Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hand Saga 2: Nail Guns

My wife, not a fan of my blog, has urged me to share my story as a warning to others.

My little accident on March 19 occurred using a framing nail gun I wasn't used to. Normally I use a battery-powered finish nailer for thinner wood. But 2x4s require a 2-3 inch full size nail to hold boards together. In the old days hammers were used - and how often would I mash my thumb - I wasn't very good at hammering either -- nowadays most people use guns -- you can hear the constant thwack on construction jobs.

We have a state of the art gas-powered Passlode (expensive) framing gun. I was building a bench and had to nail  two 2x4s together. I used my left hand to steady the wood and shot the nail with my right. I didn't have the gun lined up correctly and the nail passed through the first piece but missed the second by a hair, apparently nicking the tip of the fleshy part of my palm just below the area of where the thumb meets the forefinger. The nail did not embed - there was little pain or blood - just a small indentation.
[Spoiler alert -- later revealed to not be the result of nail but a small piece of wood - a very big splinter - shot into my hand and embedded.]

I thought little of it. I pressed a paper towel - probably not clean - against it and went on to finish nailing the rest of the bench. One thing I realized on the shot that got me - this tool is very powerful and has a kick - so I was pretty careful in using it from then on.

A former doctor was working with me on the bench and urged me to wash the wound and use the first aid kit -- i put some antiseptic and gauze over it and when i got home i put some iodine. I went to the city and by the evening there was pain in my fingers and inflammation beyond the wound. I took advil when i got home and swelling went down and pain went away -- that was my solution -- masking the dangers.

Friday i told my wife and she said i should go to local urgent care. i was too busy. Same on Saturday - but by evening it was clear i had to go. As i chronicled in a previous post i went sunday morning -updated - talk to the hand - Lessons Learned: The quality of a doctor matters more than that of a teacher - you can lose your hand to flesh-eating bacteria the urgent care doc was not alarmed. He should have been. Sunday night we decided i had to go to my doc. And he sounded an alarm - hoping a dose of IV antibiotic would work. Monday eve at Gigi - it seemed to be working. Tues morn it looked to be reversing. Tues afternoon things were getting bad.

Tired from typing with 1 finger. Back next time with next chapter.

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