My work at the winery is a physical job. From the start in the morning to the end of the day, I’m running, hauling, lifting, jumping, bending, pulling and plenty of other verbs.
On a particular day though, I had my fair share of mishaps.
In the morning, I slammed my hand between a piece of machinery and a fermentation tank, cutting the ring finger of my right hand on the knife sharp edge of the tank’s bottom hatch.
The cut sprang open with a torrent of bright red blood and a coworker ran to get the boss. After some first aid, I decided I was going to forgo stitches and just tough it out with some butterfly bandages and having my ring finger taped to my middle finger to prevent the would from opening. I also wore wore a latex glove to keep the wound dry. I spent the rest of the day using three fingers of my right hand and wearing one glove in what looked like a gimpy memorial to the late Michael Jackson. (My bosses were concerned and checked several times during the day to see how my finger, and myself, were doing.)
A few hours later, I was working on the catwalk above the tanks connecting a nitrogen gas line to a main gas line. We use nitrogen to “gas the tanks.” Filling the tanks with nitrogen prevents the wine from coming into contact with oxygen, which can “oxidize” the wine affecting its flavors and aromas. As I stood up from connecting the hose I slammed my head into a pipe and after unleashing a flood of obscenities I went back to work with a headache that lingered for the rest of the day.
Then, later in the afternoon, I was in the outside tool shed looking for a hose for a power washer. I found one lying on the ground and I quickly reached down to pick it up. As my fingers closed around the hose I felt a sharp, pinching pain and looking down I realized I had just been stung on the tip of my finger by a yellow jacket. The same damn finger that was taped to my lacerated finger!
My finger is doing fine and now I’m always sure of what is above me before I stand up.