Watch out for table saws


Just when I thought we were going to have a nice peaceful supper at our daughter’s home, my husband, George, decided to saw up some boards to use for a fire to toast some marshmallows. However, in one second, everything changed, and we found ourselves calling the EMS, because when he was using his table saw, the blade cut into his hand. Blood everywhere. Getting out the paper towels came next to keep as much of the blood under control as possible. And just then, we heard the sound of the EMS coming up the street. The driver and other persons began the task of seeing what could be done for him. As they looked at his injury, it didn’t take them long to tell us that they will be taking him straight to Riverside Hospital, because it is a case for an expert to either sew it all together, or amputate the necessary part.

Watching and listening to what all was being said seemed like it couldn’t be true. Just a couple of minutes ago, weren’t we having a family dinner? How could everything go wrong so fast? And speaking of fast, just that quickly he was put in the ambulance and left the rest of us standing there to figure out what we would do next. We had to decide who would drive, and how quickly we could get ready to leave.

Riverside Hospital is a long drive through roads being under construction and highways being congested. I am thankful for our son-in-law, Loren, for being the one to get us there. All the way there I kept thinking about how in just one second, that accident had changed our lives.

Parking in a parking garage is one thing, but remembering where you parked, and finding it later, is another. I read somewhere that you should take a picture with your phone so you can find your car more easily when you finally get to go back home. But, no time to stop to do that.

Finding Room 19 in the emergency area was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. That’s because it was late in the evening and no one was on duty at the front desk. We were supposed to use one of their phones to call a certain number that was listed. But just that quickly, an angel of a lady walked up and told us what door to open and which way to turn.

And just that quickly, we saw him. He was wearing a hospital gown and had a bandage on his hand. Some smaller injured places on his hand were overlooked by the enormous loss of what the table saw had done to his left index finger. But he looked great. He had been in the sun and had a farmer’s tan. His doctor’s name was Michael, and he looked very young to have so much knowledge of a hand injury. The main talk centered on the decision as to whether to amputate, or sew it up and hope it heals. X-rays were taken and showed where the saw went into his finger, but not totally through it. Soon, because it was George’s decision, the doctor took him down the hall and sewed it up.

It was after midnight by the time we were told to take him home and get some rest. And in the morning we were to call to get an appointment with a hand specialist.

So, we took him home, with a prescription for antibiotics, a couple of copies of the X-rays, and other important looking papers. The trip home was so much better than the trip down because the construction crews had all gone home for the night. So, it was smooth sailing as we headed north. It was about 1 a.m. by the time we got home. Just 8 hours later, we called the specialist, and she wanted to see him at 12:45 p.m. that very afternoon. So, we were soon on the road again to go to see Marlo O. Van Steyn, M.D., whose office was at the south end of Sawmill in Upper Arlington.

It turned out we had been to that same medical building years ago, so all went well with finding it. After the specialist looked at his hand, she and George had their discussion as to whether to leave in the stitches or amputate. Since George wanted to save it, the deciding factor was “you can always amputate later.” So, we were to go home and come back to see her in 12 days to have the stitches taken out. The main thing we talked about was that “it could have been much worse.” He is to get some rest, change the bandage every day, and definitely stay away from any saw, especially, his table saw.

By Kay Conklin

Contributing columnist

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

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