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Healing Hand Journal #1: How I almost lost my fingers **Warning Graphic Images**

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Blog entry by chaneg posted 07-28-2016 04:25 PM 1141 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Healing Hand Journal series Part 2: The Surgery »

I am fairly new to this website, and new to the furniture making hobby, but I am not new to woodworking or power tools in general. I have been using this same table saw for over 15 years now. On July 10th 2016, I had a shop accident with the table saw. I did not have a blade guard on the saw (Never do), nor was I using push sticks or grippers or anything like that. That was my big mistake. I was ripping a piece of 4/4 cherry down to 1 5/8” pieces. On my final pass thru the saw I had 1 5/8” material on both sides of the saw blade. I had two fingers from each hand on the stock, one on each side of the blade. I was pushing down with my index fingers and forward with my thumbs. Right as the stock was separating into two pieces the accident happened! Everything was so quick I couldn’t even say how it happened. One second I see the stock separating, the next I feel my fingers hurting. I remember thinking, “that was stupid, you just touched the blade.” The next second I glance at my hand and realize I did way more than just touch the blade. I clamped my right hand over my fingers and went running into the house. Everyone else was relaxing, taking there after church nap when I came barging in the house yelling, “I just cut my finger off”. My wife wakes up stunned, and takes control telling my 17 year old son to go find the missing piece of my finger as she is getting her shoes and purse. He goes running out to the shop with a wet rag to put my finger in, and finds the table saw still running, but no finger. My 15 year old daughter is in total panic mode yelling at my wife to get going and throwing car keys at her. I will not un-clamp my right hand off of my wounded left so that my wife can look at it, because I’m afraid of what I will see, so she decides off to the ER we go. My son drove to the local small town ER with my wife and I in the back seat. My daughter does not deal well with trauma so she stayed home. On the way my son is driving and talking to 911, while I am howling in absolute agony in the back seat with my wife trying to calm me down. This ER is about a 20 min drive and about half way there I am getting too weak to keep the pressure on my hand anymore so I relent and let my wife take over the care of my hand. I just put my head up and closed my eyes and let go. When she saw it she immediately told me the finger was all still there, nothing was cut completely off. Then she wrapped it in a t shirt she had grabbed before we left and kept the pressure on it the rest of the way. When we got to the ER they were waiting for us outside with a wheel chair thanks to my sons 911 call. I remember the nurse asking me while pushing me to my room, ” I know this is a silly question, but what do you rate your pain 1-10?” I of course cried out 10. When they got me in a bed and took my blood pressure it was higher than 200/100 and they began trying to get me to calm down. I finally did when the IV was in and the pain medicine was coursing thru my veins. That was a huge relief, but they couldn’t do much else for me at this ER other than take a couple x-rays. We got to the ER around 4:00 on that Sunday Afternoon, and by early evening they had given me a nice ambulance ride to a large hospital about an hour away. At that time of night on a Sunday they weren’t going to try and fix it, because it was going to need surgery, so they wrapped it up, kept feeding me pain killers, and my wife and I spent the night in the hospital.

I will continue the story in the next couple days. I am at home healing now, but still in a lot of pain without pain medicine, and have to type one handed. Below are some gruesome pictures my wife took that night in the ER.
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This is my index finger on my left hand.

Here is my thumb.

Here is my hand. The cut on my index finger went thru the bone right at the knuckle and ends
about the same spot on the bottom of my finger.



7 comments so far

View mrhammerstein's profile

mrhammerstein

14 posts in 492 days


#1 posted 07-28-2016 05:09 PM

Damn!

-- Beat it to fit. Paint it to match.

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1770 posts in 3557 days


#2 posted 07-28-2016 07:54 PM

Sorry Man. That sucks. Get better.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7487 posts in 1474 days


#3 posted 07-28-2016 09:09 PM

DAMN! That had to hurt like hell. And it’s GONNA leave a mark!

You aint gonna hear it from me, but be prepared for the “Safety Police” to start jumping your azz about not using guards, push sticks, etc….

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View jbay's profile (online now)

jbay

819 posts in 366 days


#4 posted 07-28-2016 10:08 PM

Did almost the same thing as you about 15 years ago.
My index finger, same as your thumb.
My ring finger and middle finger just like your index finger.
Blew out the knuckle of my middle finger, Dr put a pin in it and fused it together.
Went to the ER, got bandages and sent to a surgeon. Surgeon said he didn’t take my insurance, told me to find another Dr. Huh? Like I was supposed to open the yellow pages and look for a hand specialist? After several calls insurance gave them permission. Like you, I didn’t get the surgery done until later that night (about 12 hours after it happened).
Hand is back to normal, other than the fused finger that doesn’t bend.
It took a little bit to get back on the saw. Was really nervous using it for a long time, but it does go away.
Doesn’t bother me at all anymore.
I did learn to be safer doing whatever procedure I’m doing.

Just wanted to let you know your not alone, and it won’t be bad.
Thanks for sharing

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

1959 posts in 1455 days


#5 posted 07-28-2016 11:08 PM

The guy is brave to post this and admit the short coming. It should be a reminder to all of us to take an extra second to think things thru.

View Tomoose's profile

Tomoose

410 posts in 2840 days


#6 posted 07-29-2016 03:54 PM

Man, that really sucks. I wish you fast healing and best of luck in your recovery. Thank you for posting your accident as a reminder to the rest of us of how quickly things can happen.

Best-
Tom

-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View WhoMe's profile

WhoMe

1468 posts in 2710 days


#7 posted 07-30-2016 08:29 PM

I’m extremely sorry this happened to you. Even though that is bad, thankfully it was not worse.
From one who almost cut the ends of 3 fingers off on my table saw because I didn’t pick up my push stuck once and I had a kick back accident, you have my deepest sympathies.
I hope your recover goes well.
Thank you for posting this as a reminder that we ask need to be as safe as we can in our shops.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

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