I wanted to share an experience I had in early June, while working on my M tractor.
I was trying to free a stuck bolt, by using a hammer and chisel to give it just a few taps---didn't even hit it very hard. Suddenly I felt a sharp sting in my lower left eyelid, and blood started pouring all over the place. I realized a chip had flown off the chisel and cut my lower eyelid, but my eye itself seemed ok.
I washed it with water, the bleeding stopped, and everything seemed ok. Then 2 days later, I suddenly started getting intense pain in my eye--clear back to my ear and down to my jaw. In about an hour after this started, the vision in my eye had completely gone! I rushed myself to my doctor, who immediately told me to go the nearest hospital (Omaha, NE) that could do a CAT scan. I live in the boondocks, so it was a 100 mile drive for me to get there. They did a scan and there was a small chip of metal-about the size of a grain or rice--had passed through my eyelid deep into the eyeball itself. Worse yet, it had introduced a raging infection in my eye. I was rushed into 3 hours of emergency surgery, and spent 8 days in the hospital under constant anti-biotic treatement. They also had to remove my lens because it developed a cataract from the infection.
My eye has slowly recovered, but I still have to have a new lens put in. The doctor told me after an exam the other day, that I will have about a 25% permanent loss of sight, but said I was very fortunate. According to him, these type of infections frequently spread to the healthy eye. Also, he said he was amazed that I had overcome the infection as bad as it was. He says that even with modern antibiotics, deep eye infections are VERY difficult to treat.
To say I was stunned by all this is an understatement. I have been farming for 25 years (both livestock and machinery) and never had a serious injury. I am glad that I am going to (mostly) recover from this, because I have found out that only one eye you lose your depth of vision perception--and it is a real handicap!
Just be sure all you guys wear something when doing pounding, grinding, etc. I found out the hard way it is better to be safe than sorry.
zooeyhall, NE, entered 2004-07-27
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