(NBC News) - Eugene Rakow is not one to sit around and clutch a pillow, but that's what he'll be doing the next few months.
"The surgeon said I ought to buy a lottery ticket you got to be the luckiest man alive," said Rakow.
A carpenter by trade, self-made and self-employed, he's the one his wife and seven kids rely on.
Friday, he was constructing a deck on his neighbor's house in Minnesota when the nail gun he was using nailed him.
"I was holding it up and I shot the nail in and the nail gun bounced, hit my chest and it went off again," Rakow explained.
His chest was no match for the nail, his heart was something else.
"The nail missed several key structures in his heart by only millimeters," said Dr. Louis Louis IV, Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern.
Dr. Louis performed open heart surgery and removed the nail ever so carefully. Fortunately, it didn't pierce anything vital.
"I have a good testimony saying that the Lord saved me, saved my life and that it's his doing," explained Rakow. "Nail could of went any direction and we could be at a funeral."
Instead, he's greeted by welcome home paintings, a daughter's 20th birthday and a desire to get back to work.
"Where the nail went in as soon as that heals up," he explained. "I'm going to make some type of chest vest that will hold my sternum in place so I can go back to work."
Certainly his family and doctors will have something to say about that, although work will definitely be waiting.
Eugene Rakow does not have medical insurance, so all of the bills will have to be paid out of pocket.
The family is already thinking of different jobs his wife and the teenage children can do.
In the meantime, his daughter, Naomi Rakow, has a Paypal account where donations can be accepted.