“Sean and I had been together for nine years. We had two wonderful boys and had been married for six months. Marriage was still new to us. We were excited about finally being married and were enjoying this new stage in our life.
May 6th was the day my entire world was flipped upside down. I left for work that morning at five-thirty a.m. Sean was snoring away, so I kissed him on the forehead, whispered an ‘I love you,’ and left for work. He had the day off. The plan was he would drop our boys at the sitter’s house before heading over to help his friend, Zach, repair a retaining wall on his property. It was just a normal day.
That lasted 3 hours. I was on break when I saw I had a message from Zach asking me to call him. I immediately knew something was wrong. Why was he calling me? My fears were confirmed when he told me Sean had been in a motorcycle accident. My heart sank, and I began to cry. I barely heard him tell me which hospital they were taking Sean to.
I honestly only vaguely remember leaving work and making the drive to the emergency room. Only brief frantic phone calls to my mother in law, and brother in law.
When I arrived at the hospital, I could barely speak as I told the reception nurse why I was there. The look of pity she gave me as she asked me to hang tight filled me with dread. She walked away, and I immediately began to think the worst. Waiting for her was a nightmare. I felt disoriented and dizzy. My heart felt like it was going to burst in my chest.
I was certain I was going to be sick, but before true panic could set in, she returned and asked me to follow her.
She led me back to the trauma room. The panic I felt in the reception area only intensified. There, covered in blood, still strapped to the backboard, wires and tubes running from him, wheezing and moaning, was my husband. He had blood-soaked gauze around his head. ‘Is that a bone sticking out of his arm?’
He was surrounded by nurses. One told me the doctor was on his way. Another helped me to a chair and tried to ward off my building panic by telling me, ‘He is breathing on his own.’ That’s what he is supposed to do!
They handed me his phone, wallet, keys, and wedding ring. I could no longer contain myself. I burst into tears, staring at the ring I had only recently placed on his hand, which was now covered in blood.
Family began to arrive as they wheeled Sean out for a CT scan. More family began to arrive, and we were trying to piece together what happened by talking to the EMT when an announcement of ‘Code Blue in the CT room’ came over the intercom.
My knees went weak, and I felt the panic rise again. The EMT went to the nurse’s station to check on Sean’s status as I began praying again. Sean was only getting sick, but in his current condition, everything was cause for concern.
They began to prep an operating room as the doctor reported on Sean’s condition. ‘We’re getting him into surgery now. His brain is bleeding, his skull is fractured in three places, he has a severed artery, and numerous other injuries. I must be honest with you, I’m going to do all I can to save him, but he may not make it.’
The next few hours were a blur of tears and paperwork. I remember signing a form giving consent for them to go to surgery and a policeman interviewing me, explaining what they knew about the accident. He had been hit broadside on his motorcycle by a woman in a van making a blind turn.
Time passed, more family and friends arrived, and finally, we got the news Sean was out of surgery and the doctor would be up to talk to us.
I remember shivering in the consultation room when the doctor came in. He said Sean had made it through the surgery and removed the encouragement the nurse had offered earlier by saying Sean was now on a ventilator. He was no longer breathing on his own, but his vital signs were good. He stressed the next 48 hours would be critical.
They moved Sean from recovery to ICU and moved us from one waiting room to another. I was finally going to be able to see Sean. It was heartbreaking. There was my husband, in a medically induced coma, fed with an IV, only breathing with a ventilator. I couldn’t comfort him, I couldn’t take him home, and I couldn’t seem to wake up from this nightmare.
For the next three days, all I could do was pray and beg God to bring him back to us.
Friday was chaos. Sean was scheduled for surgery to repair his broken arm, but that wasn’t to be. The swelling in his brain had not stabilized. The pressure inside his skull was immense and his vital signs started to drop. The doctor gave us a choice: ‘We can do nothing and let nature take its course or I can remove part of his skull and give his brain more room to swell. There is a chance if we do, he might not wake up’. With no hesitation, we opted for surgery.
This, of course, meant more consent forms, waiting rooms, and tears. It was time shared with family and friends reliving memories and praying. It meant praying without ceasing.
The doctor came out of the O.R with mixed news. Sean had made it through the surgery, his vital signs were stable, but he would be sedated for a few days to give his body time to recover. ‘After that, it’s up to him.’
They stopped the medication that kept him in a coma on the following Sunday. When Tuesday arrived and Sean still hadn’t woken up, I was fearing for the worst. The doctor told us with his injuries, it was possible Sean might remain comatose for six months to a year. The subtext was IF he woke at all.
Tuesday evening, I sat beside his bed, holding his swollen hand in mine, listening to the ventilator push air through his tracheotomy and praying. I told him, ‘If you are up there talking to God, you tell him you are not ready yet. I need you. Your boys need you. I know you are in there, but you have to show these doctors and nurses that. I am going to go home. When I get back in the morning, you need to wake up.’
I arrived Wednesday morning and went into Sean’s room after hearing there had been no change overnight. I leaned over and kissed him on the forehead and whispered, ‘Good morning baby.’ His eyelids fluttered. I blinked back tears, thinking I had imagined it when suddenly, his eyes opened. I was crying buckets now, but they were welcome tears. They were tears of joy! For the first time in a week, I felt like everything was going to be okay.
There were another two surgeries and six weeks of rehab before Sean was able to come home, but we had him back.
The road to recovery was long. Sean had to wear a helmet to protect his head for three months. The swelling was still evident. There was another surgery to replace the portion of his skull they had removed, but he made it through.
Sean is now blind in his left eye and deaf in his left ear. He has limited mobility in his right wrist and left arm, but he is alive.
Cognitively, you couldn’t tell now that he had a traumatic brain injury 5 years ago. Sure, he gets aggravated easily and tires easily. The deafness really flares up when asked to take out the garbage. But compared to the alternative, we’ll take it!
Sean wasn’t expected to live. The doctors have told us several times, they have never seen anyone so close to death walk out of the hospital the way he did. He truly is a walking miracle!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Stone. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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