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Miss. man "grateful to be alive" after freak lawn mower accident

GULFPORT, Miss. -- A Gulfport man is lucky to be alive after a lawn mower shot a 3 ½-inch metal wire up his nose and into his head.

The Sun Herald reports 34-year-old Bill Parker was mowing his lawn last Sunday when he felt something hit him in the face.

He didn't know what hit him.

"At first I thought a rock had flew out and hit me and struck me in the face," Parker said Wednesday. "It threw me back a little bit and it hurt real bad. I felt my face but I didn't feel any disfiguring or anything.

"I saw blood, so I knew I got a bloody nose."

After about 10 to 15 minutes of considering the injury, which he thought might be a broken cheekbone, he and his fiancée, Katie Heggins, decided it was best to go to a hospital.

"At first I thought it would be an in-out thing and they'd give me some aspirin and tell me to sleep it off," Parker said. "They started hooking things up to me, like an IV and heart monitor, and I started realizing things were getting a little more serious."

What a CT scan Sunday at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport revealed was almost unimaginable.

The wire, as thick as a heavy-duty nail, had entered through Parker's left nostril and embedded itself in his sinus cavity beneath his eye socket, next to his jaw hinge.

"I'm grateful to be alive," he shared with family and friends on Facebook at 7:03 a.m. Monday, after waking from surgery. "Several doctors were completely amazed at what had happened to me and stressed how lucky I really am. The metal had somehow made its way through a tangle of really important nerves and arteries and finally rested about a millimeter from both carotid artery and my jugular vein.

"Guess it just wasn't my time yet."

An online fundraising page has been set up to help pay for Parker's medical expenses.

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