“As most of you know, Ray had a severe stroke two years ago today. It was the worst and the best day of our lives. Worst, because of the stroke and best because God saw fit to leave him here with us. It has been a very long and tedious journey so far, but I wanted to update you who are friends and family who have prayed for us over the last two years.
When Ray arrived at OHS on the evening of February 8, 2015, he could not: move, breath on his own, swallow, eat, have normal bodily functions. He could blink his eyes once for yes, twice for no, or wiggle his toes.
The doctor that treated him in the ER and Silverton told us that he most likely would not survive and if he did he would be in a vegetative state. God had other plans for him and thank God, he spared his life and all of his cognitive abilities.
Today he can: move, breath on his own, talk, swallow, eat most anything he wants. Most of you know the arduous steps we have gone through to get to this, but today he can stand with help, walk on a treadmill in a sling, press 62 pounds with his legs and on his way to someday, soon we hope take his own steps unassisted. He is in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy three times a week. It is very tiring for him, for all of us, but he is determined to walk again and I know he will.
A year ago they did a swallow test at the hospital, he had already been eating solid foods for some time, but they said he failed on every level and put him on a liquid diet through a G-tube straight into his stomach, totally by passing his mouth. For those of you who know Ray well, that was unacceptable, and he worked really hard on learning to swallow well to keep his airways clean and thus avoiding the pneumonia.
Today he eats most anything he wants and seldom chokes, even rice, corn, etc. Which we have avoided for quite a while. If I warn him what is in the bite, he chews extra well and doesn’t seem to have a problem swallowing.
His world is still very small and revolves around the den in our home where he has a hospital bed, our van, which is handicap equipped, outpatient therapy, and church on Sunday. He plays cards with friends on Friday night at our house. He was asked to continue to serve on the Church Council, which he was not able to do for quite a while, but with the help of friends and family has been able to for about for five months. He is pleased to serve our church in that way and his prayer daily is that God will complete the healing so he can continue serving Him in whatever way He has planned for him in the future.
He got to attend men’s retreat this last weekend with the man from our church. Thanks to Barry, Dexter, Jun Jun and Kevin, he was pretty comfortable. It was on the way home from retreat two years ago that the stroke happened. I wasn’t sure he would want to go, but he said God told him he was supposed to. Our pastor told him if he had a word or something to speak to the men to let them know. Well God did give him a word and he was able to share it with the men. You will see him doing that in one of the videos.
I will say I’m sorry to those of you who maybe wished I had kept in better contact with better updates, but life became so overwhelming for me when he started going to outpatient therapy I had to decide what I could continue to do. I have had to take up things Ray did on a daily basis, car oil change, heater filter changes, yardwork, etc., etc. Which thank God I have had help with, but have still been overwhelming for me and sometimes I have crying breakdowns for a day, then I get up the next morning and go on. I have determined just lately, that I have to start doing some things for me. It’s important for my mental and physical health. I said all that to say It was just one of the things I had to slack on.
Our son Chris has started a Go Fund Me to raise money for Ray Jr’s Recovery. If you are interested in helping the family with medical bills visit GoFundMe.
“We were able to have a visit with Ray in July. I went with Ray to his therapy for his hands and swallowing. Each therapist told me that Ray is improving each time he goes. I sensed that Ray may feel differently, it probably feels like a snail’s crawl to him, but he works hard to do what they ask of him. Please continue to pray for healing and that he will be encouraged and have hope that God has a plan and purpose for his life.”