All john keller All he wanted was some Cain’s chicken and one of his mom’s hamburgers when he went to his parents’ house in Canton, Ohio.
The usual things that a college kid usually takes for granted—spanning time with family and gathering around the dinner table for mom to cook—were now treasured by Keller, who was Released from Hurley Medical Center about a month after chest shot Near campus at Central Michigan University.
Keller, a 6-foot-1 sophomore quarterback for the Chippewas, had lost 25 pounds since entering the hospital. The idea of a home-cooked meal seemed like a five-course dinner at a Michelin star restaurant.
A month earlier, his parents, Ray and Maria, were unsure whether their son would ever return home. That they were able to share small moments together and indulge in a meal of their choice, with their parents accompanying them, was nothing short of a miracle.
“It was a nightmare,” Ray said. “Last month was a nightmare.”
Early in the morning on April 24, Ray and Maria received a call that their son had been shot. Keller was at a party at Deerfield Village Apartments when he and another student were injured after a fight. The Isabella County Sheriff’s Office arrested Kenneth Thomas of Farmington Hills, Michigan, in connection with the shooting.
Nothing prepares parents for that phone call. Keller could not understand what he was hearing.
The voice on the other end of the line was telling them that their 21-year-old son was being taken to a local hospital, so the Kellers got dressed and made the four-hour drive as quickly as possible to be with him.
“When we got this news, my heart went off my chest,” Ray said. “It was an immediate nightmare and it was hard to breathe. Being a college student, you might think something silly could happen, but when you’re at Mount Pleasant in Central Michigan and you hear your son being shot.” Granted, it was very difficult to understand.
“How does that even happen?”
It was an anxiety-ridden drive. what will happen? In what state will John be when they arrive? Will he ever talk to his son again?
Fortunately for the family, doctors and surgeons were able to save his life. They removed the bullet from his chest, repaired his pulmonary artery that had been hit by the bullet, closed a hole in his lung, and cleaned the entrance wound.
Keller was on a ventilator for 10 days while lying on a rotoprone bed, which allows doctors and nurses to relieve the lungs with severe fluid and turn patients upside down to help the lungs expand. Watching their son come out with a ventilator tube out of his mouth, tied to a bed while on heavy medication and sedated, was overwhelming for his parents. They stayed with him for as long as the doctors and nurses would allow, trying to stay positive.
However, the unknown was frightening.
“Things we’ve seen as parents, you never want to see in the hospital,” Ray said. “Luckily John probably won’t remember much, but as parents, we saw things you never want to see.”
Keller didn’t really feel any relief until two weeks after being admitted to the hospital. Keller removed the ventilator tube and slowly tried to complete smaller tasks. At first, it was trying to stop eating and acting in general.
“Things we’ve seen as parents, you never want to see in the hospital. Luckily John probably won’t remember much, but as parents, we’ve seen things you never want to see.” Want.”
Ray Keller, John’s father
Then it went on to eat and talk on its own. After he had done all that, all Keller could think of was what his family was like and what he had endured.
He said he doesn’t remember some of the procedures and parts of his hospital stay, but he remembers being consistent and hoping his parents were okay.
“It was emotional for me, and there was never a time when I didn’t think it was going to work but the whole process was more or less hard to believe,” Keller said. “Knowing that I went through and survived it and seeing everything after knowing my family… I’m so happy to be here.”
In the first conversation with his parents, Keller tells them that he’s going to make it, everything will be alright, and they shouldn’t worry anymore.
They went from praying that their son would live and celebrating small victories every step of the way. Keller was able to do some breathing exercises, some respiratory work, then physical therapy, and eventually some mindful walking.
He removed his tube and IV, and doctors told the family that Keller would be able to leave the hospital room he spent the past four weeks in agony.
“Me and his mom haven’t had a chance to decompress, I’m still in a panic mode,” Ray said. “My wife said, ‘This is the best day of my life other than the day you were born.’ He said we get him again and we get a chance to live life with our son, because for a while, we weren’t sure that was going to happen.”
Keller still has a long road to recovery that includes physical therapy, working with a thoracic surgeon and monitoring the progress of his body as he recovers, but he is on the right track. And as real as the phone call was to her parents, the more real she is that she is now home and safe by their side.
He doesn’t know what’s next in terms of football. He will first undergo physical therapy, and then is expected to rejoin the team, although he does not know when he will be able to return to the field. He has already come a long way.
“It’s crazy to think about where it all started and to know that my family and my coaches have watched this whole process,” Keller said. “The big thing for me was to just stay positive, and there was never a point during the whole process where I ever doubted I was going to make it. I really believed with all my heart that everything was going to be okay, And I think it played a big part in getting me there and I’m at home right now.”
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