Florida's Foreverly Shores
A short while back, I posted this -
And now this article from The Orlando Sentinel, Florida Newspaper -
By Rick Maese | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted March 27, 2005
His family calls it an Easter miracle.
Rob Graham, a popular high school boys basketball coach who suffered cardiac arrest while on the court last month, apparently emerged from a coma Friday afternoon, doctors say.
"It's amazing," said Tammy Graham, the coach's wife. "We never lost hope. We knew a miracle was going to happen. Isn't it unbelievable? I have my husband back. My girls have their dad back."
Rob Graham, the head coach at Bishop Moore Catholic High School in Orlando, fell to the court in the opening minutes of a district tournament game Feb. 19 in Tavares. He was resuscitated at the scene but spent 35 days at Florida Hospital Orlando in a coma.
On Friday, for the first time, Graham, 33, responded to commands, squeezing a doctor's hand, smiling, crying, even saying "hello."
"It's just very hard to imagine this, to be honest," said Dr. Lou Guzzi, Graham's attending physician.
Graham will begin intensive rehabilitation this week. Guzzi said the coach would undergo an MRI scan that might help determine the extent of the damage to his brain.
Doctors said earlier this month that the coach's outlook was poor. Family members and friends have said their only hope was a miracle. They say it's no coincidence that Graham awoke on Good Friday.
"Everyone is just ecstatic that it happened [Friday]," said Owen Busch, a childhood friend of Graham's and an assistant coach at Bishop Moore. "Everyone has been praying so much and here it is, Good Friday. Can you believe it?"
Tammy Graham said she heard from people all over the country who have spent the past month praying for her husband. "God heard everybody," she said. "There's no doubt about it. We got our Easter miracle."
Tammy Graham was in the room when her husband appeared to regain consciousness. She said she arrived at the hospital Friday, dabbed holy water on her husband's forehead, his eyes and his mouth. She talked to him all the while.
At about 1:30 p.m., his eyes opened.
"I could tell things were different," she said. "His eyes had a strange look. I went out and got his mom. I kept talking to him and told him that everything was OK."
She put a cell phone to Graham's ear, and then, she said, the couple's 4-year-old daughter pleaded: "Daddy, it's Alexis. I love you. Can you wake up?"
Just a few minutes later, Tammy Graham was again talking to her husband, telling him about an old friend who had recently called.
"He just started crying," she said. "Oh my Lord, I about jumped out of my skin."
She kept talking to him. She mentioned how their 11-month-old, McKenzie, was starting to walk, learning to scoot her small feet in the hospital's waiting area.
Soon, husband and wife were both in tears.
The triumphs over the next few hours were as relieving as they were stunning. Rob Graham gave a thumbs-up sign. He stuck out his tongue when asked. He smiled when he saw a photograph of his daughters. He cried when he saw a picture of his Bishop Moore team.
On Saturday, he held up two fingers when asked. To nurses, he said the word "yes." He continues to make eye contact and visually responds to his name.
"This gives us all great hope," Guzzi said.
Just a couple of weeks ago, this type of recovery seemed nearly impossible. Doctors had braced the family for the worst, saying there was less than a 1 percent chance of a full recovery. Guzzi said Rob Graham was in a "very dense, dense comatose state."
"He could have remained in that state for 10 years, 20 years. It could have been something just like Terri Schiavo," Guzzi said, referring to the Florida woman who has spent the past 15 years living in a vegetative state.
Guzzi said Graham showed slight signs of response earlier in the week but nothing like Friday. Guzzi said it's difficult to predict how much he might recover. Even small feats, like a thumbs-up sign, can be draining.
"Him doing what he did today is akin to you or I running a marathon every single day," Guzzi said. "It takes a tremendous amount of energy."
Graham, who was a star player at Bishop Moore in the early 1990s, was in his first year of coaching the Hornets. For more than a month, family, friends and colleagues have set up daily vigils at the hospital, praying for his recovery.
Despite Friday's good news, the coach's family said they know there's a long road ahead.
"We're going to move forward from here and keep making progress," Tammy Graham said. "This hasn't been easy. There were days where it felt like we were hanging on by a thread, but we never lost hope. We knew a miracle was going to happen."
Blessing flow FROM HIM ... praise flows TO HIM~
Keep Coach Rob and the family in prayer~
Thank you, Lord~