Health Plus: Parkersburg man saws off fingers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Parkersburg man saws off fingers


A lot of people take on home improvement projects for the challenge--but with it comes some risk.

That's the case for one eastern Iowa hunting expert who lost two fingers working on his cabin.

In Health Plus we find out if he can ever hunt again without his trigger finger.

Roger Schmitt is adjusting to a new normal since he cut off two of his fingers in a table saw accident at his cabin this past July.

"The initial thing was kind of more of a survival thing. When it first happened, you look down and you see what's happened and you want to stop the bleeding," he said.

The 64-year-old from Parkersburg happens to be a hunting expert at Scheels in Cedar Falls, which makes his situation more challenging since he lost his trigger finger in the mishap.

"Besides living and breathing hunting all fall myself, my wife hunts with me. I've got a grandson that we're just getting ready to start hunting," he said.

His occupational therapist at Covenant's Kimball Ridge Center in Waterloo is the only certified hand therapist in the Cedar Valley.

She uses a sand-blasting effect to prepare the sensitive ends for exercises.

"It's not uncommon to be very sensitive, not like to be touched by any textures, so functionally picking things up and handling is going to be very difficult. So we start right in on some desensitization as well," said Linda Westpfahl, an occupational therapist.

Linda says though his healing takes time, Roger should be able to return to his passion.

"You know when he comes in we talk about that right off the bat. What are the things you did before and how are we going to get you back there and it's just wonderful to see," she said.

"I'm going forward. It's one of those things you get to the point where you say this is what you're dealt. Now you go deal with it," he said.

Already thanks to modified equipment, like a trigger release, Roger has been able to shoot a bow.

Before working at Scheels, Roger owned an archery shop in Waterloo for 20 years.

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