Former Madonna patient shares story with DC Post-Gazette

Former Madonna patient shares story with DC Post-Gazette

OMAHA, Neb. (MADONNA)--This is a tweet from former Madonna patient Reed Mayberry. He spent time at Madonna's Omaha Campus after suffering a brain injury while skiing in Colorado.

Reed's story was featured in the Douglas County Post-Gazette, which you can read below!


Written by Mary Lou Rodgers. Republished with permission from the Douglas County Post-Gazette.

Skiing accident cuts family vacation short

A father of three, an experienced skier, found himself tumbling down a mountainside in Colorado a few weeks ago and turning a family vacation into what could have been a tragedy.

Reed Mayberry of Wahoo said he just gotten off the ski lift on a “blue” slope, not the most dangerous, and somehow spun and landed on the back of his head.

“I’m 6’4” so the fall and impact had to be incredible,” Reed said. “I tumbled and tumbled down the hill and landed face down.”

Reed and his wife, Angie, and two of their three children had just arrived in Granby and started their vacation with three other families. On the first day, Friday, February 3, he was heading back to the house where they were staying when the unexpected fall happened.

“My friends rolled me over and saw blood coming from every orifice of my face,” Reed said.

What the ski patrol did to get him down the mountain was incredible, Reed, said, but what is even more incredible is that just three weeks after suffering a traumatic brain injury, Reed was back home in Wahoo with only some clouded vision in one eye that is expected to clear up.

What saved him was not only the quick work of people in Colorado and of his family and friends, but the concern of a good friend back in Omaha who went to bat for Reed.

That friend, Andy Wilber, is an RN liaison who works at the new Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in west Omaha, which specializes in traumatic brain injuries as well other debilitating conditions. Andy knew that if he could get Reed to Omaha, it would be easier on the family, and Reed would get what Andy considers the best care possible.

“I knew Angie’s desire was to get back home closer to family, friends and her kids,” Andy said.

He talked to Angie and then Madonna flew him out to Denver, where Reed was hospitalized, where Andy helped make arrangements for Reed to go to Madonna instead of Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver. Though it’s a good hospital, Andy said, it’s best known for spinal cord injuries, and it’s far from home.

Andy made the transfer arrangements, and Angie was able to drive her husband back with multiple stops.  Reed’s parents, who live in Mission, Texas, left for Colorado so quickly when they heard about the accident that his mother left her purse behind in the driveway. They followed the car as Angie drove Reed back.

“Without Andy’s help and supervision and direction, we would still be in Colorado,” Reed pointed out. “I owe the world to that guy. He went above and beyond. It really made a difference in my life. I can’t thank him enough.”

Though Reed does not remember the first five days after the accident, he was achieving some recovery. Yet he didn’t know if he would be able to walk and talk and function. That worried him, since he is a sales manager for Pioneer, an Ag business, and speech is important to him in that role.

At Madonna, he jokingly told the staff he expected to lie around like he was in a day spa and just recuperate, but that wasn’t quite the case.

“They work your tail off,” Reed said. “I had occupational, physical and speech therapy three or four hours a day, which was great. They wanted me to go back to work and be stronger than before.”

In Colorado, he was told it would probably take three or four weeks of rehabilitation. At Madonna, after about two weeks of intense therapy, he was ready to leave.

“I was surprised and so blessed,” he said.

Being able to be near home for his rehab contributed to his healing.

“It was awesome to be surrounded by family and friends,” he said.

Reed couldn’t say enough good things about the care he received at Madonna, too.

“The facility’s not only first class, they’re world class,” he said. “Everything is state-of-the-art – how they work you, when they work you. The tools they have there are incredible. Mix those tools with world-class people and people who care – from nurses to doctors to therapists, their support was important to me and my family.”

Reed says that whenever he goes by Madonna, a special piece of his heart is there.

Besides learning that Madonna Hospital was a wonderful place to heal, Reed was also reminded through this accident how important it is to wear a helmet. He was wearing a helmet the day of the accident, but it was not something he had done often.

“I had a Go Pro on the helmet to record my kids,” Reed said. “It was my only reason for wearing it. I don’t know what would have happened without it.”

Now that Reed and Angie are back home with their kids – Avery, 11, Ryley, 8, and Grady, 4, they are being especially diligent about making sure their kids wear helmets for skiing and for riding bikes.

“The fist thing I went and bought my son a better helmet,” Reed said. “My four-year-old (wearing the new helmet) fell off his dirt bike and stood up with no injury. We are very helmet-conscious people now.”

For Andy, his friend’s recovery from a traumatic brain injury was a relief to him, and he is proud of the part Madonna played in Reed’s healing.

“It’s a testament to our team that we are able to take a severe injury and turn it around quickly,” Andy said. “It’s so very important to have a team of professionals who are highly trained and highly specialized to attack it.”

 Andy noted that Reed, who was young and healthy, was a best-case scenario.

"He did a phenomenal job,” Andy said of his friend.

Reed is grateful to Andy and to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital.

 He said, “What Madonna did for me and my family – I cannot express the gratitude I have.”


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