Hello and greetings fellow readers!
I’ve been a member of FM since 2015, but haven’t been active on it for quite a while. I just recently started making art again. Most of my life I’ve always come back to drawing or doing something creative even after taking long breaks and going to do my day jobs and other interests.
In 2020 I was in a work related accident. I worked at a factory that makes bubble wrap and packaging for UPS FedEx Amazon etc… anyways I worked there for around three years. I worked my way up from the bottom as a temp employee stacking boxes.
I’ve worked in factory and warehousing jobs for about a decade now so I figured I’d be a packer for a year and then move on to another job. Anyways to my surprise after working in as a temp packer for a few months this lead guy comes up to me who would later be a friend asked me if I wanted to be a packer on a thermoformer.
I agreed and started packing rolls on thermo lines. A few more months went by, they asked me to get ready for the hiring in process. At this point I had plenty of experience in thermo lines having been a packer on a few.
I went through all the usual fun stuff of drug testing and going into orientation. After about a month of training on bag lines I was officially hired in! I began my full time job as thermo packer.
The company was undergoing crazy growth around this time and they started bringing in new machines and equipment. After my first year working there, the new thermoformer s were now up and running.
I eventually worked as a packer on the new thermo lines. These machines were much larger than the previous ones I’d worked on before. Okay so a thermoformer for those that don’t know is a big machine that basically makes bubble wrap.
It’s essentially a big press like machine where big rolls of plastic are fed into the thermo through a series of rollers into the melting rollers through more rollers where the film is cut into the preferred size. Then finally out the end where the packers unload the rolls.
These machines were usually the size of a semi trailer in length. The newer ones were twice maybe three times the size of the others. Anyways after working as a packer for a while I started helping out the machine operator with some of the work in the back.
I started helping unpack rolls and cut down excess plastic on finished rolls. He asked if I had any experience operating cranes. I said yes I do, I had previously operated cranes in a past job. So I started moving rolls and placing them where they would be unpacked later.
The operator guy asked if I could be promoted as a thermo assistant which would usually help the operator. I went through a week of training and was promoted. Around this time I was extremely busy, I was responsible for reliving packers for breaks, but I didn’t have to stay in up front as a packer. I also helped in preparing rolls and the operator taught me how the different parts of the machine worked.
I worked as a thermo assistant for a little while, and learning how the machine worked as well from the automated things up front to the controls in the control panel in the back.
After several months I underwent training to become a thermo operator. I was promoted and got a decent paycheck to boot. I was on top of the world. Thermoformers also made the most out of any machine operator in the building as well. The previous operator was still around to help me at times, but eventually I was on my own.
After a couple years I was a veteran machine operator and started teaching another assistant at this time. One faithful night however would change my life forever.
It began like any other typical night I came in relived the day shift operator. He told me that the press wasn’t running very well all day. In fact the past few days the machine wasn’t running very well and we often had problems getting it to start producing rolls.
I got everything prepared started the machine had to shut the machine down several times in a three hour period. Lunch was coming up and I finally gave up and called lunch for my team.
Came back got the machine to start and run finally and things were looking promising. But it didn’t stay that way. The film stated melting off the rollers. Now you would think after almost three years of experience and operating thermos I would just shut the machine down. Although I think back now I obviously wish I had.
But I started messing around with the rollers as the machine was running. My left hand got pulled in between two of the thermo rollers and for a solid 5 mins I struggled as people tried shutting the machine down.
I don’t remember much of what happened in the moment in fact my mind blocked a lot of it out. But I do know that my adrenaline was very high and I didn’t feel anything which I find interesting. They got me out of the machine a couple guys holding me up because at this time I’m starting to lose consciousness.
They take me by maintenance cart to the front where an ambulance than takes me to the local hospital. In the ambulance the pain starts to set in. I’m crying out in pain asking them to give me something. They give fentanyl I’m still in pain, they gave me a little more.
I must have blacked out in between the ambulance ride to the hospital. I awoke to like 2 people asking me all sorts of questions, but I was in too much pain to understand what was being said.
I blacked out again, I awoke again found myself looking at two pilots of an aircraft and one lady with a helmet and a headset talking to me.
I blacked out again, I awoke later in another hospital in a hospital bed. The doctor came in the next day and told me that he had to amputate four of my fingers but was able to save my thumb.
I suffered third degree burns in my forearm and hand and had to have skin graphs for my hand and forearm. The accident left me with part of a hand and thumb and degloved the skin on my hand. I was in the hospital for around two weeks undergoing reconstructive surgery.
I attempted suicide at one point, I had a morphine drip and was trying to press it as much as I could. Although it wouldn’t have worked very well because the drip only came in 15-20 min intervals.
The first year was the hardest year of my life. I had to learn how to write with my right hand. My left hand was my dominant hand before the accident.
I had to go through physical therapy and still go now. Although now I’m not nearly as bad off as I was then. The past couple of years took everything I had to get to this point in my life. It’s taken not only love from my family, but persistence, self discipline and shear will power.
A lot of will power, and i honestly don’t think I could have pulled through without my family. There is a workers comp case going on still. But I’m choosing not to disclose anything about it here.
I am doing better emotionally than I was a couple years ago. In fact just recently I’ve started playing guitar, and drawing again.
Sorry for the long story, but I just wanted to give a reason as to why I haven’t been on here in so long and also share my story I case anyone is going through something difficult in their life. It’s not over, your story isn’t over, life can still be like it was before although you might have to adapt more.
I hope this gives someone inspiration to move forward in life even at its toughest moments.
Whatever you feel like chatting about that doesn't fit in other forums. New members - feel free to introduce yourselves here.
5 posts •Page 1 of 1
Well done getting to where you are now Kody - what a horrible situation to overcome; it sounds like you're doing it. Amazing. Hope somehow sometime something positive will come from your experience. Thanks for sharing.
Well, it is very touching after reading your testimony and we should thank those respectful men and women working for these companies and keeping our convenience for shopping online. May God continue to bless you for your future and your talents in different fields. You are a very nice guy, Kody, out there in the website, there are many people have many untold stories, they may be getting through different situations too. Like Beatles song:”Love is all you need!” Let’s encourage each other.
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