By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
Searing pain shot through my knee as I tried to load the massive buck onto my Honda 4 wheeler during my final hunt of the year. “It is time,” my body screamed as I dropped the antlers and tried to compose myself. The nauseating pain was more intense than any I’d experienced before.
Paralyzed with pain and a fear of the unknown it took me only a few minutes before I regained my composure and tried to get my wits about me enough so that I could make it out of the woods.
What about turkey season? Could I recover in time to pursue my passion? What about crappie fishing and bass fishing, would I recover in time to fish and hunt during our spring season? Many of my wheel chair bound friends experience those very same questions every day of their lives. Except they want to know when and if they will ever go again.
I lay there trying to get my wits about me as I tried to determine who was talking as I woke up to unfamiliar voices. As I drifted in and out of consciousness I found I couldn’t move my leg. I gradually regained consciousness and was relieved to find out I’d made it through surgery. Too many deer, lunker bass, ladders and bundles of shingles had finally done me in.
For the first time in my life I woke up to the reality that I couldn’t walk on my own two feet. I couldn’t even stand up without help as my leg was too week to stand or even get into a vehicle. About ten days in I couldn’t stand it anymore.
“Kye, can you take me to a lake and let me sit on a pier, or bucket?” I asked a friend recently. I couldn’t drive, and could barely walk without pain and crutches but needed a serious shot of adrenaline from a walk on the wild side.
Arriving at the lake I quickly determined I’d need help to get my gear, maybe a rod and reel and a few lures to the pier. Every little thing that we take for granted was hard for me now. I couldn’t just get up and get my rods out of the bed of the truck and walk to the water and start fishing. Getting into a boat was not even an option. Suddenly I had to think about what I was going to do and where I was going to do it and if I could even do it.
Cold water, wind, and the elements made for tough fishing on an otherwise beautiful Saturday, one better served spent beside a warm crackling fire with a cup of coffee and a good book. But that wasn’t me and never will be.
A couple of casts with a plastic worm yielded nothing, nada, no bites at all. A few minutes went by before I spotted a swirl, the telltale sign of a fish chasing a shad. Picking up my other rod I pitched a Rattlin’ Rogue as far as I could and let it sit motionless for a few seconds.
Twitching it under the surface in a stop and start retrieve I worked it towards the boat. Twitch, twitch, pause, twitch, twitch, pause. Wham, a hungry bass suddenly slammed into the jerkbait and bore down deep into a brush top. A few minutes later I’d wrestled the bass out of the top and onto the pier. Suddenly my demeanor changed and hope sprang up again as I realized I could catch a bass without standing up at full attention.
Sitting on the dock and casting was great therapy indeed. Catching and releasing my first bass of the year was even better. After catching and releasing a few more bass I was done, worn out, but no worse for the wear. In fact, I was thankful for a renewed waive of optimism and adrenaline that had swept over me and given me hope that I would be back, better than ever. And when I am fully recovered, I will remember this time and cherish every opportunity to get back into the woods and onto the water again!
Contact Mike Giles at 601-917-3898 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.