Lee Brooke saw parts of his upper lip and nose lying on the ground after a bear attacked him in Wyoming last October.
“On the right side of me was my nose and my moustache on the ground,” he said, according to Metro. “And now I know what’s wrong with me but I don’t have time to worry as I know the bear is here.”
The Pennsylvania man survived the attack during a hunting trip with his friends, who he was separated from when a bear attacked him from behind, according to CNN. He was knocked out during the attack, and later woke up with the bear on top of him.
He told CNN he punched the bear, which finally ran away after he stabbed it multiple times with a steak knife that he kept in his pocket.
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“I should’ve bled to death right there,” Brooke told KDVR. “I should’ve least drowned on my blood.”
But for Brooke, “the bear attack isn't the real story here.”
“The story is the remarkable care, respect, dignity and healing I received from the surgeons and every level of staff at Swedish,” he told CNN.
Brooke, now 61, was rushed to Swedish Medical Center in Colorado after his brother-in-law found him after the attack, according to KDVR. He was placed in a medically-induced coma for a month, eventually spending a total of five months at the hospital.
During his time there, doctors used skin grafts from his right leg to reconstruct Brooke’s face — and also placed his detached nose on his right arm, CNN reported. In total, doctors said they gave the man 12 surgeries in the first two-and-a-half months.
The plan is to reattach the 61-year-old’s nose and rebuild his upper lip sometime next year.
“It's an amazing process, they reattached it (my nose) to my arm the next day,” Brooke said on the TV show This Morning, according to the Daily Mail. “They used leeches to keep it alive. It didn't all survive but they have enough to work with. It will take a year or two years to reattach. My lip died so I lost my moustache. My left nostril died. It's going to take a year of surgeries.”
Benson Pulikkottil and Lily Daniali were two doctors who worked on Brooke after the gruesome bear attack.
“Between anesthesia, orthopedic, trauma — everyone was working on him,” Pulikkottil told KDVR.
“We didn’t just fix his body,” Daniali added. “We really wanted to make sure that he recovered mentally.”