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CARPENTER DOING FINE AFTER GETTING NAILED

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On Monday, Grangruth walked into a nail gun held by a co-worker on a ladder, causing the pneumatic nailing gun to shoot the 2 3/8-inch galvanized nail through his baseball cap and into the middle of his forehead while they were building a garage in a town near Duluth.

"I heard the gun go off, but I didn't know it got me until I tried to take my cap off and I couldn't," said Grangruth, a carpenter.

If you have to get nailed in the head, Grangruth "couldn't have picked a better spot if he tried," said Dr. William Himango, Grangruth's physician.

Grangruth, 20, could have been killed or suffered brain damage had the nail hit a vein or artery or a part of the brain that controls some specific neurological functions, Himango said.

Instead, the nail went cleanly into the brain's frontal lobe, which often can continue to function normally despite such an injury. The frontal lobe controls certain abstract thinking and memory storage. So far it appears that Grangruth hasn't suffered damage in either function, Himango said.

But he was taking some good-natured ribbing from relieved relatives. His sister, LeAnn Grangruth, said she'll start worrying if she sees indications of mental changes, like signs "of him being nicer."

Grangruth and his partner were nailing soffits onto the eaves of a garage they were building when Grangruth bumped into the nail gun. His head released a pressure-activated safety, allowing the gun to shoot the galvanized nail into the middle of his forehead.

He asked his partner to pull the nail out, but the partner refused and Grangruth waited calmly for an ambulance. He was taken to St. Luke's Hospital, where Himango removed the nail with surgical pliers three hours and 15 minutes after the accident.

Grangruth said he didn't feel much pain after the accident and the tight-fitting nail allowed virtually no bleeding. A CAT-scan revealed no hemorrhaging, which could have been "potentially disastrous" because of the pressure it could have exerted on the brain, Himango said.

Tuesday, the only sign of Grangruth's wound was a bandage over the opening.

If no infection occurs, he could go home in a day or two, and he said he plans to get right back on the job.