STILLWATER, Minn. (KMSP) - A Stillwater, Minnesota home builder missed death by just millimeters after a nail from a nail gun ricocheted and sent a spike right into his head.
Nick Thompson is bandaged and in a ton of pain, but given what he survived, he knows he is one lucky guy.
"This was the most freak thing that could have happened that I didn't die from,” said Thompson. “I don't know what else to say other than that."
Thompson, an experienced home builder, and his friend Frankie Peterson were framing a closet when something went horribly wrong.
Thompson had a pneumatic nail gun above his head. He figures he hit a nail already in the wood when the gun kicked back right into his face, which drove the next nail two inches deep into his skull.
"I didn't even know I had a nail in my eye until we got to the hospital and then sitting in the chair, I was like ‘Take a picture. Take a picture.’ I moved my hand. I still didn't think there was a nail in my eye at all,” he said.
Thompson was rushed into emergency surgery at Regions Hospital Monday evening, where doctors surgically maneuvered the front of his skull to remove the nail.
He now has the nail as a reminder of just how fortunate he is.
"One more millimeter and it was a lobotomy,” said Thompson. “One more millimeter and it was poke my eye out. One more millimeter this way and I was dead. There are so many things that could've gone wrong. I don't know how everything went right."
"It still hasn't processed,” said Peterson. “I don't think many people see that … the freakiest of freak accidents. It's hopefully something I never have to see again."
Miraculously, Thompson has his eyesight, his brain is functioning as it should and he is expected to make a full recovery. Though there are some concerns about possible infection.
"It's kind of given me perspective,” said Thompson. “A few days before Christmas - I got two kids. There are important things in life."