Published: Jul 16, 2010 11:47 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 16, 2010 8:47 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY - A teen who lost his hand in an alligator attack gives a minute by minute account of his terrifying ordeal. 

Tim Delano was standing on a rock in a Collier County canal known as the Crystal, when a gator pulled him under the water.

"I was just closing my eyes thinking this is just a bad dream.  This is a nightmare.  This is not really happening," says Delano. 

But, it was. 

"My pure instinct was taking my right fist, taking my left to get balance and start pushing it away.  The alligator was going to kill me.  It wasn't just going for a swim .. It was going for food," says Delano.

Delano started screaming and swimming to get out of the canal.  His friends thought it wa a joke.

"I just took my hand and went Look!  I screamed and you could see my muscle bone moving around," says Delano.

His friends couldn't believe what they saw.

"I was devastated," says Delano's friend Virginia Mount.  "Words would not come out of my mouth."

Paramedics medflighted Delano to Lee Memorial Hospital.  Doctors couldn't reattach his left hand because it had too much bacteria.

Delano says the following days were agonizing.

"I don't have a left hand.  How am I going to live? How am I gonna get on with my life," says Delano.

Doctors say Delano can get a prosthetic hand.

"I want to be a mechanic on a boat," says Delano.

What he won't be doing is swimming in the Crystal ever again.

"This was a freak accident.  I don't blame anybody but myself," says Delano.

The Palmetto Ridge Marching Band is hosting a car wash to help with Delano's medical bills.  A car wash is being held Saturday, July 17th at E's Country Store on Immokalee Road and Oil Well Roads in Golden Gate Estates from 10am to 4pm.

People can also make donations at any Bank of America branch to the "Tim Delano Medical Fund."