"What if I would have let him go? It would be on my mind all the time. 'Could he have come back from this?' He is clearly showing he will come back. He's never going to be 100%, but he's going to be my Josh again."
These are the words of Tammy Dudley, the mother of a 29-year-old man who was hit by a drunk driver just over 4 months ago. After the accident doctors told Tammy her son, Josh Manning, would remain in a vegetative state for life. This is when Josh's family decided to take him off life support, and then a miracle happened. Josh opened his eyes.
Tammy asked him, "if you want to live, blink two times, he blinked two times," she said. Since then Josh moved to a Fargo hospital, and he now staying in Golden Living Center in Ipswich and progressing daily.
Josh is trying to say words, but he is still having trouble speaking. He can show you things though. He can give a "thumbs up" when asked. He can also point out different parts of his body. For instance, when Tammy asks where his left ear is, he can show her. Tammy says she thinks Josh is ready for rehab.
A nurse from Craig Hospital just outside of Denver came to see Josh in Ipswich. Craig Hospital specializes in rehabilitating people with brain injuries. Initially the nurse said Josh is ready to be admitted to the hospital, but then she called back saying he needed some other things done before he could come.
"She called me later that day, and said Craig hospital wants to put the bone piece back in his head first," Tammy said.
Josh's right side of his head is missing bone. When looking at him, a clear indentation is seen. Tammy says they are working with a Nebraska hospital to try and get this procedure done, so they can then transport Josh to Craig hospital. Tammy says she is unsure how long this process may take.
Two months ago 28-year-old Josh Manning of Aberdeen set out for Alliance, Neb. Planning to visit a friend. What he didn’t know was this trip would change his life forever.
“His best friend was living down in Nebraska, and he wanted to go down and visit. Right away I got a bad feeling in my gut because when your kid is going to another state you just do,” Josh’s mom, Tammy Dudley, said.
Early in the morning on November 15, Josh was walking when he was struck by a drunk driver. The driver fled the scene. Fortunately, Josh’s friend George was there at the time of the hit-and-run.
“Thank God he was there because if George hadn't been there, Josh would have laid there and died,” Tammy said.
After the accident Tammy says doctors told her Josh was in a vegetative state, and he would stay that way for the rest of his life.
“They told us Josh had extensive brain damage. He would probably never remember things, so we had decided to let him go,” Tammy said.
Tammy and other friends and family said their goodbyes.
“Then everybody left, and I was there all by myself,” Tammy said, but then the unthinkable happened, Josh woke up.
“Thanksgiving morning Josh opened his eyes, and I asked him, ‘Josh do you want to live? Blink your eyes two times for yes,’ and he blinked them two times. That's when I knew he wasn't dying on my watch,” she said.
Since the accident, Josh has been moved into a Fargo hospital. He has a ‘Superman’ tattoo on his arm, so his family and friends have used a ‘Superman’ theme to help get through this tough time. Tammy says he is making improvements, moving, and even trying to speak.
“I pray a lot. I cry a lot. I have so much hope it's unreal,” Tammy said.
Tammy hopes to get Josh into Craig Hospital, a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital that exclusively specializes in neuro-rehabilitation. In order to give Josh the care he needs, medical expenses and lodging costs are taking a toll on Tammy and her family. A GoFundMe account has been set up for Josh. The family says anything helps.