"Thank you. God bless you." Those are the words of Christian Mayberry of Muldrow, who continues to recover from a traumatic brain injury suffered on Sept. 1, 2013. Christian along with his mother and father, Kim and John, are moving to Florida. Christian and Kim leave Sunday morning. Christian will be undergoing rehabilitation at the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation or FINR. His parents have great hope for Christian's rehab. Kim said about one month ago he began moving his left leg. About two weeks ago, he began moving his left arm. Although doctors told the Mayberrys that Christian suffered severe brain trauma, most likely the right side of his brain suffered the most injury since it controls the left side of his body, which was paralyzed until recently.
Kim said at FINR Christian will be receiving four to five hours of rehabilitation a day. In addition, Christian's parents will be able to stay in Florida during his rehab at an apartment furnished by FINR. "We are very, very excited," Kim said Friday from Christian's nursing home room. She said Christian and she will be flown to Florida on a medical flight, and his father will follow. At FINR a sitter will stay with Christian 24 hours a day, which relieves the Mayberrys some. Kim explained that she and her husband have stayed with Christian 24 hours a day since his injuries. During that time, John suffered a heart attack while Christian was still at St. John's Hospital in Tulsa. "He started hurting, and the nurse came in and said, 'Get dressed. You are going to the emergency ward.' " It was a good thing, and John recovered. "He's so tired," Kim said, adding that in the apartment in Florida, "He will get to sleep in a real bed for the first time in a long time."
The Mayberrys must see this as a light at the end of the tunnel. Kim said she has spoken to several persons whose children suffered traumatic brain injuries, and have fully recovered, some at FINR. But it was a battle getting there. Sooner Care, she explained, did not want to pay for Christian's rehab in a rehab center so far away. Sooner Care did approve an Arkansas facility, but others said it wasn't the right place for Christian. State Rep. John Bennett of Sallisaw and State Senator Mark Allen of Spiro worked on Christian's behalf to get him to FINR, and a Florida advocate also worked on the Mayberry's behalf. Kim said, "Last Thursday (Sept. 4) I was in Walgreen's and I got a phone call from Sooner Care." She said she wondered if their request for rehab in FINR was denied but when she answered she got the good news. The Mayberrys were moving to Florida! "If we had won the lottery, it couldn't have been any better," Kim said.
Christian's mother said the family has received support and encouragement from many friends and family, and from those who have gone before. A new friend, Patty Curl of Ponca City, came to encourage the Mayberrys. Kim said, "Her son was shot in the head when he was 17. The doctors told her he wouldn't survive, and if he did, he would be a vegetable. He's 48 now, married, with children, totally normal." There is always hope to cling to. Kim said they hope to get Christian to the beach while in Florida, because he loves the beach. And he is returning to his former happy self. "He was the one who always wanted to be happy, he liked to make people laugh, he held the door open for everyone. I had a mother call me recently. She said her daughter once dropped her back pack in school, and her things went everywhere. Christian was the only one who stopped to help her. All the others just walked on."
Right now, Kim said the family is very busy, and everyone wants to visit with Christian before he flies to Florida. Patty Curl drove in from Ponca City to visit, and Kim's sister just arrived Friday from New Mexico. Kim is positive that when the family returns from Florida, all of them will be whole and happy. She thanked everyone for the support and encouragement, and although she knows the family may have a long road ahead, she is certain they can make the journey successful together. She concluded, "We'll be in Florida til it's time to come home." By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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