Survivor Success Story: Tree limb nearly kills a Dansville man

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DANSVILLE, Mich. (WILX) A tree limb nearly killed Michael Bryde of Dansville. But two years later, he's living beyond expectations after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Sarah and Michael Bryde don't take anything for granted. A happy couple with three children, their lives changed in an instant when Michael was at work. He was on a crew helping clear an area of trees along a rural riverbank. Sarah Bryde said, "He was cutting a tree and they actually have a name for it, it's called a "widow maker." Where a broken limb was stuck between two trees and when he went to cut the tree down, he was watching it drop as the limb came down and hit him on his head."

Michael suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was airlifted to Sparrow Hospital and underwent surgery. His neurosurgeon wasn't sure if he'd ever recover. "He flat out said I'm going to be honest, I don't know if he'll be here for 5 seconds, 5 minutes, 5 hours, you just need to pray, at this point I've done all I can do."

The weeks that followed surgery were rough. While in a coma, Michael developed pneumonia. Sarah said, "He died twice and they brought him back, and then he suffered multiple strokes. So at this point, he hadn't even woke up yet, so we had no idea how much damage was done."

Weeks went by and as Michael made slow progress his prognosis remained uncertain. He was moved from the Intensive Care Unit to Sparrow's Specialty Hospital where he'd spend the next three months and Sarah would meet the nurse she'd soon call "Number 1." Zac Medler, Sparrow Specialty Hospital Nurse said, "So its a time of uncertainty for Sarah and the family.Having a face to work with, you know it just made it easier for her."

Two years after the accident, emotions still run deep for Nurse Medler. Sitting in the family's home, seeing the progress Michael has made, Medler gets emotional. "I learned early that you can't count people out. I mean there's I've taken care of patients that will never walk, would never get off a, would never get off a vent, you know, and did and Mike is one of the best stories." Sarah adds, "Its only because he is so strong and he's determined and he fought." Medler said, "They're just a great team. I mean she talks about the strength of Mike, but she's awesome."

Strength, more powerful than medicine. A bond between a wife, a nurse and a patient, still strong. Sarah said, "They never thought he'd walk."

Medler said, "He'll never be Mike before the accident, but he's always improving, always getting better."

Michael is able to communicate with his family, talking a bit and seems very happy. After leaving Sparrow Specialty Hospital, he spent time in Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation center at Sparrow. He still attends sessions at Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center. Sarah is now Michael's full-time caregiver.