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Forum topic by Steve Kreins posted 02-16-2014 07:17 AM 1540 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Steve Kreins

358 posts in 1626 days

02-16-2014 07:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: safety clean space danger warning humor pain stupid stunt tip

Well, I have a confession to make. After writing a blog entry about Safety Concerns, I didn’t include A CLEAN WORK SPACE! I write a blog about Woodworking As Therapy since I have liver cancer. It’s been wonderful therapy so I decided to share some safety tips in a post titled SAFETY BEFORE THERAPY. I really should have included, Keep Your Space Clean!

I do a lot of my cutting, sanding and finishing in my covered patio next to my shop. In the past few days I’ve let sawdust, wood chips, pieces of cut off lumber and tools accumulate on the concrete slab around my portable work bench. In other words, I wasn’t keeping my work space clean after each session!

I went out this afternoon, legs a little weak, vision a little blurred from the medicine I’m taking for one of the side effects of chemo, and generally foggy headed. The next thing I know I’m flying threw the air, coffee cup in hand as usual and nothing to grab onto to break my fall. I’ve lost a lot of weight, about 30 pounds, but I’m still pushing 260. I hit a rough concrete lip at terminal velocity and landed on my right elbow. You know that thing they call the funny bone. IT’S NOT AT ALL FUNNY!!!!!

Now my problems were just getting started. Because of the chemo my legs are very weak and I couldn’t get up. Nobody was home and I didn’t have my cell phone on me. (Bad Idea) Because of the chemo my platelet count is really low so I bleed easily and profusely. My elbow is bleeding like a stuck pig, I can’t get up, I can’t call for help and I need to put something on the elbow to control the bleeding. The only thing I can see within reach (yes, I wasn’t thinking that I could have ripped my shirt and made a dressing), is a rag that I had used earlier to stand a piece I’m working on.

As the blood starts to pool around me I have to do something so I grab the stain soaked rag and make a pressure bandage for my elbow. I knew all that combat experience in Vietnam would come in handy someday. I now have a mahogany colored elbow. I’m thinking about finishing it with a few coats of spar varnish.

After about ten minutes I realize I’m in serious trouble. Not from the bleeding or a bruise on my hip, but from what my wife is going to do when she gets home and finds me laying there. It could mean the end of my woodworking or solitary confinement when she’s not there to supervise me.

This motivated me to give it every ounce of strength I could muster and I crawled to where I could grab my table saw and pulled myself up.

Lesson I learned…................ #1 Safety Rule, KEEP THAT WORK AREA CLEAN AT ALL TIMES DUMMY!

By the way, yes I prayed while I was laying there, “Dear Lord Jesus, please get me a bigger guardian angel that can hold me up.”

-- I thank God for everything, especially all of you!

19 replies so far

View Fettler's profile


200 posts in 1992 days

#1 posted 02-16-2014 09:14 AM

That’s a pretty tragic incident. I hope your elbow heals soon.

-- --Rob, Seattle, WA

View Picklehead's profile


1041 posts in 1925 days

#2 posted 02-16-2014 11:28 AM

That really sucks. Sounds like you’re one tough customer, though. Heal quickly and thanks for letting us learn from your experiences.

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1951 days

#3 posted 02-16-2014 11:38 AM

Thanks for sharing. I stumble over junk in the shop all the time! My floor is typically covered in shavings so the things to slip on are obscured, luckily it’s almost entirely a hand tool area. By the way, I literally laughed out loud at your prayer, it reminded me of something I’d do…

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View NinjaAssassin's profile


633 posts in 1720 days

#4 posted 02-16-2014 01:26 PM

I’m glad to hear your spill wasn’t worse – it easily could have been. Keep that workspace clean, heal up quick and get back to having some fun.

-- - Billy

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2070 days

#5 posted 02-16-2014 02:00 PM

Steve, what a great post and an even better sense of humour. I’m so glad I happened on this over my morning coffee.
While I’m not dealing with medical issues as serious as yours, I have turned to wood working for as therapy.
I particularly loved when you wrote:

After about ten minutes I realize I’m in serious trouble. Not from the bleeding or a bruise on my hip, but from what my wife is going to do when she gets home and finds me laying there.

Ain’t that the truth. Good long marriages do include damage control and serious editing at times.

I hope you’re recovering well from the elbow injury. In particular I hope nothing impedes your ability to write more of this stuff.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View AntarcticTraveler's profile


22 posts in 1605 days

#6 posted 02-16-2014 02:50 PM

Way to go Steve, in adversity you still have a great sense of humor. I can hear “I told you so” from my own wife should something like that had happened to me. Hopefully your wife has the same humor as you. Sure do hope your elbow heals soon so that that your woodworking shines as bright as you.


View David Dean's profile

David Dean

608 posts in 2894 days

#7 posted 02-16-2014 03:34 PM

Sorry about your actdint but I now how that fills and like I tell my girls a clean shop is a safe shop and that has back fire in my face a fow time’s with my girls but after my heart attk the wife and my girls got me a cell phone I dont like the thing but its my life line if anything happens so stay busy and keep the saw dust out of your eye’s.

View helluvawreck's profile


31044 posts in 2862 days

#8 posted 02-16-2014 03:42 PM

It is important for both safety and moral to keep your work area clean. It also eliminates a lot of the fire hazard as well. I’m glad it wasn’t more serious. BTW, I pray that your chemo therapy goes well for you. My wife is going to start chemo next week.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2432 days

#9 posted 02-16-2014 04:02 PM

Sorry to hear about your accident and glad it wasn’t worse. Your story made me think about what my shop looks like right now. I think I’ll be doing some housekeeping later today.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View tyvekboy's profile


1752 posts in 3008 days

#10 posted 02-16-2014 04:10 PM

Iʻm glad the injuries werenʻt worse. If youʻre legs are weak and head foggy, I wouldnʻt venture out into the shop. I guess you just wanted to be with the wood and sawdust and just look and dream. And yes. keeping the shop floor clean is a good idea.

I have several older friends that lost their balance and fell face first on the ground. Both were in the hospital several days. When I hear about trip and falls I think to myself, when I get to that state, Iʻm going to put on a bicycle helmet just in case I fall. Then Iʻll avoid a head/brain injury which would be a lot worse.

Get better soon.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View bigblockyeti's profile


5112 posts in 1716 days

#11 posted 02-16-2014 04:52 PM

I was just in my shop this morning, thinking I need to straighten up a bit, then came in and read this. Sorry to hear about your injury. I always have my phone in my pocket, but if I tripped and bounced my head off one of the many cast iron surfaces, it probably wouldn’t do me any good. I’ve found keep the broom and dustpan easily accessible makes me more likely to use them.

View Kelly's profile


2025 posts in 2940 days

#12 posted 02-16-2014 05:00 PM

Did you use three coats or four of poly? Opps, I mean, are you okay now?

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2685 days

#13 posted 02-17-2014 02:14 AM

Dang Steve! Really sorry to hear this and hope you mend quickly. I have 2 thoughts for your consideration:

#1 Don’t leave the house without your cell phone!

#2 “Cleanliness is close to Godliness”

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View grumpy749's profile


228 posts in 2373 days

#14 posted 02-17-2014 03:58 AM

Steve, ole buddy, you need to be more carful. Sure us telling you this will make you work safer. ’’ not ’’. Listen to your buddies. How in hell you ever expect to reach 90 doing fool stunts like that. The next time something like this happens, I’m phoning Judy. Seriously my friend please be carful. There is lots of things to do in the shop to keep active while your feeling poorly but running machinery isn’t one of them. Stay safe. Oh ya and about the wood stained rag you user for a band aid. very poor idea. This is a great way to get an infection. Hydrocarbons and blood don’t like each other and blood will never win that battle.

-- Denis in Grande Prairie. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mistery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.....Pink !

View Rick's profile


9592 posts in 3028 days

#15 posted 02-17-2014 04:21 AM

Hope you’re feeling better soon Steve.

This reminds me of when I had a general Contracting Company Specializing in Period Home restorations .

My Partner Dave would sometimes almost yell. OKAY! at Any given time. That was the signal to … “Clean This Place Up!” We did just that and IT Works! Now we’re back to a Nice Clean Worksite.

You can’t do your job properly if your tripping over stuff, can’t find the tool your looking for Etc.

That was a LONG TIME AGO. To this day I still do the same thing. Right in the middle of building something I stop. clean everything up, even if I put back tools I’ll use again. Takes maybe 4/5 Minutes. Then Start again in a Nice, Clean, Organized Workspace. It STILL Works.

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

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