CC Hudson had life made.
She’d graduated from college and married her college sweetheart, a baseball player named Cody. They lived with his parents for a year, saving up for a new house in Byhalia, MS. CC loved her job as a nurse in a neuroscience unit at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
In an instant, everything changed.
CC was driving to work on the interstate last December 31 when an SUV slammed into her. The driver was arrested and jailed. He had no driver’s license or insurance. CC crashed into a concrete wall. Though her seatbelt remained buckled, CC was thrown from the car. When she didn’t show up for work, Le Bonheur phoned her husband, who was hunting with his father. From a deer blind, Cody frantically called the police. He learned his wife was at Regional One Hospital in Memphis in “critical condition.”
Cody and his dad raced to the hospital. CC was unconscious, covered with blood. A scan showed diffuse axonal injury (DAI), or brain shearing (multiple tiny tears). She also had a subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding between her brain and the tissue covering it). Nothing could be done medically. Doctors expected “some improvement,” but warned some patients never recover from such brain trauma.
CC (given name Xiamar) remained in a coma for nearly 3 weeks. When she regained consciousness, she couldn’t walk or talk. After about a month, her condition stabilized enough to move her to Shepherd Rehab Hospital in Atlanta, GA. She stayed there for about a month and underwent physical, occupational and speech therapy, then returned as an outpatient for 2 more months. CC was wheelchair bound for almost 4 months, unable to balance, or even go to the bathroom without help.
Cody had hoped to play pro baseball. “Baseball was his life,” CC says. After some encouraging offers fell through, Cody went to work for his father’s landscaping company. But for the first few months of CC’s recovery, helping his wife was Cody’s chief focus. Now, nearly a year later, CC’s almost back to normal. She says, “Cody was my nurse, my p.t.. my o.t., my speech therapist all in one. He was my rock. I doubt my recovery would have been so successful without him.”
Before CC’s accident, Cody had talked about joining the military. He waited until his wife was cleared to drive, then signed up in August. He started basic training in November. Now 25, he hopes to make it into Special Ops and become a Green Beret.
While CC was in a coma, Cody had watched a sermon on the hospital TV. The minister talked about using one’s God-given talents. “That sermon spoke to him,” CC says. “He has the physical ability to serve. He has the courage. He has the heart.”
CC, whose dad was an Army Ranger, supports Cody’s choice. But her voice broke when she talked about how hard it is not to be able to reach her husband whenever she wants. Still, CC says, “Our country wouldn’t be as awesome as it is without the sacrifices of our soldiers and their families. When Cody gets deployed, it’ll be terrifying for me. He’ll be in dangerous places. But I know God is on his side. When I ask him about the dangers he’ll face, he says nothing will compare to what he went through when I was in a coma.”
CC’s grateful for the attention she received from family, friends and teammates during her recovery. (She ran cross country and track at Austin Peay State U. in Clarksville, TN.) And for the nurses who worked with her at Le Bonheur. When she was comatose, they visited constantly, comforted her family and checked up on her nursing care. Ula, her preceptor (the senior nurse assigned to mentor her), wanted to wash CC’s hair while she was in the ICU. She volunteered to bring in a bucket, but the request was denied. She braided CC’s hair instead.
CC recently returned to her nursing position. She works with children suffering from seizures or brain trauma. She believes her health challenge made her more empathetic, more able to relate to her patients. She has walked the walk. While she still has some minor weakness in her left hand, she’s basically healed.
CC’s faith has strengthened, too. “Through all the chaos of my accident, God was with me. When I was stuck in a wheelchair or in bed, I read the Bible every day. I still do. It helped me come through this ordeal with peace.”
Thanks, CC. Your story’s a New Year’s gift of hope and survival. Thanks, Sheila Hudson, Cece’s beloved mother-in-law, for sharing CC’s story when we were seatmates on our recent flight to California.
And thanks, Cody, for your service. God bless all who keep us safe. And God bless America.