Reflections Of a Father’s Survival

by Amber Hoey

In her own words… I would like to tell you about my father. He was thirty-one, and it was 1977, when he had his ruptured brain aneurysm. I wasn’t even a twinkle in his eye. He had had migraines for a year, at least once a month. My mother was an LPN, but on June 6, 1977, she forgot all of her training when my father got a severe migraine, started vomiting blood, and his neck swelled out even with his chin. Thank God the neighbor turned him on his side so he could breathe, or he wouldn’t be here today. The amazing thing is that it took the ambulance a half an hour to get there because it got lost. When he got to the hospital, they said someone had slipped him a drug and he had overdosed. No one did anything to help him for 14 1/2 hours after he had his aneurysm.

A neurosurgeon saw him the day after he was admitted to the hospital and ordered an emergency CAT scan. He went into emergency brain surgery and it took six hours. The did not believe he could possibly make it. They had to remove his medulla oblongata and even scraped on his brain stem because it had been destroyed. How he is here today is a miracle. He was lucky because it was a slow leak; his vessel was being sucked into his spinal cord. He was in a coma for one month, and his lungs collapsed during surgery. He got down to 80 pounds, which is awful for a man who is 6’ 2”. My mother, who was only 27 at the time, was by his side throughout the whole ordeal. He ended up getting a bladder infection and they wanted to give him penicillin to treat it, which he is allergic to. My mother told them no way, but they tried anyway. My father felt them scrape the needle against his skin to test for a reaction, came out of his coma and made them stop; he did many amazing things.

It was hard on him for a long time, and 24-years later it still bothers him, but he can talk about it openly. He could not breathe on his own, talk, stand, see correctly, feed himself, or many other things for about two years – it was a hard recovery. Thank God other parts of his brain took over. He is virtually fine today. You couldn’t even tell that he had an aneurysm except for all the scars covering his body from the surgery and the tubes that were in him. He has a little balance problem, so he is always banging into things, but he is an absolute genius. They had me fourteen months after his aneurysm, and said I was their gift from God. I believe my father is a gift from God. Every day I think about what he went through and thank God that he is here and he is my father. He is a walking miracle, and he is a survivor. My father is proof that God does not give you more than you can handle. With determination and courage he overcame all of his obstacles and healed. It was hard of course, but he is a stronger and better person because of it.

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