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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Tony Vickio Lap 18

Experiences of "The World Famous"
By: Tony Vickio

Painting at the Famous Race Tracks

Lap 18: PAIN

We hit the time just right on the two lane road to Elmira, no school busses. Greg didn't waste any time and we got close to the Hospital in about twenty minutes. Not bad!

The ride on the way there was filled with speculation on why he (the doctor at Schuyler) didn't want to mess with my finger. All you have to do is cut it and let the pressure out. That was my diagnosis of the situation. Just fix it! "Why do we have to go through this f***** mess. It's not that bad." I said to Greg. "Hey, you don't want to take any chances", he says. The road winds down through Elmira College, around a slight bend and off to the left, you can see the large, brick building that is St. Joseph's Hospital. "We made it and you're still breathing", Scott says, along with a half hearted laugh. I say back, "you ass****". Greg turns the corner which prompted me to say, "Christ, slow down or we will all be the f***** hospital!" When we pulled into the Emergency Drive Way, we all thought the same thing. "What the hell is that"!

Under the overhang of the Emergency entrance was a Gurney, complete with IV bottles, two male nurses and a female nurse. We get out of the car and the woman asks, "Are you Anthony"? "Holy s***"! came to mind. Before I could say yes, I was on my back, IV in my arm and I was being rolled to the Emergency room. They were asking all these questions as we were rolling down a hall. They were next to running. We stop, turn and I'm shoved through a door. They take my left arm and tape it to a tray like attachment on the side of the bed. "Do you feel OK? The doctor is on the way, she should be here soon," the nurse says. "She?" I say. "Yes, she is the best micro surgeon around", the nurse says as the door bursts open. I look and there is a woman, about 28 years old, red hair down to her waist, wearing a red and white sundress. This can't be! Did I die and go to heaven? She is talking to the nurses when she turns to me and says, "Are you ready?" All I could say was "I'm ready; I don't think I'll even need Novocain!" She had this smirk on her face when she said, "You’re right. We don't have time for the Novocain to work. I'm going to have to give a nerve block........minus the Novocain. And believe me, it's is going to hurt like hell!" "Oh, that's nice", I said back. "The nurse will be dabbing the sweat off you're forehead as we proceed"................ Mommy!

I look over trying to see what she is doing. She picks up this needle. It's not one of the plastic things that you get you're normal shots with. This is a NEEDLE! The tube is chrome and about an inch in diameter. At the top are two rings for you're fingers. The plunger has a chrome ring for you're thumb. She holds up a bottle and sticks the needle, which is about two inches long, into the rubber end of the bottle and draws the clear liquid into the chrome tube. "Knock me out!” I beg. She answers with, "No time!" She spins around, holding the needle straight up and says......."This is really going to hurt. I have to give you a "nerve block", without the Novocain". Where the hell the next comment came from, I still don't know. I say back, "Go ahead, I can take it".

I'm flat on my back, IV in my right arm and my left arm is secured to a stainless table-like platform. My left hand is also "tied" down. She says, " I have to give you three shots in you're finger". I say, "That’s not so bad". She comes back with, "No, you don't understand, I have to put the needle into the large knuckle, and to get it down in there, I'm going to have to move it around, in between the knuckle". I didn't even have time to respond! Holy s***!! She plunged the instrument of torture into my knuckle and twisted it around. No words to describe the pain, it was unreal! The nurse was wiping the sweat from my head and constantly asking, "Are you OK?" I couldn't answer. I couldn’t think. My entire consciousness was overtaken by the brutal pain. I felt like an hour went by, but it was only about half a minute, and she stopped. "There!" she said. "Holy s***!” I said. She turned to one of the nurses who hands her this rather large, strange looking headgear. She says, "It’s time to go to work. This is a magnifying device I have on. I'm going to cut your finger down to the first knuckle and clean the veins. “Oh sure, I can take it. Kill me, just kill me now, I think. I can feel her working on my finger, but now it's only a dull, pushing sensation. I say, "how far will you have to cut?" While she is bent down, working, she says, "As far as we have to. If it is in a large vein, we my have to go up your arm until we find the end of the contamination. This is why we had to hurry. This is classified as an "Injected Wound Injury, the most dangerous. Time is the factor. It also depends on what was injected and where in your body you did it. If the material get's into the bloodstream and get's to the heart".... She didn’t finish the sentence. It was all quiet in the room. They must have given me a shot at some point because I was suddenly all calm! Ah! I just layed there counting the tiles on the ceiling. My wife can tell you about my obsession with "counting things".

I was jolted by the doctor’s voice. She says, “You are really lucky, I got it all. The paint was thick and the veins in you finger are small, you are lucky. The nurse will sew you up and you can go." I thanked her and after I was stitched up, I walked out to the waiting room where I found my two friends, Scott and Greg. They were sitting there not knowing what was going on. "Hey! You OK?" they said when they saw me. I said, "Yeah, let's get the hell outta here!" They get up, slap me on the back and walk out into the sun.

On the way home we talked about how everything worked out to my benefit. I shoot myself, doing something stupid (cleaning the nozzle), Scott and Greg just happen to stop by, hitting the small veins, not shooting my hand or wrist, finding the surgeon in time...........Ahhhh, I didn't want to think about it anymore! Getting killed by a paint gun! God, where’s the glory in that? God what a day!

In my "easy chair" that night, I look at my left hand. My index finger is straight out, with the help of a white plastic splint. My whole hand is wrapped in white bandages. Boy! Is it starting to hurt! THROBBING! As I lay back in the chair, I rest my elbow on the arm rest and hold my hand straight up. That feels better. I think I'll sleep in the chair tonight. "Ahhh", I think as I lay back. At that instant, BOOM! A thought jumps from my brain and slams into the inside of my skull! "The damned grass painting isn't done. I've got to finish it tomorrow!" My wife hears me mumbling obscenities and comes out and says, "What’s wrong? What are you hollering about?" I say, "I just remembered, the damned painting isn't done!" She says, "Don’t worry about it. You can’t go to work like that. Look at how you are whining about the pain now. You'll find somebody to finish it. They can't expect you to go to work". "Sh**", I say out loud. As Harriett is walking back to the bedroom, I say, "I'll feel better tomorrow. I'll figure something out." I can't sleep thinking about this new problem. I get the phone and call Matt (the General Manager). He wants to know how I'm feeling and what happened. I tell him the story and ask if anyone took care of the "gun". "We cleaned it the best we could, it's all set, Matt said." "I have an idea", I say. "I will come up tomorrow and finish the painting, but I will need help, I only have one hand. I need someone to be my slave". Matt says, "Everyone is busy, so I guess I will have to help you." Have you ever had a premonition where you ignored it and it came true? As soon as Matt said, "I will help you", I got this feeling of pending disaster. Desperate to finish the job, I over ruled it and before I knew it, I said OK!

Lap 19: Not again?


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