Table Saw ate the tip of my thumb off

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
I've had this particular saw for the past 20 years.

Been using table saws since high school.

Last week I cut the tip of my left thumb off.

Lost about 1/3 to 1/2 inch of my thumb. Basically cut my thumb through my thumbnail. So it is cut off above the base of the nail, well above the joint. So I still have the joint and movement.

Honestly it was quick and painless. Shortly after it happened I started going into shock, but I was already on my way to the hospital with my wife driving when that started to set in. Shattered the bone in the end of the thumb so they had to dig out the broken pieces in the emergency room before stitching it closed. I still have 1/2 the bone in there. The other half shattered into the remaining 'meat'. Not something you ever want to go through.

Still hurts. Pain killers help, but even with those it still hurts. Was at the hand surgeon today, no real surgery is needed. He said it was actually looking pretty good, stitches come out next Monday if everything continues to heal.

SO HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

Honestly I don't know. But I've been over-tired with the baby in the house. We don't have time to do anything. Being 59, pushing 60 and having a 4 month old baby in the house is really a challenge. Huge challenge. So take that stress, add the fact that the only time things get done is when the baby is asleep, all projects seem to be rushed. Add the lack of sleep, we are always tired. Mix in a power tool and there is a problem waiting to happen.

I will say its been somewhat traumatic mentally. A few nightmares. Some flashbacks. And this is a fairly mild power tool injury. Can't imagine what it would be like if I would have lost an entire finger instead of just a tip.

Not going to post a gross photo. This is what you get.
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2020-08-17 at 2.13.23 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2020-08-17 at 2.13.23 PM.png
    419.1 KB · Views: 88

Doc

Administrator
Staff member
Ouch. Man, I bet that did smart.
From my wife watching the grand kids I sure understand a baby in the house changes things....a lot. I admire you taking on the foster parent responsibility; I do not think I could handle that. I'm relieved when the parents finally come to get the kids. Of course as they've gotten older it's gotten a bit easier but still they get on my nerves. I've often said to my wife I understand why God arranged things as he did where we normally have our kids when we are younger. No way I could keep up with them day to day at this point in my life. Thank goodness I don't have to.
 

XeVfTEUtaAqJHTqq

Master of Distraction
Staff member
SUPER Site Supporter
Ouch - I still remember my Grampa hounding me to always use push sticks/blocks.

My neighbor did that a few years ago. He may have cut off a bit more than you. He initially had a hard time racking the slide on his Glock but otherwise I think he has gradually adapted to it over the years.
 

m1west

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
I've had this particular saw for the past 20 years.

Been using table saws since high school.

Last week I cut the tip of my left thumb off.

Lost about 1/3 to 1/2 inch of my thumb. Basically cut my thumb through my thumbnail. So it is cut off above the base of the nail, well above the joint. So I still have the joint and movement.

Honestly it was quick and painless. Shortly after it happened I started going into shock, but I was already on my way to the hospital with my wife driving when that started to set in. Shattered the bone in the end of the thumb so they had to dig out the broken pieces in the emergency room before stitching it closed. I still have 1/2 the bone in there. The other half shattered into the remaining 'meat'. Not something you ever want to go through.

Still hurts. Pain killers help, but even with those it still hurts. Was at the hand surgeon today, no real surgery is needed. He said it was actually looking pretty good, stitches come out next Monday if everything continues to heal.

SO HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

Honestly I don't know. But I've been over-tired with the baby in the house. We don't have time to do anything. Being 59, pushing 60 and having a 4 month old baby in the house is really a challenge. Huge challenge. So take that stress, add the fact that the only time things get done is when the baby is asleep, all projects seem to be rushed. Add the lack of sleep, we are always tired. Mix in a power tool and there is a problem waiting to happen.

I will say its been somewhat traumatic mentally. A few nightmares. Some flashbacks. And this is a fairly mild power tool injury. Can't imagine what it would be like if I would have lost an entire finger instead of just a tip.

Not going to post a gross photo. This is what you get.

I feel for ya, no lesson like the one that hurts you. Whenever I have hurt myself like that, it always felt surreal for a few seconds where I was asking myself, did that just happen. Wish you a speedy recovery.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Ouch - I still remember my Grampa hounding me to always use push sticks/blocks.

My neighbor did that a few years ago. He may have cut off a bit more than you. He initially had a hard time racking the slide on his Glock but otherwise I think he has gradually adapted to it over the years.

As dumb as it was I got lucky.

If it was a 1/2 inch lower it would likely have severed tendons, a bit
more and it would have nipped at the joint. So adjusting should be easy.

The key is that I can’t keep pushing myself to the limit of exhaustion on a daily basis. There must be relaxation, sleep, etc. There must be time to have a clear head. And when engaging in anything involving machinery, tools, etc then rest and a clear mind is a must.
 

EastTexFrank

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
I bet that brought a tear to your eyes. Good Lord Bob.

It happens so quickly, doesn't it? Years ago I fed the middle finger of my left hand in to a band saw. My wife drove me to the emergency and I cursed all the way, not so much because of the pain, but because I was so mad at myself for being so stupid.

I hope that the pain is short lived, that it heals good and your recovery time is short. I know that it's a horrible thing to say but you were kind of lucky that it was just the tip of the thumb. I know that right now that is no consolation but hang tough my friend.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
... My wife drove me to the emergency and I cursed all the way, not so much because of the pain, but because I was so mad at myself for being so stupid.

Exactly the same as my ride to the emergency room.

:th_lmao:
 

mla2ofus

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
Yeah, Bob, overall I think you got lucky, very lucky. Did they cut the bone back a little so when it heals up it will have sufficient cushion for the bone end? I had a little injury yesterday. A friend brought a driveline over to heat up the nut retaining the yoke so the hanger brg could be replaced. We got the nut off with a little heat from the torch. I was driving the yoke off with the 2 lb hammer and my large brass punch. Second hit I totally missed the punch and hit the left hand right above the thumb and it removed about a 1/2"x3/4" patch of hide. Not really too sore but it will take a while to scab over good.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Yeah, Bob, overall I think you got lucky, very lucky. Did they cut the bone back a little so when it heals up it will have sufficient cushion for the bone end?...

I hope so! They were digging around the end of my thumb and pulling out bits with a pair of pliers so I sure hope they got enough.
 

FrancSevin

Proudly Deplorable
GOLD Site Supporter
Table saws have no mercy when they bite into your meat. They like it rare. Hell, they even provide their own ketchup.:hammer:

Here's hope for a successful recovery. One needs their thumbs and quite frankly, should use them more than the middle finger.:thumb::thumb::thumb:
 
Last edited:

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
:bolt:
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 11.32.26 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 11.32.26 AM.png
    590.1 KB · Views: 69

NorthernRedneck

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
Dayum. That's gonna hurt in a day. My FIL did the same thing this summer on a table saw with his middle finger. He had to have a skin graph and surgery to repair it.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
So just an update ... Last of the stitches was taken out on Monday.

It's Friday and there is still a bit of drainage of the wound.

It has been about a month since this happened. I'm not taking pain pills, mostly stopped those last week, although I took 2 in the morning before that last stitch came out. None since then. That is not to say its not painful. It is uncomfortable. And if I bump it into anything I see stars. I would describe it as hyper sensitive but not generally painful.

General advice from me: leave the guards on your saws
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
So this accident happened approx 35 days ago.

Today was the first day that I rode my motorcycle, just a short ride about 10 miles. Pretty amazing that just the tip of a thumb can cause such pain and inconvenience.

I have some nerve damage, the tip of my thumb is not yet healed, but the top 1/2 inch that remains tingles like little electrical shocks when I touch anything. I don't see the hand surgeon for another 2+ weeks and I'll be asking him about that when I go back. It really wasn't all that noticeable because that was masked by other pain, but now that there is essentially very little pain I am left with the tingling sensation. What little real pain I have is at the edge of the thumb nail at where it connects to the nail bed. That part is still healing. The nail looks bruised. The end of my thumb, other than being shorter and a bit more squared off, is healing pretty well as the wound is closed over so there is now visually there just scar tissue, some discoloration/bruising. That is visually.

From my perspective its very sensitive to contact, I protect my thumb from touching anything. Accidental bumps don't cause me to see stars anymore but they still hurt like hell if the impact is at the tip. I was driving yesterday and while turning the steering wheel my thumb impacted the wheel, hurt for about 2 hours. WTF!?!

Basically what I'm saying is I don't recommend anyone do this :smileywac
 

bczoom

Super Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Do you use a finger splint at all? That should help stop the pain when you bump your thumb.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Do you use a finger splint at all? That should help stop the pain when you bump your thumb.

No, it was not recommended, as the doctor wants me to exercise the joint as much as possible. I have somewhat limited range on the thumb movement but I have most of it. I need to keep using it to try to get as much of that movement back as I can. So he never put it in a splint or recommended it. When I flex it into a fist is actually pulls against the wound but that is what he wants me to do.
 
Top