If you've ever watched Monty Python then you know what a "Tis but a scratch!" moment is. These folks share the moments they tried to downplay a serious work injury.
A Very Surreal Moment Indeed
“I was cutting cedar (chainsaw) on the side of a mountain (I was 18) with a friend (18) ( clearing it as part of a federal program to remove non-indigenous plants) we’d been cutting for 2 weeks and we though we were going to finish earlier and go the river for a relaxing break after. A tree fell on me and pushed the chainsaw into my arm. It bumped me 3 times, each time cut a huge swath through my skin. I looked down and could see my mangled skin and my muscles and tendons moving inside my arm. Very surreal moment. I opened and closed my hand several times watching the insides of my arm work. Then my friend came over, I was losing a lot of blood by that point. So he took his shirt and tight off my arm and we started about a 20 min hike down the mountain to the truck and then a one hour drive back to the main road and then to his house. By the time we got there I realized the skin was mangled but no real damage so we wrapped it in gauze and his mom had just finished making homemade ice cream so we ate ice cream and watched lonesome dove. Took about a month to heal and I have some pretty bad scars.”
Wounded In The Great Bread Wars
“I worked at a sandwich shop that toasted the sandwiches in a pizza oven. The oven was wide enough so you could stick your whole arm into it and not hit the back. Now it wasn’t uncommon for us to put sandwiches all the way in the back of the oven because they toasted faster.
With all the preliminary stuff out of the way, we also used to partake in a fun game we called ‘bread wars’. This was a favorite pastime of ours where we would throw the unused bread ends at each other like snowballs. On one particular day, I was reaching way back into the oven to flip a sandwich over, and in what seemed like a millisecond, something came crashing into the back of my head like a bullet. In that instant, I reacted as most would and jolted my arm upwards… directly into the scolding hot 600 degrees (Fahrenheit) oven. When I turned around, with burns up my whole arm, I see a loose bread end and a snickering coworker. But since I liked the job and everyone I worked with, plus alike full of hungry customers gathering, I just continued on with my burned arm and continued my shift as normal.”
Well That’s One Way To Get A Nose Job
“Was working retail in a well-known department store. We’ve had a thief problem for a while and management doesn’t really do anything about them. Not your everyday shoplifters, these people are coordinated with spotters and such. They go for our vintage Louis Vuitton bags. They get about $5,000 worth per hit.
Well, one day I was working and walking next to the front doors looking outside wondering what I’m doing with my life. The next thing I know I’m pushed through the doors and I’m on the floor and get kicked in the face by one aforementioned thief. I stood back up, my mask felt wet and warm, and knew my nose had been broken. People and coworkers were like are you okay? Blood pouring down my face from under my mask. I was completely fine, calm, collected, cracking jokes. Everyone else was flipping out.
And that’s how I got my work to pay for my first nose job.”
She Walked Into A Bus Then It All Went Downhill From There
“So, I was headed home from work, getting onto a crowded bus. Went to sit down, misjudged the height of the overhang and hit my head. It hurt a ton, but it’s a crowded bus and no one else seems concerned so I just quickly sit down and just kinda quietly deal with the pain cause that was dumb.
By the time I get home, it’s stopped hurting and I’ve basically forgotten all about it, other than ‘Dang that was embarrassing.’
Next day, I get to work, where I’m a computer science teacher. I sit down, open up my laptop, take one look at the screen and it’s completely out of focus and making my head hurt. And the memories of the previous night come rushing back, as well as the last time I got hit in the head playing hockey and I’m like ‘Ohhhhhh.’
Close the laptop and go ‘Hey class, I’m pretty certain there’s something wrong with my head. So, how about you work on your projects today, and if you need help… I will be your rubber duckie.’
My kids, obviously, are going ‘Wait, that’s really bad!’ But I kinda brush it off because honestly, it wasn’t much more than a mild headache at the time. They’re basically just ‘Don’t do any hard thinking, don’t watch any screens, read any words, sit in a dark room’ and well, that sounds dull.
I go a whole week like this just fine, basically ignoring it entirely, until one night, I’m curled in a ball on my couch at home, my head is pounding, and I’m bawling my eyes out because I’m worried I ignored it too long and now my brain is bleeding out in my skull. My husband calls the nurse helpline on my behalf, I talk to a nurse like ‘Okay, you probably don’t need ER, but go to your doctor the next available time. Not next week, tomorrow, if you can.’
So I call out of work and go to my doctor. He shines a little light in my eyes and goes ‘Oh yeah, you’re definitely concussed.’ It’s been a whole week at this point and I am still visibly concussed. I can’t even remember the accurate timeline of how this happened, because of the concussion.
Luckily, I think by then it was Thursday or Friday (so, I guess I probably hit my head the previous Thursday? And assumed this is fine from Monday to Wednesday, cause it had been a weekend? I do recall my coworkers being like ‘Are you sure you’re fine?’ a lot). I honestly don’t remember much from that whole week honestly. And at this point, there’s not really anything else to do except take it even easier than I had been.
And that’s the story of how I got a fairly bad concussion from walking into a bus and proceeded to completely ignore it because who gets a concussion from walking into a bus?”
The Show Must Go On!
“I was filming a scene in a film in which I was the starring role. The scene called for my character to open a bottle with the spine of a knife. No problem. But… the bottle was a twist top so it was a little harder than a normal bottle. Anyway, on the sixth or seventh take, I buried the edge of the blade into the knuckle of my thumb and drew a gash about an inch and a half long and a quarter-inch deep. I regret to inform you that I did not epically continue the scene like Leo DiCaprio in Django Unchained. (It didn’t fit with the character motivation to do so) so I called for a cut. Anyways, I asked the grip if they had super glue. They did. So I went to the bathroom, washed out the bloody gash, glued it back together with the crazy glue, slapped a bandaid on it, came back to set, and said, ‘Alright. Shall we go again?’
We finished on schedule that day.
The director was white as a sheet and insistent that I see a medic, but I insisted that the show must go on.”
A Dog Bite And 19 Stitches Later…
“I work as a dog trainer. This old lady came in with a rottweiler/pit mix named Zeus that had attacked before, but I didn’t know that. It was a meet and greet, so it was my first time meeting the people and the dog. He had a muzzle on but it didn’t fit well and kept falling off. Anyways, after about five minutes he completely knocked his muzzle off and dove for my face. I put my left arm up to catch him and he latched on. For the first and only time in my life, I hit a dog. He let go after I punched him and when he lunged again I managed to grab him by the collar, twist it and hold him down.
I then had to help this lady make a slip lead and I put his muzzle back on. The whole time she was screaming and apologizing. I must’ve been in shock because it didn’t really hurt, and after we got the muzzle on I kept going with the meet and greet. After about 5 minutes she pointed out the blood trickling out of my hoodie sleeve, so I pulled it up to check and the skin was ripped and my tendons were showing. I ended up getting 19 stitches that night.”
“It’s Weird How It Didn’t Hurt At First”
“A girl at the university I worked at had a mental breakdown and was threatening suicide with a pocket knife in the common area of my dorm. I tackled her into the pool table and thought that the slight pain I felt was from hitting my chest on the table. After everyone restrained her, my shirt felt wet, and I realized she had managed to stab me three times. It’s weird how it didn’t hurt at first. Luckily, it was a small knife, and I’m fat, so she didn’t manage to hit anything important, and I left the hospital with stitches the next day.”
“A Few Minutes Later And I Felt Like I Was Walking In A Puddle”
“First week on the job making stone countertops the boss and I where moving half a slab which weighs over 500 pounds. I didn’t have steel toe boots at the time and he let go of it right on top of my toe. I guess my body was in shock cuz I walked it off as nothing. Few minutes later I feel I’m walking in a puddle. Take my boot off and there’s blood everywhere. I was young and stupid and didn’t think I needed a hospital as my toe was still whole and nothing was cut open. I remember being in a lot of pain for a good two weeks. That was many years ago and my toe is still messed up and probably never will be normal again.”
Hit By A Semi But Still Trying To Flirt
“When I was 19 I worked at an amusement park in the summer between semesters. One day a year the park closes for just employees to enjoy the rides and the water park. I decided I needed a new swimming suit so that morning I got in my car to head to Kohls.
There I was in my 92 Chevy cavalier, minding my own business and rocking out to Simple Plan. 2004, baby. From out of nowhere a semi-truck crossed the center lane and smashed the heck out of my car, head-on. I estimate we were both going 55-60 mph.
Dazed, I tried in vain to restart my car as I was stalled in the middle of the road. Eventually, someone called 911 and an ambulance arrived. I was sort of wandering around, not sure what to do. The medics seemed shocked too and I didn’t realize how bad the accident was. The first thing he said was ‘You were wearing your seatbelt, weren’t you?’
And I was like ‘Of course, my mom always said I need to wear one, why?’
‘Well, we would be peeling you off of the front of that semi if you weren’t.’
Always wear your seatbelt, folks. I walked away from a runaway head-on collision with a semi-truck with a concussion and some whiplash. I had a small scratch on my knee.
So apparently when someone is struck in a crash, they can seem fine while they are bleeding internally. That was why the medic was skeptical. He was so hot too, I was like ‘Dang you can take care of me, know what I mean?’ I was laying the flirting on pretty thick, in my concussion daze. I even remember saying ‘I’m glad I shaved my legs today..’
Well, we went to the ER just to be sure I wasn’t secretly dying. They gave me the green light to leave. I needed to go to the bathroom so cutie medic directed me there, where I about died for the second time that day. Since I had been crying, I was a hot mess. Mascara was smeared ALL over my face and no one told me. So there I was, concussed, crying, mascara smeared, and trying to flirt with the medic. I think I just melted into the floor with embarrassment and left with shame. It’s really on-brand for me, I have to say.
My parents picked me up and they were sort of.. annoyed? They were like ‘Why did you call us, you walked out of there.’ But then we arrived at the tow lot and my dad freaked the heck out. My body wasn’t showing just how bad the accident was. It was a snarled, totaled wreck and it seemed as though there was just a perfect little bubble where I sat.
And it was, literally, but a scratch. It’s also a reason why I can never be an atheist.”
You Can’t Just Walk That One Off Buddy
“I am a bartender in a nightclub. One night while working I was pouring a drink while I reached back with my other hand to open a fridge, and that’s when I heard a “pop” and got a huge pain in my back/shoulder area. the pain was pretty bad, but I was sure it was a pulled muscle, and there wouldn’t be much point in seeing a doctor other than getting meds. So I waited. fought through the pain which was so bad at times it was making it hard to breath.
that was a Friday, I called off Saturday and had Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday off before I went back to work Wednesday, once I biked into work. in all, I waited nine days total before finally deciding to go to the ER.
I had a collapsed lung, called a spontaneous pneumothorax. 20 min after getting to the ER I was put into emergency surgery. I was essentially breathing with only one lung. Any major impact to my chest would have collapsed the other and probably killed me.”
The Story of Ole Shovel Face
“I was working on a remote mountainside as a tree planter. My job pays per tree planted, for the record. While walking up the mountain to grab more trees, I tripped over a fallen branch. I tried to use my shovel (speed spade, smaller than you’re probably picturing) to stop myself from faceplanting but it levered on a log as I fell and catapulted up onto my chin with the force of a 160lb man behind it. I noticed I was bleeding but was having a pretty productive day, so I held my sweater to it to stop the bleeding while I grabbed more trees.
A friend of mine was there and noticed me holding a bulky sweater to my face. She asked what was wrong and I said I have a little cut, etc, no worries. Pulling the sweater away revealed a 4-inch gash from chin to cheek, bleeding profusely. Seeing her reaction I figured I’d call it a day. We did some quick first aid and radioed it in before we started walking towards the trucks. Our helicopter pilot who was delivering trees to us heard and offered to ‘Fly ole Shovel Face out if he’s not alright to walk.’
To this day that’s the best nickname I’ve ever received.”
Wonder What That Sharp Pain Could Be?
“Early 20s, left work one night and got jumped, fought the guy off. Went home took a shower and went to bed. Woke up sore, way more than usual. Went to work. It was a rough day. On my way home, I had a sharp pain in my stomach. Couldn’t get it to go away, Tylenol, Advil, tums couldn’t get the pain to stop. Couldn’t take it anymore and went to the emergency room. They assessed my complaint and as it turns out the night before I had been stabbed and had no idea. It was an ink pen-sized hole through my stomach and I had no clue.”
‘Twas But A Sprain!’
“I was chasing a shoplifter once (ex store detective), I’m pretty fast so had no problems keeping up with him, tailing him until backup could join in the chase. Backup eventually joined in the foot chase and the guy we were chasing hopped a wall into a supermarket car park. It was like a scene out of Hot Fuzz as all three of the chasers followed the thief up and over. As I dropped off the wall the other side (maybe five/five and a half foot drop) I rolled my ankle so badly I went blind with pain. All I remember was a sickening crunch, my entire left leg going numb, and then blurred vision. My fellow chasers both shouted ‘Dang!’ And asked if I was okay, I said I was. I really wasn’t though.
I don’t know if it was the adrenaline or me being extremely ticked off to be chasing this thieving moron across town five minutes before I was due to go home for the day, but I carried on running as if my life depended on it. We ran for another half a mile before we finally caught him and he was promptly arrested. The two guys who helped me (both Police Community Support Officers) sat me down and explained they needed to carry out a welfare check on me and my leg as I’d sustained an injury in the event of a crime. I pulled my shoe off and my ankle was hideously swollen. I also still couldn’t see right and felt really sick.
I was taken to hospital and got an X-ray, miraculously my ankle wasn’t broken but had been sprained unbelievably badly. I was booked in for physiotherapy, my ankle was wrapped up tightly and I was discharged high on painkillers with a load more in my back pocket to help me through the next few days until my next visit.
One of the last things the nurse said to me was this could’ve been avoided if I hadn’t carried on running. She also apologized and warned me I’d probably be feeling the effects of it for the rest of my life.
She wasn’t kidding. Every Winter I’m in chronic pain in my left ankle, and a miserable whiner to boot. This was 5 years ago and I still struggle.
‘Twas but a sprain.”
Two Idiots And A Pneumatic Nail Driver
“So my friend John and I were working on a wood project for a friend of ours, we wanted to make a cross for her since she’s religious. Now us both being the overachievers we were, we wanted to make a 3-dimensional cross just without the face so it’d be hallowed and she could put stuff in it.
Now we were working with thin wood mind you and we didn’t have any wood glue handy so John goes ‘Oh I’ve wanted to use this nail driver so let’s do that.’ At the time I didn’t think it was a great idea but it was already 1 am and I wanted it to be over with. So he gets the nail driver and turns the psi down since the wood is thin, we test it and it works great for the wood. Well here’s where the 1 am idiot brain came in part. We decided to have John shoot the nail driver while I hold the thin boards together. At first, it works great but then he shoots the nail and nothing happens and he looks at me with concern and I go ‘What?’ He said he thought he shot me with the driver and I replied, ‘What?’ I would look at you and call you an idiot if you did that,’ and laughed it off. Turns out it was out of nails so he refills it and we continue, well the next nail was shot at an angle and went straight into the side of my middle finger. I then called him an idiot. We managed to pull the nail out without any problems and I got tetanus shot the next day.”
“Trainee. Your Leg Ain’t Moving. What’s Wrong?”
“Last year at basic training we were doing V-ups during PT on like day three. I was already sore as heck, and was frustrated, cold, exhausted, and hungry, since it was like 0500 and maybe 40°F out. I’m trying to do the dumb exercise and my left leg’s not moving. I’m like ‘Okay well I probably pulled something I’ll be fine.’ Fortunately/unfortunately our First Sergeant who was also our Master Fitness Trainer (basically in charge of making sure we didn’t do stuff wrong and hurt ourselves) came walking over.
‘What’s the matter, trainee?’
‘Nothing, First Sergeant, I’m fine.’
‘Trainee. Your leg is not moving. What’s wrong?’
‘I don’t know, First Sergeant. I swear I’m trying, First Sergeant.’
‘C’mon, trainee, you’re going to sick call.’
Of course, you’re not exactly gonna argue with one of the highest-ranking dudes you deal with on a daily basis, so gingerly up I get, grab my battle buddy, and off we hobble back to the Company Training Area. 1SG asked if anything had been feeling off and where exactly felt like it wasn’t working right. Told him my hip my not really my hip, basically, my whole left leg just had a mind of its own.
We finally ride over to the Medcenter, 1SG gets me all checked into orthopedics. I’m half pouting in the chair while I wait, and I get called back. Do the standard “Move this leg, move this one, go this way now go over here.” Whole-time my left leg ain’t cooperating. So I get sent over for an MRI first. Waited a few hours, had my “breakfast” MRE- it was the chicken pesto meal, quite good honestly- finally get into radiology. Wait a few more hours, had my lunch MRE- that one was the “meatballs in marinara,” also a good one- and get my results. The doctor said it looked like just an oddball cyst and it should work itself out.
I end up going to physical therapy with our athletic trainer for a few days, not much improvement is shown so back to radiology. This time I went for an x-ray, and when I got the results back there was a stress fracture allllll down my pelvic bone to right above my femur. Was considered a grade four which is apparently the worst it can be.
Orthopedist simply looked at me and said ‘I can send you home for a 30-day convalescent leave and discharge you when you come back, or I can start your discharge papers now. Either way, you’re not gonna be able to train anymore.’ Told him to start the papers then, why wait?
So, eight weeks later I finally get sent home with a general under honorable conditions discharge which is I guess what they call the medical discharges now.
Here I am almost two years later, and I still have a lot of pain. As of my x-ray in March, the bone itself has healed, but there’s still a buttload of soft tissue and nerve problems. I still have daily pain. I was supposed to be doing physical therapy and then try some steroid injections, but with Covid… I don’t know when we’ll be able to get things rolling again. I’m 23F, with an almost 4-year-old, and there’s a lot that I can’t do with him because of my hip.
On the sorta upside, I do get VA disability every month. It’s only 10%, but to me, that’s fine because it’s almost like them saying ‘Yup, we messed you up, totally our bad.’ And I’d rather that than nothing.”
Broke Five Ribs But Still Saved The Dog!
“I was a firefighter and was carrying out a dog I found in a house fire! Poor baby was so scared! But as my partner and I were exiting, the second floor collapsed and I fell through to the first floor. Never let go of the dog! I scrambled to my feet, found my partner who was rounding the stairs and we go the heck out of there. Got the dog to a medic who gave it oxygen and coming around! Everyone noticed my gear was torn to shreds and I told them I fell through the floor no big deal. I steered feeling queasy and sat down. Again, I’m good! It’s just a scratch! I later discovered that I broke five ribs and shredded my knee needing 10 staples. But the puppy made it!