After wood-splitting incident, doctor’s orders: Take it easy

ColumnistMarch 2, 2017 

A wood-splitting injury has sidelined columnist David Coffelt. (No squirrels were injured.)

FILE PHOTO — The Kansas City Star

Deciding upon a topic for this week was already proving difficult. I was getting weary of discussing politics, protests and the general lack of common sense in our world today. I really want to avoid the entire transgender student bathroom issue. There is simply too much there that I will never understand.

So, this week, I want to visit with you simply about taking it easy. Actually it wasn’t my idea. A very nice doctor in the Cass Regional Medical Center emergency room gave me the idea. Yes, I am under doctor’s orders to take it easy.

Please allow me to explain. I’ve been cutting firewood for most of my adult life. I’ve used chainsaws, axes, mauls, wedges and log splitters for many, many winters as my source of being outdoors and getting exercise. I have a wood-burning stove in my shop and I enjoy keeping it stoked and the warmth and aroma that it provides.

During those many years, I may have acquired a few bumps and bruises and scratches, along with some sore, achy muscles, but no serious injuries. In that regard, I have indeed been blessed.

All that changed last Saturday. My son and I were working up what was to be the last pile of wood for the season. With this wood split, there would be enough stockpiled to last all of next winter. I was going to be well ahead of the game for a year.

The fact that this batch of wood is the last of the season is absolutely true. However, it is not going to be split for quite a while. No, I’m going to be taking it easy.

We were attempting to split a rather large chuck of gnarly wood that was not going to split easily. I was running the splitter, which is mounted on the tractor and powered by hydraulics. I had just placed a smaller piece of wood in front of the large piece as a spacer. As I pulled the lever on the splitter, the spacer piece rolled, severely pinching the index finger of my right hand between the two pieces of wood.

At that precise moment, all wood-cutting activities at my place ceased and a trek to the emergency room commenced. Within a couple of hours I was cleaned up, stitched up, medicated and back home.

Recovery is going to take more time than I would like. I am learning to do several things left-handed that I have never done left-handed before. I am also learning to let others help me with certain activities. That’s not a particularly easy thing for me to do.

I’ve been using a typewriter or keyboard for coming on 50 years now. Let me tell you — it is extremely difficult for me to type without that one silly finger being available.

I suppose taking it easy is a relative thing. I haven’t done anything particularly physical for several days now. I have taken more than my customary daily nap. I’ve been to the office some, and have pretty much kept up with my phone messages and emails.

I have not let up in preparation for one event that is extremely important to me. This Saturday, March 4, is the annual Jerry Tabb Memorial Scholarship Monopoly Tournament. It will once again be held at Cass Career Center, with the first roll of dice to be at 8:30 a.m. If you like the game of Monopoly, I encourage you to come and participate.

This is a worthy cause, supplying scholarships to some fantastic graduates of Cass Career Center. Since its inception, a total of $50,500 has been disbursed on behalf of the scholarship recipients.

If you can’t make it to play, consider coming by to watch for a bit. It really is a lot of fun to watch five Monopoly games going at once in the same room.

In the meantime, take it easy!

David Coffelt is a Harrisonville area resident and his email address is

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