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Hiker Well 4 Surgeries After Lion Attack

A hiker whose wife saved him as he was being mauled by a mountain lion has mostly recovered after four surgeries, including a scalp transplant.

"I'm doing well. My right hand is still bad, but otherwise I've pretty much recovered," Jim Hamm, 70, said on The Early Show Wednesday.

Hamm and his 65-year-old wife, Nell, were hiking at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in January when the mountain lion pounced on Jim Hamm. The lion scalped him, mauled his face and inflicted other wounds.

"I knew every second counted because the lion had a hold of Jim, and there was this long log, about 8 feet long, and I ... just started hitting the lion," Nell Hamm said. "I had to be careful where I hit her because of the fact that she had Jim's head in her mouth. I just started hitting the biggest part of her."

"She told me it wasn't working, and I told her, 'Get my pen,' " Jim Hamm said. She asked him where the pen was, and he told her it was in his pocket. "I said put it in its eye and shove it in."

But that didn't work. Nell continued to batter at the cat.

"She was trying not to hit it in the head because of my head being there, and I was trying to tell her to go for it, but I don't think she was hearing me," Jim told co-anchor Hannah Storm. "She started jabbing it with the end of the limb. And I think that confuses them or something, because then it let go of me, backed up and started to take her, and she yelled at me that 'It's got me,' and I raised up, and it was crouched to spring at her.

"She was screaming and holding the limb up above it. It was about four feet away," Hamm said. "It glared at her and then it finally decided to call it off and turned around and walked off in the ferns."

Trackers later shot and killed the animal and its mate.

Doctors in San Francisco took muscle from his back and put it on his skull, along with a vein, then covered it with skin from his thigh. Hamm is still receiving physical therapy on his right hand, which the animal mauled. But his flashbacks are fading, and he has accepted being completely bald.

"I'm doing very well, and the doctors are pretty happy," he said.

The couple hiked the North Coast forests for years but haven't been back since the attack.

"You know the surfer who gets bit by a shark and goes back out? I have no reason to do that," Jim Hamm told The Sacramento Bee. "I don't want to expose Nell. I've just had too much of a traumatic experience. There might be a time, but I doubt it."

Nell was honored by the California legislature as its "Woman of the Year" for her actions that day.

The couple just celebrated their 50th anniversary at Jim's bedside.

"It was the most special anniversary that we'd had because he came so close to not being there with me. So we are very, very thankful," Nell said on The Early Show.