- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - Nov. 14 was the day Dustin Pike had looked forward to and planned for months: It was to be his wedding day.

Family and friends had gathered at a resort in Cancun, Mexico, to witness and celebrate the occasion. But as the groom prepared his wedding vows that morning, he received terrible news: His mother, Theresa Pike of Powell, had fallen in the resort’s lobby and hit her head. An ambulance was en route.

“I rushed to the lobby and made it just in time to get a ride to the hospital,” Dustin recalled. “She was in and out of consciousness, and there was lots of blood. It was terrifying.”

Theresa had suffered massive brain hemorrhaging. Doctors told the Pike family that Theresa needed emergency brain surgery and to say goodbye before she went into the operating room.

With their wedding now canceled, Dustin and his fiancee, Heather Bogus, waited with their families and friends, not knowing whether Theresa would survive.

For hours, they waited in a parking lot in front of the hospital with no contact from the hospital staff.

“It was the longest day ever,” Dustin said.

Theresa did survive the surgery, but remained in a medically induced coma for several days.

The family also faced new struggles: Getting Theresa back to America while dealing with the hospital and resort in Mexico.

The Cancun hospital wouldn’t accept Theresa’s Medicare coverage, so the family paid tens of thousands of dollars as a deposit for the emergency surgery to save her life, Dustin said.

“Then, every time we visited her there, the administration kept forcing my dad to pay more and more money,” Dustin said. “It started to feel like they were taking advantage of us during our most vulnerable time.”

When an air ambulance arrived to take Theresa to Houston, “the hospital administration didn’t want to let the ambulance take her unless we paid another $22,000.”

Dustin argued with them until they agreed to let him sign a promissory note for that amount, and Theresa was then transferred to Houston.

“We also struggled a bit with the language barrier, although my sister Kelci speaks very good Spanish and was able to translate for us a lot of the time,” Dustin said.

Adding to the family’s stress was the resort’s unwillingness to refund the canceled wedding expenses.

On the morning Dustin and Heather left Cancun, they were given a form to sign that would release the resort from all clams tied to Theresa’s accident as a condition of receiving any refunds for the wedding expenses.

“We did not feel comfortable signing this because we still don’t know what caused my mother’s accident,” Dustin said. “All we wanted was to receive money back for the services we did not use, so that we could help our parents and hopefully plan for a new wedding in the future since we never got to celebrate.”

Theresa’s loved ones describe her as a fighter. It isn’t the first time she’s faced life-threatening medical problems.

She suffered a massive stroke 27 years ago on Christmas Eve. Theresa eventually recovered, but suffered a permanent loss of motor skills and movement on the right side of her body.

Since coming out of the coma late last month, the family has watched Theresa make amazing progress.

By Nov. 23, Theresa was laughing, speaking a few more words and even singing a little bit of her favorite Dallas Cowboys fight song with the help of her daughter Erin.

“She even pouted when we told her she couldn’t go home to Powell just yet and when we had to say good night - it’s encouraging to see that she still has her sense of humor and her fighting spirit,” Dustin said Monday.

Theresa is still struggling to answer questions with an answer more complicated then “yes” or “no,” and it takes her a little while to remember family members’ names.

“But she’s comprehending more and saying a little more with each passing hour,” Dustin said.

Theresa is now recovering in Houston, where she will undergo months of rehabilitation and in-patient care. Jim has relocated to Houston indefinitely until Theresa can return to Powell. He is looking for temporary housing near Houston Methodist Hospital, where Theresa is being treated. The couple’s daughter Erin already lives in Houston, and their daughter Kelci has decided to stay there for the duration of Theresa’s recovery.

Dustin, who grew up in Powell, is now living in New York City. He plans to travel to Houston frequently.

Dustin had planned to dance with his mom at his wedding reception to the song, “Dancing in the Moonlight.”

“My mom is one of the happiest people you’ll ever meet,” he said. “She loves to sing and dance, and leading up to our wedding day she kept talking about how excited she was to dance with me at the reception.”

Dustin hopes he will get to dance with his mom on his wedding day - he just doesn’t know when that will be.

After everything they’ve been through, Dustin said the end goal of the entire experience is to have a wedding “do-over,” which, he said, “will have one special mother-son dance!”

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Family fundraising site: www.gofundme.com/hmvwpk

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Information from: Powell (Wyo.) Tribune, https://www.powelltribune.com


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