Blood spurted out of the cut in my wrist with each beat of my heart. I had cut an artery. It was an accident. My wrist was spraying blood everywhere.
I was working on a colored glass sculpture using broken pieces of glass. It was a flower the size of a very large dinner plate.
I had reached over for the last black piece of glass for the center of the flower and my wrist came too close to the sharp pieces sticking up. The end of one piece of glass was razor sharp and cut my artery as cleanly as a surgeon’s knife.
In a slight panic, I realized my life was in danger and I should call 911 immediately.
But to stem the blood flow I had grabbed my left wrist with my right hand and clamped down stopping most of the blood flow. But this left me with only one hand to hold the telephone. I didn’t think I could dial with my nose. I had to do something.
If I could just hold my wrist with something to release my right hand, I could then dial the phone.
Duct tape. It was right there in my work bench. I pulled a strip of tape off with my teeth and wound it around my wrist. This worked enough to reduce the flow.
But a tourniquet would be best. So I grabbed a strip of cotton cloth, wrapped it around my arm above the wrist, clamped it with a pair of vice-grip pliers and twisted it tightly. Perfect. No more blood flow. I took another piece of duct tape and secured the vice-grip pliers to my arm.
My panic subsided. I needed to look at the cut, so I tried to remove the grey duct tape around my wrist. It was stuck like a new skin. I would have to cut it off.
Taking a single edged razor from my work supplies, I cut the tape, being careful not to cut my skin. I then pulled the tape off along with all the hair under the tape. Good. The tourniquet held the blood flow.
After washing all the blood off, I could see the cut was not that long, less than two fingers wide. So I dried the wound and pulled out the tube of super glue from the work bench. I applied the glue and waited a few minutes for it to dry.
I watched the cut for bleeding while I released the vice-grip pliers and the tourniquet. The glue held. The trip to the emergency room would not be necessary. How wasteful this would have been.
The emergency room people don’t always act immediately on a victim—I mean patient. And I could just imagine the nurses mumbling to each other after seeing the clean surgical cut in my wrist. They would put me where I would be under constant supervision. A suicide specialist would begin an interview, “Sir, are you having problems.” It would take me a long time to convince him that this really was an accident. I had saved myself a lot of time, trouble, and expense.
My great uncle, Johnny Ray, lived on his farm in northern Arkansas a long way from doctors and hospitals. Especially considering it would be by horse and buggy.
He broke his leg and had his wife tie a stick to his calf as a splint. She could have used duct tape. He stayed off it for a few weeks until it healed. My grandfather, who happened to be a doctor, told me that after Johnny’s leg healed up, he could recognize Johnny from the other side of the square in Fayetteville by his limp.
When I needed a way to hold ear protection in place, duct tape was the answer. I had to have protection for my hearing while using a chain saw. Two consume cups stuffed with socks worked perfectly—held in place with duct tape.
Another use that can save time and money is in clothing repairs. A strip of tape backing up a tear will allow continued use of otherwise perfect trousers. (Note the use of the word “trousers.” My marine friend cautioned me to not use the word “pants.” He said, “Only girls wear pants.”)
These same trousers may have holes worn in the pockets from carrying bolts, nuts, sharp tools, etc. The pockets can be made perfect with duct tape. And normal washing doesn’t damage the repair.
These illustrate the unexpected uses of this wonderful invention. It isn’t perfect, but one has to keep an open mind. As Red Green, of TV fame, has said, “If you can’t be handsome, you can at least be handy.”
Duct tape can be your tool.
Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side and a dark side and holds the universe together.