Five weeks after Jeremy, 24, married his wife, Anna, he accepted a two-week job as an independent contractor for a cable company in Memphis, Tenn. While climbing down a ladder, he fell 15 feet to the ground onto the concrete driveway and suffered a traumatic brain injury, multiple fractures and other injuries. Jeremy stayed in an acute care hospital in Memphis for eight months following the accident and was pronounced clinically dead twice during his stay.
The doctors in Memphis gave Jeremy’s family little hope. They did not expect him to recover, and if he did, he was not expected to live an ordinary life. Jeremy was not ready for aggressive therapy after he was discharged, and Anna and her family took him home. But, on Easter 2013, almost a year after the accident, months of setbacks and eight surgeries, his family’s prayers were answered.
Jeremy had a full turnaround. He became more alert and responsive. He was still not able to sit, stand, walk or eat on his own, but his family contacted HealthSouth North Alabama, and in June, Jeremy was admitted as an outpatient, where he received physical, occupational and speech therapy.
“I began to feel more confident and knew that I was on my way to being independent again,” Jeremy says. “I hope to be an encouragement to others.”
Almost two years after the accident, Jeremy was admitted as an inpatient to HealthSouth North Alabama in March 2014. This time, he was ready for therapy. Jeremy’s rehabilitation team listened to his needs and created a personalized therapy plan for him. He used Bioness® technology to help his hand open and close.
Jeremy had been praying his pain would not keep him from progressing. But, he was confident in his therapy team at HealthSouth North Alabama.
“I knew I was in the right place when my therapist stood up immediately and put her hands on my shoulder and said, ‘Lets pray right now,’” Jeremy says.
Jeremy remembers exactly where he was when he took his first step – the therapy gym. He stood in a standing frame for 15 minutes at a time every day, and it was painful. But, one day after Jeremy had been standing for 25 minutes, his therapist asked if he was ready to take his first step.
“I will never forget that day,” Jeremy says. “I couldn’t wait to call my wife and tell her what I’d accomplished.” Music had always been a major part of his life and he had sung in a gospel quartet prior to the accident. His therapist used music to help with his concentration, reading and writing. “Make Me New” by the Rhett Walker Band had such a special meaning for him in his recovery. Singing the lyrics, “Oh, now’s the time to stand up and feel alive,” was the best motivator keeping Jeremy going.
“Before I left HealthSouth, I was singing with the nursing staff, taking steps to my therapists and doing a little jig with my rehabilitation team,” Jeremy laughs.
Today, Jeremy continues to progress in his recovery. He is independent again and an inspiration to many. Jeremy walks without a cane, cooks on his own, and passed his driving exam and can drive by himself. Jeremy volunteers at a local elementary school and speaks about his experience at several churches. His next goal is to get a job to support his family and dance with Anna again.
“I couldn’t have achieved any of this without my faith in God and his provisions, the encouragement and support of my wonderful wife, Anna, and our families,” Jeremy says. “My friends, church family and the wonderful staff at HealthSouth were all so supportive and encouraging.”
“The doctors in Memphis were right!” Jeremy exclaims. “I can’t wait to go back and tell them, ‘I’m not living an ordinary life; I’m living an extraordinary life!’ Praise God!”