Thursday, September 15, 2005

Can you lend a hand?

Aron Ralston, is the man who cut off his own hand after getting it stuck after taking a fall while mountain climbing. You can read about his ordeal in his book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

He was recently interviewed on the Howard Stern Radio Show. Aron explained that while he was climbing a mountain in Utah, he accidentally pulled a large rock out and it ended up crushing his right hand and trapping him. He was out alone and couldn't free his hand. He immediately thought about amputating his arm to get free. He tried chipping away at the rock but figured it would have taken a month to get himself out that way. Aron said that a vision of a young boy appeared to him and recommended he amputate his hand. Aron commented that he thought the image was of his future son, so he needed to take his advice.

After a day of being stuck, Aron made his first attempt at cutting off his hand since his hand was already dead, without circulation and developing gangrene. Aron had a dull knife with him and putting the knife into his skin felt like cutting through room-temperature butter, and that as soon as his dead hand was punctured, a gas came out of it. He was unable to saw through his hand.

After six days of being stuck he realized he wasn't going to be able to cut through his bones with the knife he had. Aron decided he had to snap the bones off to get free of the rock if he had any chance of surviving. In order to accomplish this, Aron maneuvered his weight to use the leverage of the rocks to break the bones. Once his hand was off, Aron still had the task of climbing back to his vehicle, which was eight miles away and then driving the manual transmission truck, without a right hand, two hours to get to a phone. Given the amount of blood he had already lost, two of his body's five liters, doing so would have been nearly impossible. Fortunately, a rescue helicopter appeared as he was heading back to his truck and took him to a hospital within hours of his probable death.

Aron said there was a time when he was trapped that he figured he was going to die. He even shot a goodbye tape for his family with a video camera he was carrying with him on the trip. However, when he figured out that he needed to break his own bones to survive, he did so without hesitation because, as he said, the worst pain imaginable would've been better than dying.

Because he was so dehydrated, Aron talked about the fact that he had to drink his own urine while he was stuck. Apparently, the top part of a cup of urine is easier to consume than the bottom portion, so Aron used his water bottle and camel back to get only the urine he thought he could stomach. He commented that the urine didn't quench his thirst, but it did give him enough nourishment to survive.

Ralston isn't upset by what happened and plans on climbing alone again adding that the rush he gets from the activity outweighs any pain it may have caused him. Aron said that the lesson he learned from his amputation was that anyone can overcome adversity by turning it into an advantage.

Howard Stern reasoned the real lesson was for people to never leave their homes.

My thought exactly.

BONUS POSTING: Sen. John McCain was on Sean Hannity's radio show last night talking about the recent federal court decision affirming the ruling that the reciting of the pledge of allegiance in school was unconstitutional. The court held that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God." McCain said the ruling won't stand and that in the meantime it's great news for the Republicans for fund raising purposes. He also said the case won't survive review in the Supreme Court and if it does, he said the right of the government to force little kids to swear an oath every morning to god will be protected by a constitutional amendment voted out of Congress and supported by W. Forced to read a written statement? I guess one prisoner of war's coercion is a religiously obsessed man's constitutional amendment. And to think I once had respect for this guy.

"More Jesus, less freedom. McCain '08"


Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

If there ever was anything that made a joke out of the Religious Right's assertion that there is no morality withoug God, it's this Pledge hysteria. Blogs everywhere are already calling for the brutal murder of that judge and the guy who brought suit.

One thing our founding fathers seemed to know is that neither God nor morality have anything to do with Bibles or Churches. It's not about atheism; it's about tribalism.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Martwork said...

Do we really need to read about dead hands and people sawing through their own bones at this time in the morning. Please warn your loyal readers in advance next time!!


One of your biggest fans

10:25 AM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

My blog is like a box of chocolates.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

You mean it makes your hands sticky?

11:26 AM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

You never know what you're going to get and it leaves a sweet taste in your mouth unlike other blogs...

11:29 AM  
Anonymous BBBetz said...

With all of the problems in this country, to make a supreme court case out of "Under God" is stupid. Kids have the right to "Free Will" and not say anything. Talk about activist judges. How about charges of criminal neglect against the mayor of New Orleans for not moving the poor out of the city.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous HR said...

HR said...

Dear Crank,
Most Americans who watch and listen to Howard Stern are only interested in the naked sluts.Not our crankyboy. Thanks for the graphic images of this poor slob who had to cut off his hand. Your have entered the Jeffrey Dahmer zone of unwanted thoughts. Next you'll be writing about which wine goes with human flesh the red or the white or if it really tastes like chicken.

Blah blah blah.................

1:49 PM

1:55 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

I am partial to Cabernet Sauvignon and it tastes like beef jerky.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I nominate BBBETZ for the American Society of Idiots non sequitur award.

As for life, it's more like 250 million dangerously stupid people than a box of anything.

4:08 PM  
Blogger d.K. said...

I always love it when people use the term "activist" judges. They are ALL activist. When the Supreme Court overturns the considered opinion of a circuit court (as will occur eventually in this case, quite possibly) instead of showing deference, is that "activism"??? We only complain when their interpretations conflict with ours. How can so many otherwise intelligent people not see that in themselves? Criminy.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Petunia McGillicuddy said...

I like your recent '08 campaign slogan binges.

I can deal with the hand story.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous BBBetz said...

Typical Liberal. If you don't have the facts attack them personally. Keep up the good work.

9:36 AM  

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