Mom’s Story (Wynell Hunt)
It was 25 years ago, on August 1, 1985, when our son, Scotty, sustained a traumatic brain injury at the age of 20. No one could be prepared for the changes this brought to Scotty or to his family, who loved him dearly. One day you have a healthy, athletic son between his Junior and Senior years of college, and the next day he is in a coma with a severe brain injury!! This is with no encouragement that he will live or IF he lives, that he will ever speak your name again!!
What can prepare you for such a tragedy?! We knew nothing about brain injuries and the medical community knew very little about it twenty five years ago.
Our first neurosurgeon in Montgomery, Alabama told us that they would do all they could do to take care of him, but really it was out of their hands. We knew only our heavenly Father could bring him out of that coma and that Scotty’s future was totally in God’s hands!! Psalms 91:14-16 became a passage that spoke to my heart and became a promise to me for Scotty and his future. I knew God was in control and ALL my hope was in Him!!
Through the next year many more verses from God’s Word became very real to me as I sought wisdom, comfort and hope from them. Psalms 115:1, Isaiah 55: 8-9, Jeremiah 29:10, Hebrews 11:1, and James 5:15 were my mainstay.
I began keeping a daily journal. This allowed me to express my thoughts AND fears, and also to record what I saw taking place every day with Scotty. I recorded his first movements on command, his setbacks, his first words, and then as he progressed from the coma, how he learned to walk and talk.
Life after sustaining a severe brain injury is NOT an easy one!! The challenges of daily living are enormous. Emotions are frequently on edge and keeping your patience is trying for the injured one as well as the caregivers!!
After getting his degree from college, we learned that the job market is not really there for a brain injury survivor! We knew God had left Scotty for a reason and we wanted to see Scotty’s life make a difference. God opened doors for Scotty to visit people who had suffered tragedies in their lives. He went to encourage them to NOT give up and to believe their lives could still have meaning and purpose! Calls came from people we’d never met asking us to visit a hospital, a nursing home or a rehab center. Scotty always welcomed the opportunity to go and try to lift their spirits, to help them see that he had been where they were and that he understood their frustrations. One chaplain at a metro hospital in Atlanta shared an account of a brain injured patient she was trying to help. She was talking to him and trying to encourage him, but he said to her, “Please have Scotty come to see me, because he knows what it is like to be where I am.”
This led a church friend to encourage Scotty to establish a ministry. C.O.P.I.N. Ministries, Inc. (Comforting Other People In Need) was established in 1996 and this friend gave the funds to cover the cost of setting up the ministry. Many other supporters have come along and faithfully given month after month and year after year so that Scotty could receive a salary and continue to go in Christ’s name to share and help others. He has gone to summer camps in Ohio, Alabama and North Carolina to minister and share with hurting people.
Scotty and I go regularly to visit patients in various hospitals and rehab centers in the Atlanta metro area. He is able to relate to the patient and I go and share with the caregiver. Many times we leave them with a copy of the book “Why Scotty?”, which we published in 1992. This book is about our experience in dealing with Scotty’s accident and life since brain injury.
Even 25 years later, life is still challenging for Scotty, his wife Cathy, and us as his parents. Some people simply don’t understand, others don’t want to be bothered with dealing with someone with a disability. Still others don’t know how to react to someone whose speech is different and their gait is uneven, so they try to ignore them. Much patience is required to take the time to treat someone with love and respect when they appear different from the “normal” person, but the rewards are GREAT! Scotty says he lost many things in his car wreck, but one thing he has acquired is compassion. I can say the same for me as his mother!!