When Randy Travis suffered a severe stroke in 2013, a staph infection was what led doctors to tell his wife Mary to prepare for the his death.
“At this point, the 1 to 2 percent chance is 100 percent chance over zero,” Mary Travis said. “I prayed hard, ‘God, please let me have him back, any way, shape or form.’
“Even in his state, his semicoma state, he squeezed my hand and he laid there and I saw this tear that just fell.” @randytravis’ wife Mary discusses Randy’s road to recovery after his near-fatal stroke pic.twitter.com/WeJkHwaOr3
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 13, 2019
Travis suffered a series of horrible medical events that happened back to back, forcing the then-54-year-old to be hospitalized for nearly six months and undergo many surgeries and procedures. As described in his new book, Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music Faith and Braving the Storms of Life, and previously to the Tennessean, Travis was in a coma when doctors told the couple he was going to die. She squeezed his hand and asked if he wanted to keep fighting.
Travis mustered the power to squeeze back and a single tear fell down his cheek.
“I knew then he wasn’t ready to quit fighting,” she told the newspaper. ‘I went back and told the doctors, ‘It’s not our choice to decide that. … And I suggest that everybody get on board and do everything they can do to save him.'”
Soon after, the Travises switched doctors. His new specialist put him on a more powerful antibiotic, and within three days Travis started to show improvement. Five days after that, the doctor told Mary Travis she could start planning her husband’s trip home. “Home” meant seven more weeks in Texas hospitals before she wheeled him out, a bag of laundry in his lap, just in time to spend Thanksgiving at their ranch in Tioga, Texas.
When asked whether he was happy, Travis paused for several seconds before answering, “Well…no.” After another long pause, he admitted, “Damaged.”
Although Travis is still working to regain his conversation skills, he can sing — at least a few songs. Travis remembers all of his song lyrics and can use his left hand to run the chords on his guitar neck. He’s still regaining use of his right arm and leg. He says it feels “good” to sing again.
Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music Faith and Braving the Storms of Life will be released on May 14.