Leroy Luetscher could feel the pruning shears jutting from his face as he tried to determine just what had happened to him after trimming the plants in his backyard and then falling face-first.
At 86, Luetscher was covered in blood and in more pain than he'd ever felt in his life. One of the shears' handles had gone into his right eye socket and halfway into his head.
Coping with excruciating pain that he believes kept him conscious, Luetscher managed to put his T-shirt over the wound to stanch the bleeding and beckon his longtime live-in girlfriend, who called 911.
"I didn't know if my eyeball was still there or what," Luetscher, who lives in southern Arizona's Green Valley, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "The pain was so bad that I guess I wasn't afraid to die."
Luetscher, a Wisconsin native, has made a remarkable recovery since the July 30 accident. He still has slight swelling in his eyelids and minor double vision, but is otherwise OK.