FARMINGTON — Ricky Gilmore's wounds are starting to heal, even though it will take some time before he feels better.

"Slowly but surely, I'm getting by," said Gilmore, the paraplegic man who survived two nights in the desert last week and came close to death before being found.

Gilmore, 49, suffered a number of injuries after he was left without his wheelchair, water, food, or warm clothing on Tocito Road, about 10 miles north of his home in Newcomb.

For three days, he tried dragging himself between two and four miles to the nearest paved road, U.S. Highway 491. When he was found by Wilfred Sisco, 73, of Tocito, he was shivering, bloodied and his clothes were tattered.

"I'm just lucky to be alive," said Gilmore on Friday from his hospital bed at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock.

Gilmore was told that he had a body temperature of 94 (normal is 98.6), acute kidney failure, and a blood infection when he was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 18.

He also had scrapes across the lower half of his body from scooting himself on dirt and rocks. His wounds still are bandaged, and, because of his condition, are healing slowly, but they are healing, he said.

"It's looking good," he said.

Gilmore filed a police report with the Shiprock Police Department against a man and woman who allegedly dropped him off at the desolate location near Tocito while he was hitchhiking.

Responding officer Melvin Joe was out this week so Gilmore's report still is pending.

No further developments have been made on the department's part, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is monitoring the case to see whether it will get involved.

"There's no words for what I would say to (the man and woman). I don't have any words," said Gilmore.

He has received national media attention because of his story of survival, and he since has had various family members visit him in the hospital.

"I haven't heard from my daughters in years," Gilmore said, noting that they called him the other day. "The people that I thought didn't care, they care. They are crying and everything."

He said he will need help heating his home, which is heated by only a stove, a task which Sisco has volunteered to help him with.

Gilmore said he will accept wood and coal at his home across from the First Assembly of God Church near Newcomb on U.S. Highway 491.

"I'm just so anxious to go home," he said.