Man's Paper Cut Turns Into Life-Threatening Medical Emergency
Remind me to be more careful around paper.
Back when I worked on the paper machines at Boise Cascade St. Helens mill, I suffered a paper cut or two. They all happened during the first week or so that I worked as a hand on the bond paper machines, especially the Number 1 machine, which made heavy card stock paper. The problem was that it was very easy to try to control the narrower rolls of paper by applying pressure with the palm of the hand to the corner of the paper roll. This was the worst idea ever, since it usually lead to a very deep, painful paper cut of about 2"-3" in length. Yes, 3". The first one was traumatic. I was pretty shocked. It was deep enough I thought I might need stitches, but I buttered it and bandaged it, and it eventually healed.
Over the next week, I had a few more, and then like magic, it stopped, and I never got another paper cut while working on the machines. I ended up bidding onto the Number 3 machine, which made tissue paper, so paper cuts were never an issue after that. However, I worked on the bond paper machines for more than a year without incident.
The paper making job was interesting, at times, difficult at times, easy at times, and totally exhausting at times. I had 16 hour shifts where the only break I got was the mandatory 15 minute meal break after 8 hours, the company even paid for the meal. I had some days where we did nothing but use the air hoses to blow down the machines for a half hours or so out of an 8 hour shift, usually due to a mechanical problem. And other days where we changed Yankee blades every 15 minutes, and had to slab 6 tons of paper off each reel due to the number of paper breaks/splices.
Once while working on the Number 2 machine, the front end of the machine caught fire. The rest of the crew stood mouths agape, so I fought the fire till the fire crews arrived. I am sure I wrote about that once here.
During the many years I worked there I learned a lot about people, and hard work. I found I liked work, and the purpose it brought. At the end, I realized that working without vacation, and taking every available shift, resulting in 3 or more, 12, or 16 hour shifts per week for five years was probably a bad idea. I ended up living in Mexico for the good part of a year, decompressing from too much work, before finally heading back to finish college.
Mexico is an entirely different story, and one I tell on occasions in dribs, and drabs. It was one of the best experiences of my life, one of the most surreal, and at times one of the most tragic. Fortunately, I was young and resilient, and willing to learn, and life taught me much.
I wish you a life without paper cut, but full of wonderful experiences. Get some!