I’ve been thinking about Col. Steve Austin a lot lately. You might remember him as the Six Million Dollar Man, a character from the TV series in the ’70s with the same name. After being seriously injured in a test flight, Austin is given artificial replacements for his legs, his right arm, and one eye. These gave him superhuman speed, strength, and telescopic vision. In the beginning of the show, a voice says, “We can make the first bionic man. Better than he was before. Better. Stronger. Faster.”
Not such a bad deal, when you think about it.
He’s been on my mind because of a few nagging injuries I’ve had in the last few weeks. They have been hanging around like a penniless kid in a candy store.
In high school I was a distance runner, but the long miles on the roads really did a job on my knee joints. I only run occasionally now – if I’m at the beach or on grass, where the impact is less jarring. Instead, I ride just under a 100 miles a week on my bicycle. I get the bulk of the miles done on the weekend in the morning. During the week, I have a 15-mile loop that I try to get in a couple of times. It includes a nice stretch on a four-lane highway, and some really serious hills on the way back home.
The problem with cycling is you get a whole different type of injury. If your seat is not at the proper height, you could mess up your knees, the vibration from the road adds up on your wrists, and you always have the possibility of crashing or getting hit by a distracted motorist. Or, as in some areas where I lived, motorists who think it’s great fun to knock you off the road.
So I’ve been having these spasms in my left knee throughout the day for weeks now, a wrist that is constantly sore (don’t know how I injured it), and my eyesight isn’t getting better like it did for my grandfather.
This became painfully clear as I was trying out Bosch’s new random-orbit sander the other day that is designed to reduce vibration. Steve Shanesy is writing about the tool in our next issue. While it clearly does a better job than other sanders I own, my wrist was killing me after only a short while. And the same thing happened this morning when I broke out my die grinder. Granted, I had a huge carbide bit chucked in it for a carving into pine, but the vibration from the tool soon left my wrist numb.
I remember a carpenter I worked with years ago. He was in his 60s and he taught me a lot of tricks on the job. Of course, when he started the trade, the air nailer hadn’t been invented yet, so because he swung a hammer for so many years, he could no longer close his hand completely. Rather, the closest he could come was to the shape of a hammer handle in his hand.
How are you dealing with injuries in the shop? Any recommendations for our readers?
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