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Wishin’ I was Fishin’

I’ve recently found myself facing a huge obstacle in life with a injury that left me very near death multiple times. On August 11th, while mountain biking I made a fatal error resulting in need of med evac by helicopter. I watched the world spin upside down while flipping end over end with my bike, coming to a stop while sliding on my knees and butt a second impact from another biker running me over came less than seconds later. I jumped up, more worried about the rider that hit me than myself, making sure he and his bike were ok. Feeling ok myself, I loaded my bike and started to drive home with pain slowly increasing behind my abdominal area. I pulled up at home still trying to “walk it off” the pain had become severe and only got worse. Making the decision to head towards Taos ER with a loved one, my pain grew to a point that is unexplainable. I knew something was seriously wrong I decided to call Angel Fire EMT to meet me off the highway. It wasn’t long before the helicopter was on the ground. They identified a lot of blood in my abdominal area using a ultrasound. The plan was to go to UNMH but bleeding and pain was so bad I began to go in and out of consciousness they had to cut the ride short in Santa Fe. I remember landing on the roof and then blacking out. My next memory doesn’t come until after 4 surgeries and many hours spent inside my body looking for and cauterizing bleeding areas of my mesenteric arteries. With the internal damage caused they were forced to remove a section of my large intestine, gallbladder, and appendix. A life time of surgeries packed into 48hrs. I woke up not seeing straight or thinking clearly, assuming I had only been out for maybe a day I was told that I’m on the evening of my 6th day and was extremely close to death during 2 of my surgeries. As I started to wake up out of a coma, tubes and hoses coming out of my body, the extreme pain started to set in. For the following 8 weeks I experienced limited mobility and couldn’t perform a basic task like sitting up without assistance. Losing over 35 pounds and finding myself to weak to even lift a cup of water at times, I was struggling with keeping my mind positive with the constant pain. The feeling and memory I’ll never forget is sitting up as I shifted my body from side to side I could literally feel my guts move around and make noise as it did. They were loose from being taken in and out of my body and the pain was extreme from damage done. It really felt like a dream for a while, a bad one, but the constant sweating and pain reminded me it was real. Fast forwarding another 2 weeks I’m currently making small strides towards progress. My endurance runs out after just a few minutes of walking but I push myself a few more steps with every day. The pain has turned into a strange uncomfortable feeling that tends to hurt at the end of everyday. I assume it’s the feeling and price of progress. I’ve wanted nothing more than to tie flies and go fishing. I’m sure I could’ve been tying flies weeks ago but not without help so considering that, I pushed that goal until I can do it 100% on my own, same goes for getting out and catching a fish. My loved ones would have been more than happy to help my accomplish my fishing related goals but in my heart I knew this is one task I want to be able to complete from beginning to end on my own. My Doctors have told me there is no expected time to recover and no type of physical therapy designed for this surgery/injury I have gone through, it’s not a common situation. I’m supposed to listed to my body and do as I feel myself become more capable. My plan is to video and document my journey of using fly fishing and outdoor activities to help “rehab” my body back to the life style I live for. Progress has been slow and I’m not sure when I will begin but I am listening to my body and my mind is ready whenever the time comes. I look forward to sharing the journey on video. As I find myself wrapping this up, “wishin’ I was fishin”, I want to take the last sentences to thank everyone again for all the support. There were extreme low times that it all meant more than words can explain and kept me pushing when I didn’t know if I could.


~Tim Urtiaga~

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