I looked at him sternly and said, "Dave, take that to the doctor. It's infected." He brushed it off and wandered out again.
A couple of hours later, he came in again. Now the whole side of his face was visibly swollen. He complained that his temple was aching (mind you, the lump was in the middle of his forehead, he didn't get whacked in the temple). I said "Dave, when was the last time you had a tetanus shot?"
He didn't know. Not anytime in adulthood. "Tetanus?" he mused..."what's that do to you, anyway? It could be, I guess, the boards weren't very clean."
I looked at him even more sternly and said "Lockjaw. Dave, go to the doctor now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200."
Still he equivocated. "What's lockjaw do? It sounds pretty serious, you're scaring me."
I said "GOOD. You should be scared. Lockjaw can kill you. Think convulsions. That's why it's such a big deal to stay up to date on tetanus shots! Go see the doctor!" Meanwhile, I was busily googling tetanus, lockjaw, and just for good measure, lead poisoning (the boards were painted with old paint). Took the pile over to his desk, as he had wandered out again. Highlighted the relevant symptoms and consequences of going untreated.
Dave left for the day, I ended up working a double & coming in again yesterday at noon (my regular start time). Moments after I arrived, Dave came in.
"Oh, my god", he said "you were right! I went to the doc after work Monday. He gave me these monster antibiotic pills (they really are huge), and a shot, and told me that the infection could have spread to my brain! If I had waited much longer he said I would have been in the hospital with an antibiotic IV drip for 6 weeks!"
Okay, so maybe I didn't save a life, exactly...but at least weeks of misery in the hospital, neh? :)