That's a grain auger, and you do not want to get the wrong part of you in the wrong part of it. "[An] auger can chew a limb into spaghetti in no time," Sean says. They're built to last forever, "meaning some of it was made before safety was something people cared about."
See, a lot of old rural farmers don't wanna spend the money to replace perfectly good machinery just because the CPSC says so, and Sean gets to witness the aftermath. "Some very old tractors have no cabs, no roll bars, so you are pretty mangled when you hit the ED. [In grain elevators], the fine grain dust floating in the air only needs one spark to ignite. In rural areas, that grain elevator might be the tallest structure in town. If it blows up, the debris will make it a good distance, leading to collateral damage a ways away."
DarcyMaulsby / iStock
"If you can't handle me at my exploding-death worst, you don't deserve me at my cereal-making best."
While David from IT is frantically malware-scanning explosion victims in the lobby, Sean is chasing a tough-guy farmer through the parking lot, trying to get him to seek treatment. "If the farmer is not fully incapacitated, you might have difficulty getting them in for treatment," he says. "I had one come in one morning after he hit a rock in his tractor while crossing into a field to spray fertilizer. He had a bloodied rag on his head, explaining he had hit his head on the roof of the cabin. The bleeding had stopped rather well, but there was a flap of skin that did not want to stay down, exposing part of his skull. Come to find out, he finished spraying the field before he came in, so the flap had shrunk a bit. Furthermore, he refused to go to the for-real ED 19 miles away. I had suture material available, but he said the local anesthesia would take too long, and he had to get back to farming. I eventually talked him into letting me glue the flap down, [and give him] a bandage and some antibiotics to prevent a nasty infection."
You try being a rural doctor when every other patient thinks they can "walk off" a gaping head wound. No seriously, please try. They could use the help.
Sean literally wrote the book on rural medicine, and you can buy it here. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter. If you don't follow Manna on Twitter, she can't be held responsible for what happens.
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