English 202- McAllister
The Reason She Will Never Touch a Chainsaw Again
Around three in the afternoon when I received an unexpected text that read, “So I cut my leg open with a chainsaw today.” The text was from my mother, who was deep in the woods of New York State cutting down trees on my family’s property. At first, I thought she was joking because the previous year she had an incident with a chainsaw that left her pants tattered but her skin untouched by the blade. I texted back in confusion and worry. Would my mother’s leg get infected and fall off? Would she be able to get back to Virginia? Would she have to get a prosthetic leg? These were all questions whose answers I anticipated, as I awaited a text back from my mother. It felt as if I waited for hours to hear back from her. When she finally answered, she sent me a gory picture in which her thigh was ripped open in the pattern of the blade. I looked at the picture in awe, it was the worst and deepest wound I had ever seen. I wondered how it happened.
It was around twelve when it happened. I was in the woods with my family cutting down trees with a chainsaw on our family property. I cut a tree down and moved it with one hand while the chainsaw was in the other. The chainsaw was bigger than I usually used and I had not turned it off to move the tree. It was heavier than I predicted and it slipped and its blade ripped open my thigh. Blood started gushing profusely out of my shredded skin. I dropped to the ground and clasped my wound in efforts to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. As I kneeled on the dirt, a million thoughts crossed my mind. Could I have slashed my artery open? Am I going bleed out right here in these woods? Will I make it home to my children? I could not bring myself to inspect the cut to really determine the severity of it. My brother Mike- who was in the woods with me along with my dad and nephew- looked over and saw the fear in my eyes as I clenched my wound.
I looked over and saw her clenching her leg. She looked very worried and as her brother it made worry as well. I walked up to her and asked, “you cut yourself, didn’t you?” She nodded, so I made her show me what happened. When she released the grasp, that she had on her thigh it uncovered a gaping laceration that stretched across most of her thigh with skin dangling from her leg. My nephew made his way over to us to find out what why we stopped working.
I made my way over to my uncle and aunt to find out why they had stopped cutting. I asked, “what are you guys up to over here?” My aunt replied with an explanation that she dropped the chainsaw and it cut her leg opened. I was not surprised because although she is very careful, she had cut her pants with a chainsaw last year, she just wasn’t careful enough. I told her to show me the wound, and when she did it was disgusting. It was a deep gash filled with sawdust and blood. I knew that it had to be cleaned or that it would get infected, so I took my water bottle and shot water into her open wound.
He shot water into my open wound like an idiot, the pressure of the water entering my wound hurt terribly. I screamed in pain as the water splashed through my gaping wound. My leg was in piercing pain as I tried to stand on it. I did not think that I could finish the day of walking up hills and cutting down heavy trees with amount of pain I was in. The worst part was when my brother took off his belt and squeezed it around my wound to stop the pain.
I decided to take off my belt and tie it tightly around her thigh in efforts to cut off circulation and help stop the pain, and to also to stop bleeding. She screamed again because I tightened the belt. Her cuts started to gush through the tear in her jeans until eventually stopping. Although I felt bad for causing her pain I knew that she wanted to finish the day and this was the best way of helping her do so. She is tough and she continued to work until we finished many hours later.
I continued to work until around four in afternoon, spending close to four hours walking on my leg that was cut open. I did not want to waste the day because we had so much work to do, we still had to clear five acres of forest looking for bad trees to cut down. Even though I was in pain, I was able to hide it from my dad for the rest of the day because if he knew he surely would have made us pack up and go the hospital.
She was able to hide the chainsaw wound from me the entire time! I did see the cut it her pants and the blood that dried brown on them, but I assumed that it was from last year’s incident. She was right by saying that if I saw it we would have left; I don’t care how much work we had left, no one should be in pain for that long with the chance of infecting such a deep wound. It was very stupid of her to continue on with the work for as long as she did. There could have been serious implications, like losing her leg completely. I was very angry that she decided to keep it from me and pretend that nothing had even happened.
My father was very angry that I kept it from him, but I do not regret it because we ended up finishing all five acres, and we can keep the land now without being fined. I did not end up going to the hospital because I simply do not trust small town hospitals. I do not trust small town hospitals, they just seem sketchy and low-funded. I just bandaged my wound and applied Aquaphor daily and luckily it ended up healing well. I do wish that I went to the hospital because my wound did not heal correctly, I still have a giant scar. If I would have gotten stitches my scar would be a lot smaller. After coming close to cutting my leg the year before and actually carving into my skin this year, I will never touch a chainsaw again.