Relief Effort Underway
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
I often encourage those in our county that have had tough times to contact us and allow us to tell their story. Not for the purpose of gaining readership or to sell ads...it's so that those stories of struggle are shared with as many as possible so that help can be provided to those in need.
I've had the opportunity to write about people's struggles and how our community could help them, along with opportunities to write about their stories of faith and how God intervened in a time of great trouble. Some of those have come from my own family. I seldom write pieces in first-person format, but my family is in need right now, and the best way I know to tell this story is from my own perspective.
My mother, Debbie Doyle, a wife of nearly 51 years to my Dad, Steve, fell off their porch Friday night after getting her feet tangled up just a little. She lost her balance with some items in her hand and was unable to catch herself as she fell over a large flower pot onto the ground. She didn't fall very far and it didn't seem very hard, but she was immediately in incredible pain and she soon became incoherent.
Just over a month ago, she underwent a Deep Brain Stimulation surgery (DBS), which is sort of like a pacemaker for your brain. She had developed a severe tremor in her hands which kept her from writing, putting on her makeup, and anything else that required a somewhat steady hand. Electrodes were placed in her brain that were connected to a control device just below her collar bone to control her tremors. It had been working great. Honestly, I think the worst part of this surgery for her was that she had to shave her head.
We can't be certain, but it's likely because she was still recovering from her DBS procedure, the fall was enough to bring severe trauma to the brain.
She was transported to Greenview Hospital by Edmonson EMS (thank you, Hank and Jason!) where it was discovered she had a bleed on her brain. She was then air lifted to Nashville for surgery.
We stayed at the hospital through the night as they monitored her brain activity and doctors had decided to wait on the surgery as she seemed to show improvement. After staying up all night with nowhere to stay inside the hospital due to their ridiculous regulations and visitation policy, my dad, brother, and I decided to head back home to get a little sleep and regroup while she was stable.
Not long after we got home and in the bed we were called back as medical team determined the surgery would come sooner rather than later. We made the maddening dash back down to Nashville just to start the brutal waiting process.
One of the surgeons came and explained the surgery went well, the bleed was stopped and he expected a 100% recovery. She was placed in the ICU unit in a medically-induced coma on a ventilator and what appeared to be every other machine in the hospital.
We prayed, asked for prayer, prayed some more, cried, asked for more prayer, and this cycle went on throughout the day and evening. We went home to sleep a little and returned early Sunday morning to the same thing. We were told we could be with the medical team early on Monday morning as they made their rounds and that we could be present as they made their assessments and put together the treatment plan for Mom throughout the day on Monday. We left home early Monday morning but the hospital called Dad as we were on our way to inform us that another surgery was immediately needed and she was on her way to the operating room due to another large brain bleed.
This bleed had pushed the mid-line shift of the brain over to one side. Trying to get through morning Nashville traffic is not a pleasant experience when you're trying to get to the hospital in a dire emergency.
She made it through the second surgery and again, the doctors felt good about it; however, the brain would have to be scanned again after a period of time to see if the shift went back where it was supposed to. We waited all day Monday for this and it was miserable. All this time, we continued to ask people for their prayers. Prayers were going up and all we could do was hope they were being heard. The scans came back that afternoon and the brain had shifted back to the right place. For now, it seemed as though we were back to the same spot we were in after the first surgery. We understood it as a setback in the timetable, but still holding.
Tuesday was a bad day. We were invited to attend the rounds on Tuesday morning, which consisted of a team of 11 doctors, nurses, and experts that assessed the situation. They spoke with too much jargon for us to keep up with, but the Dr. (a fellow doctor, who is still in a training program) said he would follow up with us shortly with a discussion.
We waited over 4 hours before we were able to talk to him, but we finally had a discussion on Mom's situation. His opinion was that Mom would never return back to normal due to the trauma her brain had undergone. He also said he felt like Mom would remain in her critical state for the next month. She would likely have to have a tracheotomy within the next couple days if she was unable to breathe on her own and she would likely need rehab for the next 3-6 months with 24/7 care.
We were stunned. Dad was broken and I was blank. We kept asking for prayer and cried the rest of the day. It was a long ride home and all we could do was ask for more prayer. There comes a point when a person is so distraught that the mind can't focus enough to pray themselves, and that's where we were. But we also knew that our previous prayers had been heard, our friends and family were still praying, and others that we didn't even know were praying.
On Wednesday, when the medical team began to get Mom off the ventilator, she began responding well. So well, in fact, they took out the vent to see if she could make it on her own. If not, they would do the tracheotomy, but she began to breathe on her own. She began to wake up and respond in ways she hadn't and things began to drastically change in the right direction. She started trying to whisper and eventually said her first words since Friday night: "I'm aching."
She began making small improvements throughout the day and by yesterday evening, was having short conversations with Dad and my brother. It figures that Shane was there when all the good stuff happened. He was always Mom's favorite.
So here we are, still hopeful, still praying, and we are asking everyone, everywhere to please pray for our Mom. She's a good woman that has stood beside my dad for over 50 years. My dad has helped a lot of people in his 44 years of preaching and counseling and now I'm not too proud to ask you to help them by sending out your prayers.
We know that prayer works and we have faith that it will continue to work. My two brothers, their families, my family, and my Dad thank you for what you've already done.
We've been bombarded with requests to help them in other ways and there are relief efforts now underway.
Michelle Coleman, CEO of Bank of Edmonson County, said that both checks and cash are being accepted as donations; checks can be made to Steve Doyle. Checks can be either deposited in person on his behalf or mailed to any of the three bank locations. You are advised to deliver cash in person, not by mail.
109 S. Main St
Brownsville KY 42210--Mailing address for all locations is: PO BOX 99, Brownsville KY, 42210
6780 Louisville Road
Bowling Green KY 42101
156 S. Main St.
Smiths Grove KY 42171
The money will be directly available to the family to help with medical and living expenses while Mom fights to recover from the accident.
Friends have also set up a GoFundMe for Steve and Debbie. You can donate by clicking here.
Again, they are not ones to ask for money, but they will be out of work for an extended period of time. We don't know what they will have to face.
Dad works as a part-time court security officer at the Edmonson County Courthouse and Mom runs Mimi's Gift Gallery, a small boutique in Chalybeate. We don't know when either of them will be able to return to work. We still have a long way to go and we are unsure of what the future holds; however, we remain hopeful. We need your continued prayers most of all.
Thank you, and God bless you.