An Orland man is recovering after he was operated to remove a 3 1/2-inch nail from the middle of his brain.
After he had accidentally shot himself in the head with a nail gun Tuesday morning, Dante Autullo was blissfully unaware of it for more than 24-hours.
The 32-year-old Orland Park resident walked, talked, and even did some work at his side job, plowing snow, after the accident. His fiancee Gail Glaenzer 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.
With his finger still on the trigger, a sensor on the top of the gun recognized a flat surface, and unloaded a nail into his brain. Glaenzer, who has four children with Autullo, said he suffered a small gash on his head, which he thought was caused by the nail gun whipping him in the head.
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 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 check-up.
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. I hoped that it wasn't going to be as bad as it looked," Naperville sun quoted Autullo's mother, Jerri Autullo, as saying.
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. It's something you'd see on (the television show), 'Untold Stories of E.R,' "Bushemi said.
Autullo was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn 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. "It's a miracle. Un-freaking-believable," said Glaenzer.