New Castle News

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September 7, 2013

Josh Drespling: Recalling a pain I hope you never copy

NEW CASTLE — Prepare yourself as I unfold a tale of misery and pain that has befallen my mortal body.

It is a story that has made many others wince in pain as I relay my experience to them. I felt it only appropriate to allow you to feel the same sensations my friends did as they bore witness to my pain.

It was March of 2003, and I was working late, running a huge job on a Xerox DocuTech copier. A DocuTech is an extremely large production copier that is basically the size of a pickup truck. The job I was running required a series of tabs to be inserted throughout the books. It was a simple task and the machine did all the work. However, it ejected the remaining tab stock to a top output tray that would need to be emptied every 15 minutes or so.

To keep the machine running, we would simply pull the pile off without incident.

On the night in question I did as I had done hundreds, if not thousands of times, before and reached over to grab the pile of discarded tab stock. As I wrapped my hand around the pile with my thumb on the top of the pile, the machine discarded another sheet of the tab stock. This piece of cardstock slid across the top of my thumb, turning my appendage into a ramp that would have made Evel Knievel proud.

With what felt like the force of a Mack truck hitting me in the face, my eye became the catcher’s mitt for this 90-mph fastball. The corner of the cardstock hit me square in the eye and knocked me to my knees. What I would later learn was a 5-milimeter cut on my cornea just above and slightly to the right of my pupil, sent my body into full defensive mode. I could feel the rush of adrenaline as my whole body flushed and I started to sweat from every pore.

While still on my knees, I shook my head, half in disbelief about what had just had happened and half trying to shake off the immense pain that began swelling in my eye. I pulled myself to my feet and attempted to look around. My eye felt as though it were bleeding, with a pain that I would compare to being hit in the head with a baseball bat.

I eventually ended up at the emergency room and received an excessive amount of narcotic pain relievers that had absolutely no effect on the agony from my eye.

After spending a few days in utter darkness my pain subsided. But sporadically, if my eyes got dry, the cut on my cornea would be ripped open again and again, thus recreating my original anguish.

I had several ophthalmologists try to remedy the situation. The most aggressive approach was to have me lay back in the chair in his office, perfectly awake and alert, while he scraped the scare tissue off the surface of my eye. They also created a series of holes around the cut area in hopes that the tissue would create a better bond with the existing tissue. These techniques worked only marginally.

It has been more than 10 years since this accident occurred and still the problem persists. Just last week, I spent several days with uncontrollable tears and pain on the right side of my head. The eye is quite sensitive to light and the slightest breeze across the surface can trigger the pinnacle of pain.

So if you see me walking down the streets of New Castle with a red face and a blood-shot eye, remember that I have not been on an all-night binge or been bitten by a zombie.

I am just in pain from an injury that won’t heal.


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