HOLY SMOKES . You are one crazy dude! Thanks for a great and dramatic/never to forget lesson, but PLEASE DON'T DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT AGAIN Riving knife good - push pad bad!
And now to promote a great controversy: My only push stick for the past 20 years has been this or something like it
It is a 9" long soft metal "spike", this one made from an old paint roller frame. You could do it in such a way so that the paint roller handle is still attached but over the years I have come to prefer this. The metal is soft enough that if you do run into your blade the tip will snip off easily BUT DON'T DO THAT!
IMPORTANT NOTE I keep the tip pointed but not so sharp that it sticks so well in my wood that it doesn't release. I like it to hold the wood but not to stick in. The push stick has allowed me great control over my work. I can completely control the end of any piece passing through the saw (or jointer). No other push stick design has ever given me the complete sense of security (and real control) that this design allows. Yes, it leaves a tiny pin prick in all my work. 98% of the time that is eliminated by the next cross cut, but when the hole needs to show I call it a trade mark of safe work. The idea of a pointed stick like this freaks people out until they try it, so you too, please don't be freaked out - this thing really does an important job very well. Yes, I have all my fingers, eyes etc. after nearly 35 years behind a table saw. But, like all of us, I have some stories... Take care out there - keep your wits.