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Stories That Move You.

by Jessica Sikkenga

Mary Free Bed patient, Rick Sikkenga, with his therapists Glenn and Sally

Mary Free Bed patient, Rick Sikkenga, with his therapists Glenn and Sally

It’s been two years since my Dad, then 53 years old, suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm.

The amazing neurosurgeons at Spectrum Health performed a lengthy brain surgery on September 27, 2008, to place a clip on my Dad’s aneurysm. My family and I spent the two weeks following surgery by my Dad’s hospital bed while he remained heavily sedated, suffered from vasospasms, and had a stroke that severely affected his right side.

After weeks in ICU, Spectrum staff felt it was time for my Dad to begin the long road to recovery. The doctors and nurses at Spectrum made no promises, but spoke very highly and confidently of what the staff at Mary Free Bed was capable of. They reassured us that sending my Dad (husband/son/brother/friend) to Mary Free Bed was our best choice.

When my Dad entered Mary Free Bed he could not communicate clearly, feed himself, walk, or use his right side at all. Our family and friends remained optimistic, but very scared of what the future held.

The staff at Mary Free Bed immediately embraced my Dad and reassured us that they would do everything they could to rehabilitate my Dad and get him home. Four weeks after entering Mary Free Bed, my Dad walked out with a cane (that he immediately got rid of when he got home) and a smile on his face.

The staff at Mary Free Bed truly gave my Dad his life back – today he is the laughing, talking, walking man that we have always known!

A dream come true: Jessica Sikkenga walks down the aisle with her dad, Rick

A dream come true: Jessica Sikkenga walks down the aisle with her dad, Rick

On August 7, 2010 my father, Rick Sikkenga, was able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding.

September 26, 2008 changed my family’s life forever. At times, we were all very uncertain of what the future may or may not hold, but thanks to the medical teams at Northern Lights Family Medicine, Spectrum Health (ICU), and Mary Free Bed, my Dad and I were able to live my dream of having him walk me down the aisle.

I look forward to what the future holds. Again, I cannot tell you how thankful and grateful my family and I are for not only saving my Dad’s life, but giving him his life back.

Blog manager’s note: Thanks to Jessica for sharing this story! If you have a Mary Free Bed story to tell, please contact me at 616.242.9272 or via email at Sandra.Mitchell@MaryFreeBed.com. Don’t worry if you’re not a writer, I can help you write the story – or you can tell your story on video!



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