Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 02:29 GMT
A Colorado man who went to the dentist complaining of toothache found he had a 4-inch (10cm) nail in his skull.
Patrick Lawler had been suffering pain and blurry vision since a nailgun backfired on him at work, AP news agency reported.
The machine sent a nail through a nearby piece of wood – but little did Mr Lawler realise another nail had shot into the roof of his mouth.
The nail was embedded 4cm into his brain – barely missing his right eye.
Six days after his 6 January work accident, Mr Lawler decided to visit the dental clinic where his wife Katerina works because painkillers and ice failed to stop the pain.
“We all are friends, so I thought the [dentists] were joking… then the doctor came out and said, ‘There’s really a nail,'” Mrs Lawler said, according to AP.
“Patrick just broke down. I mean, he had been eating ice cream to help the swelling.”
Mr Lawler remains in hospital following a four-hour operation to remove the nail.
Mrs Lawler says her husband is thankful despite having no medical insurance and being faced with hospital bills of at least $80,000.
“The doctors said, ‘If you’re going to have a nail in the brain, that’s the way you want it to be,'” she said.
“He’s the luckiest guy, ever.”
Doctors at the hospital said it was the second time a patient had failed to notice a nailgun had fired a nail into their heads.