December 31, 2004

Yeah. But you should see the other guy.

So it's Monday morning. The twenty-seventh of December, Twenty Aught-Four. It's chilly, (Well, actually. It's Cold.) at around twenty-seven degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily we are working in the part of the building that has some working heaters, so there's a little bit of sunshine in what has begun as a mostly dreary day. (Standard stuff there, up at 4:00am, on the road by five, on the job by seven, and nothing but a honey-bun for breakfast)

The rails are up and plumb, the "jack" is in the hole, and we are prepping things to get the "car sling" built. We placed the parts that comprise the "sling" into the "pit", and began our assembly process. Wait a minute here... let me tell you what a "car sling" is, so you'll get a better picture of what is actually going on here.

AS the name "sling" suggests (think of it like a sling for a broken arm) it supports the entire elevator. It is a box that is comprised of three parts: The bolster channels, the side stiles, and the crosshead channels. The stiles are the vertical sections of the box that the rail guides attach to. The crosshead is the horizontal section at the top of the box, and they attach to either side of both of the stiles. The bolster's are the horizontal section at the bottom of the box, and they also attach to either side of the stiles. The bolster's also support the platform, and (as you may have surmised if you are mechanically inclined) the rest of the car is built off of the platform.

In the case of a "traction" (the average person's perception of an elevator ie: supported by cables "wire ropes" from the top) the pulley (or "shieve") attaches to the crosshead. In the case of a "hydraulic", the jack attaches to the bolster's at the bottom. We're assembling a hydraulic, so everything is attached at the bottom. Now that you know what we're dealing with, I'll get back to the tale at hand. Ahem...

We had already set the Stiles up on some timbers (to get them up above the head of the jack, the top of which stands about four feet up off the pit floor, and had the top guide shoes mounted, so we were ready to put the bolster's on.

Since every part of the sling is lying in the bottom of the pit, we had to pick them up off of the floor to get them to line up. Now the bolster's each are 17 feet long, by a foot and a half high, by 3/4 of an inch thick. That amounts to about 700 pounds worth of steel. So we picked it up by one end to get started on getting it up to the stiles, but we really needed to pick it up in the middle so it would balance and we could attach both sides at once, so we set it up on the head of the jack, so we could reset our strap to the middle and get the thing raising up properly. So, one end on the ground, and just slightly past the middle is sitting on the jack. We've got it sitting on its edge there, so we had to hold it upright. While I was holding it up, another helper was trying to stretch his tape out to find the center of the beam, when it happened...

I got distracted from holding up the beam by trying to get the end of the tape on the edge of the beam. While was doing that, the beam decided that it was going to tip over, and I saw the other man in the pit (who was holding the other end of the tape measure) out of the corner of my eye. He was at the top end of the beam, and the only thing I thought of (in the split second that I had time to) was the picture of the channell jumping off of the head of the jack and crushing my compatriot. I tried to stop the beam from falling over.

(Reminder: 700 hundred pounds)

So when it hit, my hand was between it and another steel component of the assembly. BANG! (Many expletives and colorful metaphors deleted) "Are you all right?" comes from the other guy in the pit with me, and I am already heading for the ladder. I'm halfway out of the pit when one of the guy's up top says "No. He's not!" I get myself up onto the first landing, and pull off my glove, and I witness a really nice gash in the middle finger of my right hand. Blood is flowing freely, and the pain is like you'd hit yourself on the thumb with a hammer (albeit magnified just a few times).

(Backstory time kids. Insert "wavy lines of remembrance" here.)

There was a time when I was an assistant manager of a Burger King restaurant. I had the combination to the safe and everything, so I could count down the drawers, and resupply them with cash when necessary. One (late) morning, I was called upon to get some money for one of the register's, and I got it from the safe. I had (previously) been in the habit of swinging the door closed with a bit of velocity, catching it before it closed, and then closing it slowly before locking it. One time, I swung it briskly, and went to catch it, and wound up slamming the first three fingers of my left hand in the door. I screamed. I cussed. I got something to cover my wound. Then I passed out.

(Wavy lines return us to the future.)

I pack my wound with a few rags. Wander around for a few minutes, and then promptly pass out again. Within a minute or two, I've recovered, and am completely lucid. So I'm held to a prone position until the fireman, and then the EMT's arrive. They assess that I'm okay, and I proceed to the hospital with a coworker. Seven stitches, and four hours later, and I'm back at work.

Wanna see some gruesome pitchers? Check the extended entry.

That's the first shot of the carnage. Please note that it is now Thursday, adn the incident happened on Monday.

How do you like the stitches? And the swelling? And the blood marks, where the wound was? Thought so, but it's a reminder. Especially to me. Be careful of the things you can't control. Abide by the things you can.

Once again...Don't get in a hurry. You see what that can get you.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at December 31, 2004 12:07 AM


Oh my, that looks painful. Time to break out the over-the-liquor-store-counter-medication, I think!

Happy New Year!

Posted by: Sally at December 31, 2004 03:49 PM


My stomach just dropped into my shoes. That's nasty.

Guess you'll be drinkin' left handed for a while :-)

Posted by: Harvey at December 31, 2004 04:56 PM

Ouch, that's icky.

You poor baby *kisses boo boo*

Posted by: Machelle at December 31, 2004 09:03 PM

Youch! On a positive note, I think that the scars can be worked into a really good story for a date... you know, men and scars and stuff. :)

Posted by: Boudicca at December 31, 2004 11:43 PM

Hope the finger is feeling MUCH better by now!

Posted by: Teresa at January 2, 2005 07:25 PM

Do your damndest to keep that clean. Hand infections can be a bitch.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at January 2, 2005 09:50 PM

Exactly what Jim said. That's a nice little wound ya got there, bro! That shit can get nasty fast.

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