|Forum topic by 67flh||posted 02-14-2015 04:55 PM||2825 views||0 times favorited||50 replies|
02-14-2015 04:55 PM
On January 5th I got careless while operating my table saw, for some reason I felt the need to reach over the saw with my left hand while I was ripping a board. It happened so fast that I have no idea as to how I came in contact with the blade. When I pulled my hand back my thumb was splayed open in three directions, it was beyond a mess. I did not panic, I wrapped it in paper towels as it was bleeding quite a bit and headed to the house.
When I got into the house and was getting a towel to wrap it in I noticed that I had also cut the index finger removing the rt. side of the nail and opening the finger up to the second joint. I then as I was by myself drove the 12 miles into the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics emergency room. The nurse that admitted me told me that mine was the 5th table saw accident that he had seen this year, 5 days into the year and 5 accidents, that struck me as excessive till I did some online research and found that emergency rooms treat nearly 31,000 table saw accident patients each year. The good news was as he put it that mine did not look all that bad as compared to the others.
Initially I was in no pain, this changed about an hour after the accident and they gave me a shot of something that helped to a degree. I cannot say enough good things about the treatment I received. The hospital has a “Orthopedic hand team” and one of them was assigned to me. She spent every bit of two hours to stitch up my thumb and forefinger. She used massive amounts of lidocaine in an effort to make the procedure as painless for me as possible, but short of knocking me completely out I felt each time she pulled the needle through my flesh. With each stitch I pledged to myself that I would never do anything as careless as I had done that morning.
Five weeks post-accident my fingers are healing nicely, however they are both very swollen and more than a little sensitive, the thumb will not bend at all the forefinger will bend a little. My doctor tells me it will be at least a year before my thumb gets back to whatever normal I can hope it to be. I am very lucky to have all my digits! I only lost the very tip of the bone in my thumb, and did no damage to any of the tendons.
Up until now I have been hesitant to share my story, in fact I have been too embarrassed to share what I did with anyone. I am going to guess that the bulk of the folks who have had table saw accidents like mine may feel the same way. I told my doc that it was probably the stupidest thing I ever did in my entire life, she asked me if I had done it on purpose I said no. That makes it an accident she said, she then told me she had seen stupid before. I was just plain careless.
I am again using my saw but I am using it with a new found respect for what it is capable of doing to the human body. I will not make the same mistake twice, and I fully accept the personal responsibility for what happened, my saw was not the problem I was.