Monday, March 9, 2020

Life is full of journey's.

Don't know exactly what this post has to do with chukar hunting but I am stuck in this room for a few days and it would be a good time to write about my latest journey with my chain saw. I'm hoping to get a lot of readers just for the fact of knowing what we are capable of doing when we need to as well as to attach chukar hunting to the final outcome. Here goes.

March 2 was going to be a boring day around the Szurgot house and so I made plans to do a little yard work and then take the dogs for a hike to finish the day off. I had fallen a tree the previous day and had plans finish it up. Even though the tree was on the ground, the bottom part was still attached to the stump. It was obvious to me that when I cut the part still attached, the tree would roll off the stump away from me. The next thing I knew I was trying to get up off the ground and my mind was saying you're in trouble. I don't remember those few seconds that the log sprung back off the stump and shot into my leg. It had to have happened with great force. I couldn't get up and realized my leg was broken and so I called out several times "I need help". Grady and Jake were both licking me in the face and sensed something was wrong. The first thing I had to do was crawl across the creek and than pull myself 150 feet or so to my side by side.

That was my first sign of how bad of trouble I was in. My leg got stuck as I crossed the creek and when I looked back to see what it was stuck on I was sickened by seeing the way my foot was pointing the wrong way and my pants looked like there was a broken bone pushing on them. I tried to roll a little but the bottom part of my leg stayed in the same position so I just pulled a little harder and was soon heading up the yard. This whole time (I have no idea of how long) I would scream with each pull and then talk to the boys who were carefully walking by my side. They were super.

As I got to the side by side, I pulled myself up to the seat and got my good leg on the floor board and looked at my left leg which was just dangling over the edge. I don't remember a lot of pain at that time but there must have been more than I think because I remember screaming with every move. As I looked at my leg I remember thinking "Oh my God, you're going to lose your leg". I lifted my broken leg to the floor board and tried to position the foot flat on the floor. Both dogs were wanting to get into the side by side because that is where they ride when we use it to go some place but they seemed to understand when I said stay and then followed me to the neighbors with a heal. Wow! It looked like some of that yard training actually worked.

My neighbor, Bill Anderson, is a retired fireman and paramedic and I knew that would be the best place to go for help. He was burning leaves in his front field and casually looked up at me as I pulled up 20 yards away. "Bill, I need some help. I just broke my leg." Never seeing Bill do his paramedic thing, I was impressed as to how well he jumped into action. The doctor said his fast actions contributed to me not losing my leg. From that moment on I knew I was totally dependent on him and focused on every word he said. He calmly talked me into relaxing the best I could as he cut my boot off and then continued to my pant leg. As he cut the socks off I could finally see the bones and felt it wasn't going to turn out good.

Jake and Grady were trying to keep an eye on me but Gayle, Bill's wife, kept their attention while she called for life fight. I kept talking to them about the dogs and they assured me that they would be just fine. Their dog and mine are good buddies and play a lot together anyhow so at least I was at ease as to their care. I was just as concerned as to how I was going to get them their three times a week hike in the mountains. That has been my life enjoyment for the past thirty years. I was as concerned about that as I was my health. For now though, my leg and dogs were in the good hands of my neighbors.

Soon the Horseshoe Bend ambulance arrived but they said there was very little more they could do, other than what Bill had already done and I should just lat flat until the life flight showed up, which was very soon. They transported me to the helicopter and we were soon on our way to the hospital. They must have given me something good because I remember them mentioning how well I could screw up a leg and suddenly we were in the hospital.

Everything was a real blur at the hospital and I vaguely remember my conversation with the Doc but  it had to do with how to proceed with the possibility of losing my lower leg. Five hours later I awoke with my family standing there. Barbara, Kerri, Conner and Mac. I was really in lala land but somehow was convinced everything came out great.

Okay, that's how the day played out. What is so different from how many such stories go and why post it on a chukar blog? Maybe it would be better if I called it a passion blog. I believe my passion for chukar hunting and dogs is what is going to help make the ending of this ordeal positive.

When the accident first happened I was just concerned about my leg, but because of my love for my dogs I was quickly concentrating on how I was going to get back to what I love. There is an old saying about chukar hunting "your first hunt is for fun and the next is for revenge". I disagree. I believe the first hunt is for the experience and if you continue chasing chukars it's about the challenge. I can see how easy it might be to give up after an accident like this and say just go with the flow if you don't have a passion. But having that passion my mind won't let me even think of a life without it. Plus that passion probably helped making my body strong enough to overcome the injury.

Contained passions are a great thing. Without them life can become a little dull. I truly believe that if it weren't for my passion for chukar hunting and being with my dogs and the love and care from my family I wouldn't be sitting here with such a positive attitude. It would become too easy to sit here feeling sorry for myself and popping pain pills. If you're reading this blog you are probably a chukar hunter and maybe you already know what chukar hunting does for you but I can tell you your health thanks you for hitting that mountain.

Here are a few shots of my leg.
A couple of these stapled places are where the bones were protruding.
And some of them where they had to insert the metal plates.
In the end I have more metal in my leg to accompany my knee replacement.
Thank you to Bill, life flight and the hospital doctors and nurses for a job well done. I know two dogs you made very happy.


Anonymous said...

Great piece of writing Larry. I like your ability to have a sense of humor and positive attitude. You will be back out there with your boys next season, maybe moving a bit slower but enjoying it more. Hang in there,maybe Barb can bake you some cinnamon rolls to ease the pain.
Alan and the setter

Greg said...

Lucky for you your neighbor was handy and skilled. And continuing on, we hunters can benefit from your story about being prepared for the unknown. The new emergency satellite alert systems are worth noting. I have an ACR system in my bird vest that alerts a worldwide emergency network whereever I am....a $200 system that is excellent but limited to alerts for life threatening situations only. The Inreach system is a bit more money but allows more communication for broken down vehicles, etc. I think it is better for coverage than the Spot system which I had for several years.

Calton said...

Larry, those are some scary times! What a terrible accident and I feel for you. No I'v never had that happen to me, however, I work in orthopedics and have assisted in fixing many of those fractures and assisted people in their recoveries. Thanks for posting the x-rays because it does give real insight in the amount of energy that went through your leg! Looks like they did a great job fixing it up and I think you'll do excellent. Just give it some time. Let it heal and get back out there! Praying for your quick recovery and for the dogs as well. Here's to another great upcoming season!

Hanson said...

Holy cow. Great reminders for all of us-about being safe and having the right mindset when things do go wrong. Good luck in your rehab Larry. I bet I know where you will be come October........

Tuckers Chukars said...

Thanks again guys. That's pretty much the message I am trying to get across. Many people go through things much worse than mine and survive just fine but it's usually something special that enhances recovery. In my case it's chukar hunting and my dogs. Each day I am reminded by my dogs how much I need to be back on the mountain. Also the need to utilize the equipment man has available to help us out in situations like this. Recovery device.

Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

Wow, what an event. I'm glad that you came out of it more or less okay, both due to your neighbor, and to your own clear thinking.

"Okay, that's how the day played out. What is so different from how many such stories go and why post it on a chukar blog?"

I know exactly why you posted it.

Also, having spent a lifetime outdoors, and a lot of that time all by myself, it's not a bad thing to think of what can happen out in the out of doors when you are by yourself. That's not a deterrent to doing it, but it is a thing to think about, including in regard to what you carry and how you dress. On another blog that's linked into mine, "1870 to 1918", the author was a dedicated East Coast solitary hiker who actually died in a fall all by her own. Things can and do happen.

Job Pedro said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wow! Larry.

My first thought after reading this was, Its going to take a lot more than a game leg to keep that fella out'a them hills.

Best a luck to ya for sure, looking forward to reading your hunting reports this coming season.
Tyler-- AKA.... Wingnut

Anonymous said...

Larry I am just reading this for the firs time, and am so sorry you had this accident but thrilled to see the progress you have made after Iread the turkey hunting piece just posted. Hang in there. Im sure you will see the chukar slopes again, dogs in view, and gun in hand. Gentleman from Tenn