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Local man has 'miraculous' recovery after head injury

December 27, 2012

Morris and Geraldine King spend their 57th wedding anniversary together Christmas Eve in his room at Heartland Rehabilitation and Care Center in Benton after a recovery that nurses said is "miraculous."

It's been about six weeks since Morris King fell off the roof of his house and ended up in the intensive care unit at St. Vincent Infirmary Infirmary Medical Center in Little Rock.
The 82-year-old man's fall necessitated brain surgery, and doctors were doubtful that he would recover.
King fell through the acrylic covering over the deck at his home in Haskell and landed on a metal table, which bent under his weight, said his wife, Geraldine.
He lost consciousness for about 10 minutes. He was taken initially to Saline Memorial Hospital and then transferred to St. Vincent. King complained of a terrible headache and was continually vomiting.
It was determined that King had suffered a subdural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain.
King does not remember any of this. In fact, he does not remember anything since the accident up until early December.
He went in to brain surgery at 9:45 p.m. on the same day of the accident, Nov. 12. He was in critical condition for one or two days, Geraldine said.
King experienced breathing problems and was sedated under the direction of brain surgeons Tarik Abuelem and Ali Fadi Krisht.
On Nov. 16, which was his birthday, doctors allowed King to wake up for about 15 minutes. His daughter wished him "Happy Birthday." He grinned and then went back to sleep.
He spent much of the next few days unconscious, causing concern when he could not be awakened at times. One time in particular, he could not be awakened for a day and a half. In addition, his body temperature was rising.
It was not until that Saturday night, Nov. 24, that the surgeon said, "Wake up, Mr. Morris," and he did.
"Everyone was ready to shout," Geraldine said.
In the following days, Geraldine received a bleak diagnosis from several doctors. The geriatric doctor told her to start looking for a long-term care facility. She later found out the doctor had written on King's chart that "he had no hope for this patient, that his condition was deteriorating every day."
The surgeons were more hopeful for a recovery, but warned it would be "like watching hair grow."
Geraldine wishes the doctors could see King now. Since he was admitted to Heartland Rehabilitation and Care Center in Benton and has been undergoing physical therapy, King has made a recovery that nurses and physical therapists at the center can only describe as "miraculous."
Even the physical, occupational and speech therapists did not have much faith that he would recover. Lori Runyan, however, thought it was possible, but she foresaw "a long road ahead of him."
It was in early December that he started to really recover. He spoke verbally for the first time Dec. 2. He walked for the first time Dec. 17. He now cracks jokes and can do simple arithmetic, Runyan said. He has walked 300 feet with a walker.
King is happy to have his life back and says he can hardly wait to get back on the golf course. He says he thinks he'll be out in about three weeks.
He's continuing rapid progress, Runyan said. Much of this is credited to his great determination.
His wife has been by his side the entire time. They celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve.
"I was very uneasy to say the least," Geraldine said. "I told the Lord, he is in your hands, but I'd like him to be well."
It looks like the Lord was listening.

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