Five weeks after the horrific accident our friend, Stuart Irby, woke up from his coma on Friday. I received a call from Cal Wells who had just left the hospital and was overwhelmed at the remarkable difference in Stuart. Stuart’s assistant, Sylvia Gore called me Saturday and invited me to come see him.
When I arrived at the hospital this afternoon I saw a large group of people around a patient in a hospital bed that was sitting up. I started to go around the group into the hospital and then recognized Kate Irby. Stuart’s family was there to see him including Karen, who has also been so severely injured in this accident. Their children were there as were others in the family, and of course Charles, who has been the world’s greatest brother through all this.
I stood back with Kate for about 10 minutes and watched, and when the line of sight opened that Stuart could see me, he pointed, smiled, and called my name. After seeing him just a week ago in such a bad state, I never thought this day might come. He took my hand and wouldn’t let it go nor would I let go of him. I’ve heard about people coming back from a coma but have never seen something like this and it was thrilling to rejoice with the family.
Stuart’s speech is slow and it takes him some time to gather his thoughts, but his personality, wit, and spirit are just the same. We didn’t talk long before he started asking about the College. He wanted to know if the baseball team was having a good season. And he wanted to know about enrollment for next fall.
I told him how often and how many people at Belhaven have been praying for him and Karen. And of course, we need to keep them in our prayers as well as the families of the two doctors who lost their lives in this tragic accident.
Stuart still has a road of recovery ahead, for he is far from returning to “normal,” but this change in just a few days is the huge step we’ve been praying for and now believe with therapy he can recover from the brain injury and regain his active life. He told me how much he wanted to get out of that chair and walk and knowing his determination it will probably happen soon.
I had the privilege to pray with Stuart as the family gathered around in front of the hospital and as we got quiet to pray I noticed Stuart leaned way forward in the chair to put his head down for our time of prayer together.
God is a great healer and to Him goes our thankfulness for bringing this miraculous change to Stuart.