Although I still have many parts to acquire over the next few months before I can complete the build, I obviously wanted to get started on the process, so the first thing I needed to do was get the base portion – the frame – prepared. As I’d said in the post when it arrived, it’s in very good condition but I want to keep it that way, so I set to cleaning the frame internals, the intention being to then apply a protective treatment.
Having cleaned out the frame tubes, next up was the fork steering tube, but first I had to remove the cork bung at the bottom of the tube (which is there to prevent muck coming up inside the tube).
Using a piece of bamboo, I started to carefully push the cork bung out of the steering tube – it was moving gradually, when suddenly all resistance vanished and it popped out the bottom of the tube quickly followed by my hand accelerating into the top 😢.
In typical male fashion at this point, my first concern was not to drop & damage the fork, swiftly followed by many cries of “Oh f***” as I saw all of the blood coming out of my thumb.
(My elder daughter was home visiting and later helpfully pointed out that I had said in my N+1 post that there would be cursing during the build process… gee, thanks for the reminder)
Off I went to my local Accident & Emergency, where the doctor had a look and said “You’ve made a right mess of that” (you think??).
Unfortunately, he couldn’t do too much and referred me to the Happy Clinic @ John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford the following day.
“Hands And Plastic Injuries – HAPI”
Not feeling too happy, off I went with a temporary dressing…
The following day at the triage clinic in Oxford the plastic surgeon had a look then scheduled me in for an operation that afternoon.
So, later in the day I’m lying on the operating table and the trainee doctor (under the plastic surgeon’s supervision) starts cleaning up my thumb so they could see what they really needed to do…
“Perhaps you’d like to anaesthetise the patient first” says the plastic surgeon to the trainee, as I’m lying there gritting my teeth and wincing.
6 injections later and we’re good to go.
After some cleaning and cutting, the verdict is that the damage is not as bad as it had looked and should all heal up ok, although the plastic surgeon did mention that any dreams of a hand modelling career may be over.