Recovery progressing for Clayton man severely injured in Spain
Posted September 16, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — Seven weeks ago, Cory Harrison landed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in a coma and on life-support.
The 21-year-old Clayton resident suffered massive head trauma in a fall three months ago while he was working in Spain.
"When we left Spain, the doctors told us that he probably would not come out of his coma," Harrison's mother, Karon Harrison, said Friday. "The options were if he got some kind of infection to not treat it."
After arriving at WakeMed, Cory Harrison came out of the coma. Now, his feeding and breathing tubes are also gone.
Karon Harrison said her son has been improving, but he gets frustrated sometimes when trying to communicate with them.
"We aren’t to the point where he can do symbols to show us what he wants yet," she said.
The frustration sometimes brings Cory Harrison to tears.
He also wants to walk – a desire that helped earn him the nickname "Houdini." Karon Harrison said her son escaped from a specialized tent bed meant to contain patients who aren't supposed to be mobile yet.
As early as next week, Cory Harrison is set to move from the brain trauma unit to the rehab center, where he can focus more on communication and physical therapy.
"I don't know if they'll ever have the old Cory back, but we have new Cory. We'll take what we can get," Karon Harrison said.
His recovery has been a team effort. His parents and 10 siblings – eight of whom are adopted like him – visit for Sunday brunches on the hospital patio. Even the family's dog, Maddy, visits.
Karon Harrison also credits the community's support with helping her son recover.
His church, First Baptist Church in Smithfield, is selling T-shirts that read "Pray for Cory."
"I think what has had to do with it is so many people praying for him – cause God can work miracles," she said.
The community also helped bring Cory Harrison home from Spain.
The family's insurance company refused to pay to fly him home. After a Facebook campaign, an anonymous donor came forward with a check that more than covered the cost of his trip, which was estimated to run up to $80,000.