It pains me to say this……but…

I am not invincible.

The human body can take but only so much, before things start to go wrong. Bones can take only so much strain, muscles get pulled beyond their means, and the mind is actually one of the most frail organs ever.

And I’ve had my share of pains through the years, both physical & mental. Sometimes more than one would think  was normal.

  • I was about 6 years old when I decided to help feed our dog by myself. Somehow I had my left thumb on the top of the dog food can as I ran the power can opener and sliced my finger nail right off.
  • In the 2nd grade, my sisters, the neighbor’s kids, & I were playing in the neighbor’s yard. Long story —> short, I took a bad tumble and my left hand was 1 inch higher than my left arm. A quick trip to to hospital and a cast up-past my elbow for 8 weeks, and I was as good as new.
  • In the 8th grade, my younger sister & I were playing tennis in the street in front of our house. The street had a moderate downhill slope, so I let her have the upward side (to even things out). After a while, so got pissed off at me and lobbed the ball far over my head, then slammed the racket down on the ground, and stomped her way back inside the house. After watching the ball fly overhead, I walked down to street to retrieve it, then returned to our house, retrieving her racket from the gutter where is lay. I was angry and tossed the equipment back into the shed, then stomped around the backyard, brooding. I wanted to punch *some*thing, ANYthing, but I new that if I punched my sister, mom & dad would kill me. Looking around I spied an empty rabbit hutch next to the shed. Instantly I unleashed a punch with my right fist and a split second later, I knew I had fucked up. I slowly walked into the house, holding my right wrist under my left arm. I asked my dad if we could go to the hospital and he obliged. 3 X-rays later confirmed that I had fractured my wrist in 3 places. Luckily none of the bones were out of place, so this cast only extended up to the elbow.
  • In the 10th grade, I was playing soccer in gym class at school and took a direct ball hit to my right middle finger. The splint the doctor gave me looked like I was “flying the bird” to everyone around me.
  • Throughout the years, our family utilized dentists that, shall we say, were…  not “up to par”. Tooth #19 has quite a long history with me.
  • In the late 1980s, I was helping a friend put lower control arm bushings in his ’70 Duster. Since I did not have a hydraulic press, I decided to use an 8 pound sledge hammer and a drift to try to drive the old bushings out. One stroke of my mighty “Thor”, I missed the drift and mashed my left thumb squarely against the work vise, turning my left thumb into what can only be described as a “Pez dispenser”. That would be the first of several times that my left thumb would (literally) take a beating.
  • While working at Manassas Dodge, I got a small speck of metal lodged in one of my corneas. I went to the doctor, who numbed my eye, then strapped my head in a skull-shaped vice. “Don’t blink” he says, as he slowly moved a micro-drill ever closer. 3 small drills and the metal bit was gone. I wore an eye patch for a few days, then it was back to normal.
  • One Friday at this same dealership, I got a tiny cut on one of my knuckles. As a mechanic, your hands take quite a beating, and even though this cut was minor, I washed it, coated it with medicated salve, covered it with a Band-Aid, and reported it to my supervisor. “You gonna live?” he asked and I agreed, then went back to work. The following Thursday, as I was driving my motorcycle to work, my wrist seemed stiff. The next day I decided to drive my car, but on the way to work I noticed my wrist was even stiffer than the day before. When I got to work, I walked into my supervisor’s office and said “You remember that little cut I got last week?“, then I turned my arm over, showing him a blood vein with a dark streak running towards my hand. He turned pale white and said “You get to the doctor, NOW“. Off to the doctor I went, who admitted me to the hospital (the only time I’ve ever had to stay in a hospital) where I was pumped full of medication, kept my arm elevated, and watched TV all day. My stay ended on Sunday afternoon, just in time to go home for a good night’s sleep before returning to work Monday morning. As an interesting side note, about 6 months later I saw the doctor who treated me on TV. I turned up the volume and heard the reporter say the doctor had been arrested for writing prescriptions to herself.
  • In the early ’90s, soon after I had moved to NorCal and landed a job at a computer company, I was out back feeding the cats on yet another non-de-script day. And as usual, the 4 chickens that happened to be living on this farm when we rented it came over and started to eat the cat food. Our cats, being tame city-dwellers all their life, would allow the chickens to eat the food, and then start meowing at me because they now had no food; so I’d have to feed them again. After a few days of this game, I decided to take matters into my own hands. One morning I placed a spring-loaded rat trap with just one piece of cat food on it. As expected, the chickens came pecking around and the largest one took the bait, getting his head snapped in the trap. All 4 of them are flailing around and 3 of them quickly ran away. I walk over and picked up the rat trap, expecting to carry it (and the chicken) out to the barn for a swift kick in the butt; but instead the chicken dropped out from the trap and began to flail around. In my efforts to avoid the chicken, I lost my balance and fell against my father-in-law’s pickup truck. As my body descended, my left arm was bent up and over my head, dislodging my shoulder from the socket. The chicken ran away, and I, mostly defeated, picked myself back up and slowly worked my arm back down to a point by my side. It was painful and I knew the joint was not in the socket. I knew what had to be done, so I ran my shoulder into a tree; trying to reset the arm back into the socket. It took 3 attempts, but my “pioneer medicine” did the trick. Once in a while, my left shoulder still reminds me of the event even today.
  • Then one time, one of my eyes started turning red. Not irritated red, but the white part of my eye started to turn blood red, filling from the bottom up to the top. The doctor said “It happens“, but not to worry. It wasn’t painful and my vision was not affected. Slowly over the next 2 weeks, the red color slowly drained back out ans my eye returned to normal.
  • In the early 2000’s, while working for a friend’s heavy equipment company, I stepped out of an 18 wheeler while carrying a steering column. There was only an empty bucket as a step, and of course it flew out from under my feet. I hit the ground back first, knocking the wind out of me. Then, to add insult to injury, the steering column I had been carrying, came crashing back down from orbit with me being in the landing zone. I rolled around on the ground for a few minutes before calling my girlfriend (now wife) to tell her how I had fucked up.
  • One day, while working to straighten a bent trailer draw-bar, the piece of 2×2 angle iron that I was pressing on with a hydraulic jack flew out and smacked me in the nose, knocking me on my back. A major bloody nose was quickly quelled by a semi-clean red shop rag, and back to work I went.
  • And then just last week, I stepped down from a structure onto an un-even surface, which rolled my left ankle. It’s a pain that is quite unique, and I know that my aging body is going to have to live with this one for quite a while.


  • And if that wasn’t enough, I badly sliced the tip of my left pointer finger on the edge of a large bolt that had been sharpened by constant wear against the ground.

About hemibill

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