Jason Bunch was listening to Metallica on his iPod while mowing the lawn outside his Castle Rock home Sunday afternoon when lightning hit him. The last thing the 17-year-old remembers was that a storm was coming from the north and he had only about 15 minutes before he should go inside. Next thing he knew, he was in his bed, bleeding from his ears and vomiting. He was barefoot and had taken off his burned T-shirt and gym shorts. He doesn't know how he got back in the house. Bunch immediately called his mother, who was in Illinois visiting family."Mom, I think I was hit by lightning," he said. Kelly Risheill told her son to call 911, and she started the 14-hour drive home. About the same time, a neighbor saw Bunch's scorched green and white Reebok tennis shoes in the street, a few feet away from the lawn mower. She also called for help. Bunch was taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center and placed in intensive care. He was sent home Tuesday. "I'm alive, and that is what I am grateful for," Bunch said as he lay in bed Wednesday.
From the hospital, Bunch called a friend and told him he wasn't able to go bowling. Then, he called a girl he was supposed to meet for a date. "I said, 'I did not stand you up. I was struck by lightning."' Bunch's ears were burned on the inside, and he's lost some hearing, mostly on the right side. His hair was singed. His face, chest, hands and right leg have freckle-size welts on them as if buckshot had come from inside his body out. The wounds follow the line of his iPod, from his ears down his right side to his hip, where he was carrying the device. The iPod has a hole in the back, and the earbuds dissolved into green threads.