Church comes to the aid of veteran

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, August 16, 2012

Last December, Michelle Rawls thought she was bringing her husband home from the hospital to die.
At 43, Jordan had suffered a massive stroke that left him in a coma for a week. When he woke up, he was paralyzed and could only move his eyelids. The condition is called “Locked-in Syndrome.”
Michelle was told that 40 to 70 percent of patients with Locked-in Syndrome died shortly after suffering the event.
“Jordan was given six months to live,” she said. “There was never any consideration of Jordan’s condition changing … no rehabilitation services were offered.”
He spent an additional three weeks at Vidant Hospital in Greenville. When his doctor and hospital discharge planners recommended Michelle place Jordan in a nursing home, she could not stand the idea of him spending his last days there instead of home surrounded by loved ones.
Michelle has been swimming in red tape since making the decision to take Jordan home. She now believes that the key to her husband’s recovery can be found at a nursing facility where he would get frequent physical and occupational therapy.
She and Jordan are veterans of the Army.
“Right now, we are waiting for a decision from the Veterans Administration for their assistance with disability. This decision could take up to two years. We would miss the opportunity to get Jordan in a facility while his body is waking up,” Michelle said.
Jordan has outlived his six months and shown signs of improvement.
“In January, Jordan began to move his head. He is now able to shake and lift his hands. Instead of us pointing to the letters on the communication board, he does and we write the words down,” Michelle said.
Jordan can also sit in a wheelchair for two to three hours a day and hold on to the rail of his bed.
The progress came with physical therapy three times a week. His therapists have told Michelle that Jordan would progress faster with more therapy.
Michelle wants to raise the $36,000 it would take to place Jordan into a nursing facility for six months. She started a blog at and has enlisted the help of friends, family and her church with fundraisers. His church, St. John Church of Christ, raised $2,200. Other fundraisers are in the works.