ORLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) — A 32-year-old Orland Park man couldn’t believe it when he saw the X-ray, revealing why he wasn’t feeling so good.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, Dante Autullo had been walking and talking, and even working at his side job plowing snow, in the time since he had accidentally shot himself in the head with a nail gun.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
But it turned out he had a 3 1/2-nch nail lodged in sideways in the middle of his brain the whole time.
“It’s a miracle,” his fiancée Gail Glaenzer said. “Un-freaking-believable.”
She said the accident happened when Autullo was standing on a ladder and working on a project in the garage. He had fired several nails when the recoil of the final shot sent the gun near his head.
“I was building a wall, and I was shooting it in, moving too fast, ‘Pop, pop, pop,’” Autullo told reporters at a Friday evening news conference with his doctor. “I was nailing for three days straight and my arm was getting sore and tired. (My) arm came down, and the gun hit me in the head and pressed the pressure sensor and ejected the nail into my brain.”
He didn’t know it at first, though.
Glaenzer, who has four children with Autullo, said she didn’t see any evidence of any penetration to his skull and Autullo told her the nail shot past his ear. He felt good enough to go out and plow snow.
“He’s a bull, he likes to work,” she said.
He went to work again on Wednesday. When he came home, he took a nap, woke up and felt nauseous. She drove him to Palos Community Hospital for a checkup.
An X-ray showed that there was nail lodged inside his brain, just millimeters away from the part of the brain that controls all motor functions.
“They were shocked because he was walking and talking and he had it in for 36 hours,” said Autullo’s mother, Jerri Autullo. “I hoped that it wasn’t going to be as bad as it looked.”
Autullo’s friend, Alison E. Bushemi, saw the picture he posted on his Facebook wall and thought it was a hoax.
“Then we realized there’s a nail stuck in his brain,” Bushemi said. “It’s something you’d see on (the television show), ‘Untold Stories of E.R.’ ”
Autullo was taken to Christ Medical Center where he had surgery Thursday morning. The operation took about four hours.
A surgeon removed the nail as well as part of his skull, which was replaced with mesh and a titanium plate.
“He wanted me to call the Discovery Channel to come film it,” Glaenzer quipped.
The surgery was successful, and Autullo could go home as soon as Saturday, his doctor told reporters.
The SouthtownStar contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.