When Scott Hawkins was just 37 years old his whole world turned upside down. While his wife was attending a class in a nearby county Scott suffered a severe massive stroke.
One particular day during the month of April while attending a class in a bordering county while Scott stayed home with their children at their residence in Michigan, Michelle received the dreaded call.
”He called me and he was slurring his words,” Danielle recalled.
”He said he had an intense headache and that something was wrong.”
Danielle dialed 911 and a medical team quickly arrived to bring Scott to the hospital.
”When emergency medical crews loaded Scott into the ambulance, his blood pressure spiked, causing fluid in the lungs,” Danielle said.
”It was just very, very bad,” Danielle added before taking a long pause, admitting, “Sometimes it’s hard to talk about it.”
While on route to the hospital in the ambulance the emergency medicals had to incubate Scott.
Doctors encouraged Danielle to call the rest of the family members,
once the couple arrived at the hospital.
She was informed there was a possibility that her husband may not make it through the night.
“His oxygen levels were in the 60s and 70s. They told me they should be above 90″, Danielle said.
Scott had burst an arteriovenous malformation aneurysm near his brain stem. It seems he had an aneurysm since birth, which caused a stroke.
During the procedure Scott tragically suffered a heart attack, when the surgeons attempted to stop the bleeding in his brain.
“They lost him for a few minutes,” Danielle said. “He had loss of oxygen because of that, too.”
Scott remained unable to respond or follow direction days after the procedure.
Doctors informed Danielle, he was probably never going to wake up or function normally ever again, let alone ever be able to kiss her or tell her that he loves her.
“They told me to let him go,” Danielle said.
However the determined wife refused to believe their devastating prognosis, but she knew the strength of Scott’s spirit.
Rather than pulling the plug and say farewell, Danielle leaned over to kiss her dying husband. She felt something she never expected, the moment she put her lips to his lifeless body, Scott kissed her back.
Danielle admits perhaps she imagined it however that little sign was enough to give
her hope, enough to keep life support plugged in.
With newfound hope, Danielle fought to keep Scott on life support, determined to prove to everyone that he would recover.
Her belief in Scott’s life function slowly returned. Scott no longer required a ventilator after five weeks in pulmonary rehabilitation.
“That’s where I started proving to everyone (that he could recover),” Danielle said.
“He’s a musician, so I would bring in thumb guitars. He would flick the notes. Doctors said it was just a reflex. I told him to change the notes and he did.”
Danielle knew that if Scott tried to speak to her, he wouldn’t be able to do so because of his tracheotomy, but in a leap of faith, Danielle covered the surgically created airway in Scott’s neck — and he started talking to her.
“I covered his trach and he started talking to me,” she said.
“The first words were, ‘I love you,’ the second, ‘get me pain medication.’ Then, when the doctors asked him, ‘what are you playing?’ he said, ‘an instrument.’ The doctors started to believe in us.”
Doctors finally started to believe in Scott where he was transferred to Spectrum Health Rehab and Nursing Center. Scott spent six days a week in rehab for the next 16 weeks.
Therapists and doctors used music therapy and instruments, often in co-treatment with speech, occupational and physical therapies, to help Scott regain strength and coordination.
After 16 weeks, Scott finally got to go home as Danielle praised the staff for the speed of his recovery.
“He went in on a stretcher only moving his right hand, and he left walking with a walker with one hand in the air saying, ‘Rock on,’” a thankful Danielle said.
“They started talking to Scott like he was there,” Danielle said, remembering how the rehab staff fueled the hope she had all along.
Danielle never left his husbands side instead she offered support, encouragement and even tough love when needed.
Danielle certainly believed he would recover. Even when they told her to call the family that first night, she never believed Scott would die.
Scott took a long time to recover but he’s making progress, slowly.
“He’s playing guitar again. He plays the drums. It used to be he couldn’t swallow. He had a feeding tube for nine months, but now he can eat anything he wants,” Danielle said.
The biggest medical miracles often occur when we believe that they can happen and give care with that in mind! The best thing you can give someone is a chance.
The rehabilitation staff did that, seeing Scott as the man, husband, and father he was instead of just another patient chart to be dealt with as quickly as possible.
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