Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: February 11, 2020 12:34AM
In reference to KBoys sawmill experience and mine which follows:
They put me in the sawmill during the winter of 1976 after helping put up sheet rock in the warm 1976 summer months. My experience with injury there is as follows and pales compared to what some others experienced. After I left the sawmill in the summer of 1977 to work in the LA printing, I heard the story of the person who had his arm cut off at the sawmill (or almost severed) and surgeons in Iowa City being able to reattach it. The microsurgeons must have been very skilled. The name Jeff Conradi comes to mind, not sure if he was the victim. The LA church said a couple of prayers for him if I remember, but of course the violent intense intercession was reserved for JRS.
I normally spent my day at the sawmill on the nail machine making pallets, working with Simon Nisely. We put the pallet together and aligned it to a machine that drove the nails through the boards, then hammered in any nails that didn't go in all the way, flipped it over and did the same thing on the second side; then stacked the pallets to be put on a flat bed truck for delivery. They were made of oak, much heavier than pine and harder for the nails to penetrate.
As I worked with Simon, (wonderful person to be with), I noticed he had about one and 1/2 fingers missing. Then when I stared off to the right, I could see John Nisely sawing huge trees that went through a blade about as tall as John. He was so close to the blade, I worried he might slip and fall into the blade, which would have been the end of him. I noticed he had a thumb and couple of fingers missing on one hand (if I remember correctly). I was told John and Simon had both worked at the sawmill even as young boys and those accidents had occurred along the way as part of their learning process, I suppose, to respect deadly unforgiving saws.
Any way, one cold winter morning, the person that was assigned to the cutoff saw in the lower saw mill was sick, and I was asked to take his spot for the day. The saw spun with very high RPMs from a long horizontal bar attached to the blade. I was told to be very careful because there was no guard over the fast spinning bar. I wore two pair of very thick gloves that day as it was very cold. As I cut end pieces, a taller piece came through than normal, which put my hand up higher on the handle holding the blade and put it much closer to the spinning bar as I cut through the wood. Well, the top of my hand touched that bar, ripped the two pair of gloves off my hand, and threw them about 20 feet. I next noticed the top of my hand was white as snow with a big dip in it. There was absolutely no blood, but I was looking at my tendon, which I did not know was pure white. I don't remember all the details that followed, but I went to Dan Nisely about what to do next. I found out later, there was no blood because the removed flesh was between blood vessels which was unusual.
Dan told me he did not believe in doctors (he was Amish) and to believe God to heal it. Well, I think I washed it out in the bathroom at Shiloh and put a big bandaid on it. For some reason the injury didn't have sharp pain, just dull pain. When I went to bed, it hurt way more when I didn't keep my arm elevated, then I went to sleep. I woke up about 1 a.m. and my whole arm was throbbing. I noticed my hand was swollen all the way up to my elbow. I restlessly went back to sleep and in the morning when I woke my arm was swollen to my shoulder. I don't remember all the details exactly, but I was told to go see Jonie Rogness, who was a nurse. I don't know where she lived, but she met me and took me to a room at Shilo that was like a nurse's office. When she saw my hand and arm she cleaned the wound further, and told me to have one of the sawmill guys immediately drive me to the Iowa City emergency room. She said she thought I might have blood poisoning. Later I heard she really yelled at Dan Nisely for not having me see a doctor right away.
Well, when I got to the ER, the doctor immediately cleaned the wound and gave me a couple antibiotic shots (& tetanus). He said I did have blood poisoning and it was approaching my heart. If I remember correctly, he told me I probably would have died if it had reached my heart. He also said I was close to needing a microsurgeon because of the tendon damage, but it was not severed and I was very lucky. My gloves probably saved my hand. I'm glad my hand was saved, because I was a typesetter after I went to LA later and I have always loved to type, hence the name typer.
I think I got a couple days off after I got back to the Shilo building before going back to work at the sawmill but don't remember if I did.
Dan Nisely and John Bender were always very nice to me at the sawmill, I believe they were both Amish. I guess Amish don't like doctors much. I hope they amended those attitudes in their later years.
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