An accident left Bill behind the curtain, but now he’s center stage.

Bill of Marion may be 78 years young, but slowing down is not in his vocabulary. Bill is an artist, pianist, theater actor and extremely active in his church. He and his wife live very vigorous lives and they plan on staying that way.

Horrible Accident

Bill was mowing his lawn, just like any other day. But on this particular day, he had an accident. He was mowing under a tree limb and thought he had the limb pulled all the way back, as he usually does. However, the tree limb swung back and hit him directly in the head.

Of course Bill was in pain but thought it would heal on its own. Within a matter of hours, he was starting to lose his ability to function—he couldn’t think, he lost his balance and he had no strength.

He decided to go and meet his primary care physician. His physician ordered a CT Scan and then immediately referred him to Neurosurgeon, Dr. Mark Fleming at SIH Brain & Spine Institute at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.

“I was really scared but I had no idea what was in store for me,” Bill nervously said.

Devastating News

Dr. Fleming gave Bill devastating news—he had to have brain surgery—immediately. Bill’s heart sank. He had some health issues in the past, but never in a million years did he think he would have to have brain surgery. He was terrified, distraught and uncertain—not to mention, in an unbearable amount of pain as well.

“I told Dr. Fleming I would need time to think about it—to pray about it,” Bill said. However, Dr. Fleming told Bill that time was not on his side. The longer he waited, the more damage would be done—irreversible damage. Bill went home that Friday afternoon with the deadline of three days to get back to Dr. Fleming. Anything longer than three days would be detrimental to his health.

That Friday evening, he called Dr. Fleming and said he would have the brain surgery; he could no longer take the pain. Dr. Fleming reassured him that he was making the right decision and that he would be better very soon.

Brain Surgery and Recovery

Bill went into surgery at 7:30 on Sunday morning on August 10, 2014 at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale. The procedure lasted about an hour. When Bill was in the ICU recovering, he said he will never forget the first time he spoke to Dr. Fleming. Bill and his wife already had an anniversary trip to Canada planned for October 16, 2014, just a couple of months after his surgery. Bill and his wife were looking forward to this trip and were saddened that the brain surgery might change those plans. “But Dr. Fleming walked into my room after my surgery and I will never forget the words he said to me: ‘Bill, your prayers have been answered. Now you’ll need to go home and back your bags for your trip to Canada.’ I just laid there, pain free, and started to cry. Dr. Fleming never had a doubt in his mind that he would save my life, and he did exactly that.”

Bill was released from the hospital on the following Tuesday and two months later, he and his wife made their dream trip to Canada to celebrate their wedding anniversary—and to celebrate life.

Dr. Fleming, everyone at SIH Brain & Spine Institute and the hospital staff at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale were all amazing. I will forever be grateful for these individuals and will never stop singing their praises,” Bill proudly said.