On May 14th, my husband, Daniel, fell from a lookout point in California while visiting his parents a few weeks before our first child was due to be born. By the time the search and rescue team found him, he had been laying in a crevice between boulders for about seven hours. They airlifted him to the ICU; he was unresponsive and stopped breathing while in the helicopter. A few hours after being in the hospital, his neurosurgeon called me on FaceTime. He told me Daniel would not survive. The words bumped against my brain. It was like my own self would not allow me to accept the information. I do not remember the rest of the phone call. I fell to the floor, vomited. I had to get cleared to fly as I was 36 weeks pregnant with a breech baby. I got on a plane the next afternoon tears streaming down my face for the entire flight. I was on my way to see my new husband for what I thought was the very last time. He had survived longer than expected and they were recommending that we take him off life support. The extent of his brain damage would prevent him from ever having “quality of life”. If he pulled through, he would remain in a vegetative state. After four days of being in a coma and unresponsive, they did an MRI to confirm brain death. The results would determine whether we would pull the plug. After 12 hours of prayer, the MRI showed no damage to his brain stem. He would survive. He can recover. He may have quality of life. They said it would take six months to a year before we even know what his recovery would look like. That was the last time I saw him since he was no longer considered an “end of life” patient and Covid-19 had shut down visitation. He was transferred to an acute care facility where we saw him only on FaceTime. I flew home and gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, Willow. I cried for many reasons that day. He was weaned off the ventilator and flown home to Tennessee. He has only seen us through a window. He has not been touched by a family member, has never held his daughter. We have reached the critical six-month mark, but our circumstances are unlike anything I could have ever imagined. His insurance stopped covering his stay. They have been charging us 0 a day for his bed. He has not received any rehab in over a month. I got a call yesterday that they will be sending a letter of discharge unless we can come up with the payment. I have called every brain injury coordinator and every brain injury rehabilitation hospital in the state of Tennessee. No one seems to be able to offer a solution. We have been approved for Medicaid, but the Medicaid beds are full. Our medical bills have just topped out at a little over a million dollars. I work for a Nonprofit and do not bring in much money. Daniel has the ability to recover, but we are unable to find care for him. I have been working fulltime, raising our child, visiting Daniel at his window, and doing my best to maintain my own recovery and mental health. We lost his income and gained a dependent. Before they stopped his rehab, he was learning to walk, feed himself, use the bathroom, and communicate. He now lays in a bed 24 hours a day with no visitation and no stimulation. He is lonely, scared and confused. Although this has been the hardest battle of my life, we have been blessed along the way. Our bills have managed to be paid and we have love and support flying at us from every direction. Daniel is alive, he will come home one day. Some days, I think I can’t keep going, but I continue to put one foot in front of the other. My faith keeps me going, Willow keeps me going. If anything, please pray for our family and for Daniel’s recovery. Thank you for taking the time to read our story. This isn’t the end.
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