Today marks exactly six months since our friend Michael Einfeldt was in his car accident.
I remember January 8th, like it was yesterday. I was doing laundry downstairs when I heard Jeremy come in and tell me in a voice choked with emotion that Michael had gotten into an accident and that we needed to go to the hospital.
We drove up to Stony Brook that day praying and wondering. We had no idea what to expect, and would only learn little details as the day unfolded. Early that morning, Michael was on his way to work out with a friend when he hit black ice. His car crashed driver’s side into a utility pole. He was airlifted to Stony Brook and a handful of miracles throughout that morning would line up to give him a fighting chance.
We learned that Michael had sustained multiple internal injuries, and then later learned that he also had a significant brain injury. Stony Brook University Hospital would become home to the Einfeldt family for the next three months.
The first days were the hardest. We learned about ICPs and watched and prayed while Michael’s went up and down. A week after his accident, we got a call that made our hearts stop. Michael’s pressure levels were not coming down, despite the best efforts of his doctors and nurses. I remember driving up to the hospital that morning begging God to save his life. Thankfully, eventually they came down and we all were able to breathe again.
But despite how terribly hard those first days were, it became increasingly evident that God indeed was at work. It was most apparent through Michael’s mom Sally. She grew in her faith, in the most amazing ways. She heard God speaking to her heart through sermons on the hospital television. She felt God’s presence and comfort in the many, many family members and friends who came to see her and her family. And she read verses that strengthened her from Michael’s very own Bible. And even though it was so hard to see her hurt and her struggle, it was also so beautiful to see the ways that God was caring for her and she cared tirelessly for her son.
We relished little bits of improvement in those first few months. Michael gave slight responses which would eventually strengthen as he did. We would hold his hands and tell him how very much we all loved him. We told him how people all over the world were praying for his recovery.
When Michael opened his eyes, we cried tears of joy. And little by little, we’d continue to see more and more responses. We thanked God for these and prayed for his healing even more.
Michael had so many visitors in those days. Because he was so loved and cherished by everyone who knew him. His family was so faithfully by his side, rotating through every day and every night. And his friends from work and school and church were so good about checking in and bringing their love and support every time.
He also gained a pretty cute collection of cuddly stuffed animals as well.
Then there was the day that Matt “Perch” Gregory came up with the most incredible idea. He had bracelets made up for Michael’s family and friends which so many of us would wear faithfully. They were great reminders to pray for Michael and I’m so glad that he took the time to create them. I still see them on the wrists of Michael’s friends on a pretty regular basis and every time they make me smile to know how many people love and pray for Michael.
Michael stayed in the Stony Brook ICU for exactly three months. During that time, he had multiple surgeries to help alleviate the pressure on his brain. We prayed for the surgeries and for no infections and for fevers and for neuro-storming. And God faithfully answered every one of those prayers by safely bringing Michael through and to a place of healing.
Eventually Michael would have his final surgery to place his shunt and this would get him ready for the next phase of his journey, Rehab.
Michael left the ICU and Stony Brook and entered Rehab three months ago. Those first weeks were a little rocky, but pretty normal for the nature of a brain injury. I distinctly remember one of the doctors saying that a traumatic brain injury has a very rocky road to recovery. And it’s been very true for Michael. There are good days and tough days and they seem to take turns and alternate, but overall, we continue to see Michael healing.
Michael’s continued to have a steady stream of support from his family and friends. His Mom, Dad and sister Sarah continually rotate spending every day and night by Michael’s side. His friends continue to visit and we all have continued to love and pray for and support our dear friend.
In Rehab Michael’s continued to gain new fun friends, but these ones are a little more therapeutic.
One of my favorite things from Rehab is seeing Michael get the chance to get outdoors again. Considering how far he’s come, it’s been a huge blessing to see these days. God has blessed Michael and his family with a Rehab location that is beautiful and right next to the water that they all know and love. It’s another ways we’ve seen God provide throughout this long and hard journey.
And six months later, Michael is doing well and continuing to heal and recover. I got to go and visit Michael on Wednesday. When I arrived in his room, he was in his chair, but struggling a bit which was hard to see. Sally was with him and we both stayed with him until he was able to get help to get back in bed. It was a tougher day which would lead into an even tougher night. Michael experienced storming which led to an incredibly difficult night for him and for Sally. I received a late night text asking for prayer and my heart sank.
But then, the morning came. And with it, a new day for Michael. Jeremy would go up that day for a visit with Sally and Michael. And he would be there when Michael’s therapist came out into the lobby area beaming with the biggest smile. She’d go on to tell Sally how great Michael was doing and how he was doing things that they hadn’t seen yet. These sweet words would bring tears to Sally’s eyes and joy to her heart.
And maybe in some ways, this would sum up these past six months. Psalm 30:5 talks about sorrows that may last for the night. And in many ways, in these past six months, we’ve all experienced sorrow thinking of our friend Michael and the struggle that he has endured. But then the verse talks, about the joy that comes in the morning. The joy that God brings, amidst the sorrows of the night. And in many ways, there has been joy in the past six months as well. Joy for God’s work and strength and healing. Joy for the ways that God has healed Michael and joy for the anticipation of the ways that God will continue to work.
To all of those reading this that have followed Michael’s story, thank you. Thank you for your many prayers and thank you for continuing to love and support Michael and his family. I know firsthand how much this means to them and just want to share my thanks to you for all that you’ve done. Let’s continue to show our love and support and continue to anticipate the great things that God and Michael will do in the next sixth months to come.