A shaft like that (called a power takeoff) should really have a safety shield, and if this one had had one, John would have bounced off it unhurt. Instead, it grabbed him and rotated him through the air faster than any human should move, then threw him to the ground but kept his arms for itself. John blacked out for a bit then awoke about 20 pounds lighter and spurting blood from two ends. The first challenge was just standing up, no easy feat. Then came a quick 500-foot uphill jog to get to his house.
The door he tried was locked, but he managed to get a different screen door open, probably with his teeth. He hunted for a phone to call for help, but the first few he saw used rotary dials, which were obviously not an option. Finally, he spotted a comparatively modern push-button phone. He tried hitting a few buttons with his nose. But he couldn't press one at a time.
So he got a pencil, held it between his teeth, and dialed. Not 911 -- 911 didn't exist in rural North Dakota in 1992 -- but a cousin, whose number he knew from memory. Then stumbled to the bathroom and lay in the bathtub to await help. He didn't want to bleed on his mother's rug more than necessary.
Help came, though not that quick. The cousin had to start a chain of calls to summon a volunteer ambulance from 13 miles away. When they made it to the house, they were surprised to find John lucid enough to direct his own rescue, telling the amateur personnel how to retrieve his arms, store them in garbage bags, and pack them with ice. He had lost almost half the blood in his body, but the bleeding had stopped as his arteries squeezed shut from the trauma.
Not only did John survive, but the doctors managed to reattach both his arms in one of the first surgeries of its kind. He never had perfect penmanship post-recovery, but he was able to drive a car, light a cigarette, and work as a realtor. Last time reporters checked in on him, he was thinking of moving south, to someplace without any ice to slip on.