Did you read the article about the Connecticut man who was fixing his furnace when his arm accidentally became stuck in the boiler fins? For the first six hours Jonathon Metz brainstormed with the 1980s-era TV character “MacGyver” as his inspiration. He tried to twist and turn his arm out, but it kept getting stuck further and further, even cutting into his flesh. He screamed, he even used furnace grease to try and slip it out. After 12 hours he could smell rotting flesh and see infection so he knew that to save his life and escape he needed to… are you ready … cut off his own arm.
Metz then proceeded to dig through his toolbox at his side and use hacksaw blades to get the job done. Unfortunately, the blades couldn’t get through a knot of nerves and he remained stuck. Using an old shirt and later a telephone cord, he fashioned tourniquets while waiting for either death or a rescue.
Fortunately, co-workers grew worried and eventually the police and fire department responded to set the trapped man free. Doctors later said that his amputation efforts helped stop the infection to the rest of his body and saved his life.
I’m sure you remember the climber that also did this a few years back using nothing more than a pocket knife. I have to ask the question again. How tough do you have to be to cut off your own arm? I feel like I’m tough enough to handle most environments including long hikes in my backyard mountains, but hiking is one thing. Cutting off your own limb is quite another.
The next time you have a passing thought that you’re a rough and tough character, reflect on this. If trapped, could you cut off your own arm? That alone brings me right back to reality.
I’m tough, but I’m not that tough.