Sometimes there are moments where everything can change, like when Michael Hooky Walker decided to go out for a quick motorcycle ride – and almost never came back.
A shocking accident
Walker had taken his Harley Davidson out for a 20-minute ride before a family dinner, and then he remembered nothing until he woke up a month later. He had been in a coma and had more than 50 fractures in his body.
What started as swerving to avoid lambs that were partially blocking the road ended with him being near death at a crash site.
“He did not look in a good way. If I hadn’t heard him breathing, I [would have] thought he was already gone … I didn’t think there was any hope,”– Jo Walker
Jo Walker, his wife, insisted a Westpac Rescue helicopter be called as because she didn’t think her husband would survive the 90-minute ambulance ride to Christchurch Hospital.
Awakening from a coma
“If Jo hadn’t actually insisted on one of our friends calling the air ambulance then I wouldn’t be here. They saved my life,” Hooky Walker said.
His injuries included brain bleeds, a shattered femur, broken shoulder, about 10 fractures in his back, broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
While in a month-long coma, Walker had a series of surgeries. He also twice suffered from sepsis infections.
“They (doctors) told Jo to go get family because they didn’t expect me to make it. Every few days I was living hour to hour,” he said.
But Walker survived, and woke from the coma, and he instantly saw his father and sister, who had traveled from Ireland.
“When I saw my father he just teared up. I couldn’t talk, but I gave him the old universal eyebrow [raise] and then he started crying again.”-Michael Hooky Walker
He also revealed the dreams he had had while in a coma. “They were absolutely horrific. I constantly felt like I was running away from people who wanted to have a piece of me.”
Walker was released just before Christmas and is now just trying to reclaim his life.
A new normal
“Now it’s about trying to understand what normal looks like and adjusting my life to that.”
That means taking things one day at a time as he regains his strength.
“I’ve been kicked off the horse, so I have to get back on it. It’s not in my nature to fold, but I’m really sensitive to what Jo would think if I rode out the gate again.
He’s already come a long way and survived incredible odds. “There’s no talk of taking a backwards step, it’s all moving forward.”
Strength is a marathon, not a sprint
Many of us can relate to Walker on a smaller scale. We all face adversity and it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This story is also a reminder that life is unpredictable, but that sometimes, things turn out well in the most miraculous ways — and through the help of loved ones.
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