Dealing with the Aftermath of an Injury

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Forum topic by jawoodworking posted 09-25-2008 11:12 PM 2535 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 4616 days

09-25-2008 11:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw fingers injury kickback

Hey guys, I have a question for everyone out there. Over on my blog I have an entry talking about a close call I had a few months ago with the table saw a 10/4 piece of Alder. A week or so ago I had a comment on that entry from a lady whose boyfriend had a pretty sever accident on his table saw. Below is her comment:

I found your blog, and I have a question for you. My boyfriend just had a terribly injury on Friday, is still in the hospital on Sunday. He had some fingers hit the blade, and almost lost a finger. Do you know anyone that has been through reattachment and aftermath? I just was wondering what to expect, since I’m the one to take care of him. Everything is so up in the air right now. Thanks, and thanks for your blog.


I was hoping there was someone out there who could give Kim some advice on how to deal with the trauma and stress after a loved one has a woodworking injury, and the issues associated with the reattachment of appendages after an accident.

Jared Patchin
J. Alexander Fine Woodworking

-- J Alexander Fine Woodworking:

11 replies so far

View jawoodworking's profile


2 posts in 4616 days

#1 posted 09-25-2008 11:30 PM

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4645 days

#2 posted 09-26-2008 12:07 AM

Yep, that’s me! Thanks for helping Kim. Poor girl, she was up all night at the hospital while I was sedated.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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John Gray

2370 posts in 4972 days

#3 posted 09-26-2008 06:19 AM

Thanks for the post!! I read all the links!!! Kinda’ reminds me about one of my trips to the ER only mine wasn’t nearly as severe.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


531 posts in 4683 days

#4 posted 09-26-2008 11:47 AM

When my best friend took the tip of his finger off in a table saw his wife and kids were not even home. So we had to call them and have them meet us at the ER. Fortunately, they are both pretty level headed people and I am a PT EMT.

I know there was a lot of pain during recovery, his could not be re-attached. There was a lot of phantom sensation and pain (feeling in a part of the body that isn’t there anymore, but the nerves are all confused so they keep sending signals anyway). He is a pretty funny guy though and it was only a matter of hours before we were all calling him Stubby. The recovery period was long, longer than any of us anticipated, I think he was bandaged for almost 3 months and still having phantom sensation for almost 6 months.

He still plays with woodworking so it didn’t knock him off the horse competely.

I think men tend to be more readily accepting of events and don’t panic as much, just deal with them. Women tend to be more concerned with the loss and pain part of the event and will harbor those fears and concerns much longer.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

273 posts in 4839 days

#5 posted 10-16-2008 06:25 AM

Tha last time I took the tip of my finger of I drovr 15’ to the hopitail only to find out he was going to finis pulling(cutting) it off, then stchitch it back on. Now I have a thumb that is a PITA,no felling and does not bend.Glad your are getting better. I need to go a zone out on the couch till moring. ;)

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View woodbutcherer's profile


30 posts in 4542 days

#6 posted 12-11-2008 03:48 AM

Hehehe , I just spent the last half hour prying into your life Cap’nSkully and it brings back some giggles. I lost the tip (last joint out) of my left index finger to a table saw 3 years ago.

I remember, I was like “damn it…” and went up stairs where my wife did a “decapitated chicken” on speed dance. I stood there bleeding into the kitchen sink asking for a towel and she hands me a little tiny dish rag. Hello?! I said a TOWEL…

Anyway, she rounds up the kids and she drives me to the local hospital at a rate of speed so high we actually got there before we left home.

Same deal as you. it was still attached by a little skin, in this case the finger print part. Doc insisted on reattaching, I wanted amputation (which is what I got a month later anyway). I then discovered that with a little help from Uncle Vicodan, a whole week can magically dissappear.

lessons for me? Work safe (duh), next time I cut off a piece of…me…just keep it off, I will never lose another pair of mittens, cuz my hand now aches in the cold and I remember them as soon as I get outside, and finally, EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD HAS A DAD/UNCLE/GRANDPA/ETC. who did the same damn dumb thing as I did.

As a PS., my stump was sypersensitive to touch (translation: everything hurt). An amputee friend taught me to rub/massage/touch the stump as much as possible to retrain the nerves in that area. It really worked if you have any of those issues.

-- POST NUBILA SOL - After clouds sunshine

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1466 posts in 5174 days

#7 posted 12-11-2008 05:17 AM

I remember my father telling me about a guy who cut off a finger at work.
When he got back on the job they did an investigation of the incident and asked him to demonstrate how it happened.
He cut off the next finger.

Go figure.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View mart's profile


190 posts in 4711 days

#8 posted 12-11-2008 05:59 PM

I lost the end of my left middle finger to a table saw about eleven years ago. I actually took the top half of the finger from the knuckle to the tip. There was no reattachment to be done, the finger was so severely chewed up. The original doctor amputated part of the bone and rolled the skin over to make a new tip. Three months later I was back in to have the rest of the bone back to the knuckle removed due to problems with some nail bed that was left.

It is fine now although I have always felt the doctor did a hack job leaving me with a somewhat bulbous finger tip (he had assured me that it would be tapered like a regular finger tip). It makes typing a challenge. I still get pain in it from exposure to cold and still have ghost feelings where the tip used to be. It took nearly a year before I could work comfortably over a table saw again.

You just have to take each day as they come. For a while you will have a sense of fear or trepidation every time you fire up the saw, at least I did. Don’t worry, you will get over it. After a while it will cease to be a point of stress for you and you will resume woodworking and enjoying it.

I work a week on/week off schedule at my job. On my return to work each week some smartalek always seems to need to examine my hand for more missing digits or makes a comment about the possibility of my missing more fingers. After this many years the jokes while not offensive are not funny anymore, particularly in the morning meetings in front of a crowd where I have to take center stage to brief everyone. Sorry about that, going off on a rant I guess.

Most people are genuinely concerned for you but don’t know how to ask about you injury so will either joke about it or bring up uncle so and so who did the same thing. Be patient with them. Most of them mean well. Kids are great though, they will flat out ask you what happened. Their parents always correct them for being so direct but I like that, they have a question and want it answered. You have to love that kind of curiosity.

Sorry about your accident. Good luck with your recovery.


View Padre's profile


930 posts in 4575 days

#9 posted 12-12-2008 08:27 PM

One of the hings I noticed about many accidents/traumas is the depression that accompanies the recovery. Whether it be cutting off a digit or having a major heart attack, many folks become extremely depressed in the 6-18 month range. It’s a combination of realizing you are completely human, that it ‘could have’ been a lot worse, that somehow you are not as ‘complete’ as before, fear, trepidation and on and on. As Mart said, sometimes people who mean well treat you differently, and ‘try not to stare’ type of stuff.

Depression can be treated many ways, and if nipped in the bud won’t spiral down into clinical depression.

Just my .02 worth from being there.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View woodyoda's profile


117 posts in 4543 days

#10 posted 12-13-2008 06:01 AM

I work with people with trauma and help them heal faster, Have her contact me through my message center. Getting rid of the trauma is only part of the problem, he is probably facing fear of the saw too. Md’s can give you a pill, but I know of none that help. But I can probably help him in one hour, plus reduce his pain without medication. Steven

View bob101's profile


341 posts in 4536 days

#11 posted 01-22-2009 04:30 AM

The recovery from an injury like this is painfull and there more than likely will be phantom pain and mobility issues depending on the severity(didnt look at photo’s).There is also the psychological aspect to consider as well.Hope all goes well, and get back on the horse!
Rob (medic)

-- rob, ont,canada

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