Despite Recovery ‘Roller Coaster,’ Ferguson Family Remains Hopeful
George Ferguson knelt by his son Liam’s side as emergency crews arrived at their home on August 23, after Liam was struck on the head by a falling tree. Eleven days later, as he offered The Newtown Bee an update on Liam’s recovery, the elder Ferguson clearly had a hopeful and positive tone in his soft voice.
“Last night around midnight we got the call that they were ready to remove Liam’s ventilator tube, and after the procedure he was able to breathe on his own,” the senior Ferguson said.
But as anyone familiar with recuperation from a traumatic brain injury knows, the road to wellness is fraught with challenges.
In the space of about 12 hours on September 3, his mother’s updates on Liam’s GoFundMe page went from the hopeful message, “He’s breathing on his own, he’s alert, and doing well,” to relating that her son’s “roller coaster ride continues.”
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Following the removal of Liam’s breathing tube and a break in the fever he was suffering, Kathleen Ferguson arrived to visit him Wednesday and found him to be anxious, struggling, and in pain.
While asking visitors to the GoFundMe page established to help defray what are expected to be colossal medical expenses to “please keep your prayers coming,” Kathleen added, “Today starts a new chapter, and it was hard.”
The latest update came following somewhat more uplifting details from the family that included Kathleen asking Liam to squeeze her hand — and having him respond.
“A few times, each lasting just a few seconds, he lifted those heavy lids and I saw those big baby blues and I said, ‘Liam, it’s Mom. I love you. Squeeze my hand if you can hear me.’ And he squeezed my hand. Once I said, ‘Squeeze harder.’ And he squeezed harder,” Kathleen wrote. “I cried a lot of tears of joy today.”
Liam’s father also said doctors at Yale New Haven Hospital’s neurological ICU were able to bring him out of his anesthetized state long enough to witness Liam’s eyes tracking movements, and that a couple of days earlier, he responded to doctors’ requests to wiggle his fingers and toes.
Friends & Family Support
The Ferguson family and the hundreds of friends and strangers who have sent get well wishes and/or contributed over $112,000, to date, to the GoFundMe campaign set up by Liam’s sisters firmly believe Liam has the spirit to recover. George Ferguson reflected that compared to his condition a week earlier, and despite Wednesday’s circumstances, Liam’s progress has been “miraculous.”
After a visit on September 1, George wrote, “Like most days it was a day filled with two emotions: Hope and Fear. Hope for Liam’s continued recovery. Fear that we may lose him or his progress will stall.”
“As for the joyful part of the day, the respiratory therapist visited Liam and the procedure really woke him up,” George Ferguson continued. “He opened his eyes, I called his name, he tracked my voice and looked straight at me. I told him I loved him and asked him to give me a wave, which he did. It made me happy.”
Earlier that afternoon, Liam’s dad started reading The Outsiders, which he said was recommended by Liam’s middle school teacher.
“I asked Liam if he wanted me to keep reading. I asked him to put up one finger for Yes and two fingers for No,” his dad recalled. “He put up one finger. I then tested this again, asking him to put up two fingers, which he did. Home run.”
Those developments were drastically different than just one day earlier, when the elder Ferguson wrote that Liam “is on the schedule for tracheostomy and a feeding tube.”
Liam also continues to benefit from the love and prayers of his sisters, Kaitlyn and Casey, along with brother-in-law Doug Gerhardt, who have stepped back, allowing the bulk of limited visiting time to be utilized by George and Kathleen.
The family also previously said that Liam was able to be put on the state’s HUSKY insurance program since his injury, but they were still anticipating extremely costly medical bills to mount through his recovery process.
Liam, a trained medical response technician, was a member of Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue. He also formerly worked as an insurance claims representative.
Anyone interested in following Liam’s progress or donating to the family’s fundraising site can visit gofundme.com and search for Liam Ferguson.