand etc etc it becomes second nature.


Well I was working my way down the wall cutting out the windows when on one window while cutting the sill piece it seemed to bind.


So I backed it up and pushed through again. It still hit a hard spot. Again. Again.

I was really working it by this time.

Must be dull. So I pulled it inside to check the blade and stepped back from the wall.

A bunch of nails rattled to the floor. Looking down I saw that the front pouch of my tool belt was severely shredded . . . . .

And my 25' tape measure inside was cut in half as well.


I have four wonderful children, thank you very much!



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der Wanderer

Not nearly as fun... Good friend of mine did this:


Ball bearings. Air compressor. Idea: how fast can they spin?

Probably should not have held the bearing in his free hand...


20+ years later he shows the signs - damaged nails and fingers.

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Back in college I was a slob. okay, well, so I'm still a slob... But back then, I never bothered to shut the cupboard doors. All my food and dishes were conveniently in sight, so I could make faster decisions and quicker grub. One day I was poking around in a lower cupboard, and stood up. Whack! Right into the corner of one of the doors. Cuss cuss cuss. Then I had to bend down and root something out of a drawer. Whack! Into another door. Cuss cuss cuss, then I busted the door off the mount. I turned around and there's my stoopid brother giggling like a school girl. Hard to stay mad when people are giggling so uncontrollably.... My cupboards have been shut ever since... :-)

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  • 2 months later...

OMG'ness! These are soooooooo darn hilarious! I am sitting here at work.....should be working and I can't stop reading this! I have tears rolling down my cheeks, mascara all over the place and I am snorting! I know I am really, really, really sick to be enjoying this that much!!

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4th grade, walking back into class from Phys.Ed. up a flight of concrete stairs. Carrying a baseball bat over the shoulders with both arms up over it at each end. Tripped on one of the bottom stairs and couldn't put my arms out to break the fall, it wasn't pretty. Still have a scar on the forehead from it.


There are others : )

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Ok here goes, 1955-6 ... i'm 5 or 6. The family is packed up for a two week holiday in Baha California. I forgot a swim suit and ran into the house to get it swinging a self closing door open, than raced the closing door. My body made it fine, but i swung my arm through the glass pane, slicing the forearm 6 inches....

Mom of course wants a hospital, dad says, put him on the table, he cleaned it up with whiskeyand soap than sewed it up with a kit he kept for camping, put it in a sling and at about 10 pm we left for Baha... I was soooo proud of papa.

I still have an ugle scar 55 years later worn with pride.

Since than I've sewed myself twice

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Yeah, Mike I guess misery loves company! I'm remodeling my 3rd bathroom since February and 3 weeks ago I was tired, in a hurry and careless when I ran a utility knife across the top of my right pinkey finger severing the extensor tendons. So I had hand surgery and am wearing a splint as I continue the remodel project against my Doc's orders. this is just one of many dumb things I've done to injure myself in the quest to save time, money, etc.

Hope that makes you feel better Mike!

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Too many.

In no particular order, and w/out details because we don't have the bandwidth.

Ruined brand new Converse high tops when @7, the first time I wore them, by stepping on a nail that went all the way through the top of my foot. They were white shoes.

So, I stopped with the shoes, it was summer, going barefoot, walking my neighbor's dog, he wouldn't come so I turned to walk away thinking he'll follow.

There was a sprinkler (above ground) head right there and I ripped my foot apart requiring a rapid trip to the ER, we were stopped for speeding on the way, motocop took one look at all the blood soaking through the towel and escorted us to the hospital where we met the dog's owner, yes, he was a podiatrist. :dopeslap:

That took all summer to heal and when I could get back on my feet :/ I climbed a tree with my BB gun.

Decided to shoot something I shouldn't and the lever action rifle closed on my hand, ouch, causing me to lose balance, start to fall where thankfully the rifle became wedged at kept me from falling.

But, I was stuck, and the lever was pinching from the weight of me hanging.

Then the ants (S. Florida has these big red nasty ants that will hang in trees, I think they eat birds) came. They didn't take kindly to my intrusion and so they began to do what they do, repeatedly.

Now I like to think I have a high pain tolerance, but I did begin to cry, I was hurting in many places and in many ways.

Eventually I managed to tear my hand out of the wedge lever and not so gracefully exit the arboreal bosom in which I had been ensconced.

I stayed away from trees for a liitle while until I attempted to rescue a purse that was slung waay up into this tree. After all, I was a Safety Patrol, and it was my duty.

The purse was only 15-20 feet above the ground, but it looked like a 100 and the owner was a beautiful young girl who I was desperate to impress.

Up I went.

Down I came.

Landed squarely on the top of my head and couldn't move.


My friends got scared and ran, leaving me in the woods.

Several hours later they fessed up and parental units were dispatched.

I was easy to find since I still couldn't move.

Another trip to the ER, then hospitalization, and fortunately feeling returned over the weekend in the hospital and I was shortly able to move my extremities and function returned.

So I decided not to stray very far from the ground, for a few years, until once again I was smitten.

Working over on Miami Beach I met a lifeguard who was a chick magnet. He surfed, swam with sharks (and had closeup underwater pics to prove it). He also dove from the tower boards that some of the hotels had back then.

These were very high diving boards with a small tower that went up even higher.

The goal was to jump from the tower down to the high board and use the extra force to accentuate the dive.

So, since I wanted to be like him, and had seen this young lady I wanted to impress, I climbed the high dive, and jumped.


Eventually I began to dive, and dive, and dive.

I know I impressed myself.


Woke up in the middle of the night, couldn't see.

At all.


Fortunately the capillaries eventually returned to normal, and my vision returned over about a 3-4 day period.

Thinking I might better stay indoors for a while I got a job working in a large Department store where one day I managed to use my high school ring to pull off a finger.

Fortunately that only required 7 surgeries, stopped my participation in college sports and sent my career choice in another direction.


This brief review doesn't begin to scratch the surface of my talents. But time and space...

OK how 'bout most recent?

I don't drink but was opening a bottle for others, the corkscrew broke, in the cork, so being handy, I grabbed my channel locks and removed the broken corkscrew.

Fortunately I hit my teeth as I did this or I might have lost my grip on the channel locks and hit the wall or ceiling with them.

Turned out only 4 teeth were broken, easy fix.

Some people call me lucky.


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