12/27/13 — Family counts blessings, gives thanks for support after a year of recovery

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Family counts blessings, gives thanks for support after a year of recovery

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 27, 2013 1:46 PM

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Floydie Harris, whose right leg was partially amputated after a Jan. 31 accident when a truck left the roadway and struck him while he was repairing a fence in his Dudley yard, has since undergone several surgeries and physical therapy to strengthen his other leg. He also hopes that by next summer he may have a prosthetic leg.

Christmas was a bit different this year for the Floydie Harris family.

This is the first holiday since the patriarch was struck down in his Dudley yard when a fully loaded semi truck left the roadway and struck him as he mended a fence. The Jan. 31 accident resulted in the partial amputation of his right leg, severe injuries to his other leg and coming upon a year's worth of doctor visits, physical therapy and efforts to get back on track.

But his presence with the family is what matters most, said Rhonda Harris, his wife of 27 years.

"We're doing pretty good," she said, reflecting on the journey that continues to unfold.

The doctor appointments are constant and additional surgeries, both for the severed leg and to strengthen the other leg, are all leading to one goal -- a prosthesis, Mrs. Harris said.

"By summer, we hope to have a leg and (he) may be walking on it," she said.

She is optimistic but guarded. She said there have been "setbacks" along the way, including a trip last week to Greenville for a procedure to remove a kidney stone.

At the same time, the path has been lined with blessings. Like when her husband, using a walker, was able to navigate "about 400 feet" during physical therapy, she said.

The number of physical therapy visits allowed by insurance have run out, Mrs. Harris said, but hopefully will start up again in the new year. He is fortunate, though, to have use of an electric wheelchair, donated by the man from whom they purchased a handicapped van.

"That has been a godsend," Mrs. Harris said. "It allows him a lot more freedom than a wheelchair."

Floydie is exhausted and weak at times, she admits, and as a registered nurse she is adept at being his caregiver. But it has required some lifestyle changes.

"I had to go back to work in July," she said. "I felt like my children could be allowed to help with him."

The former stay-at-home mom of four sons -- Floydie Jr. and Landon are both grown, while Troy is a junior at Faith Christian Academy and Carson is a fifth-grader there -- now works weekends at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

"I can be available for his doctor visits during the week and also the children's ballgames," she said of the schedule.

Eleven months ago, life definitely changed for the family, in every way except one. Their faith.

"As far as the financial, his parents are helping us with what they can or whatever. They certainly can't pay our bills," Mrs. Harris said.

There are still legalities to work out in the case against the company and the truck involved in the accident. But the family has been sustained by prayers and support from family, church and friends, Mrs. Harris said.

"When this first happened, certainly we were counting our blessings," she said. "I'm just so thankful the Lord doesn't allow all that grief to come up on you at one time."

The loss of her husband's limb, a halt to his livelihood and abrupt changes to their lives definitely could have challenged their faith, she said.

But during the holidays, she has focused on the more positive aspects.

"We're thankful he's (Floydie's) here with us. We're in constant awareness of how blessed we are. We're thankful every minute for every way God has blessed us."

Mrs. Harris chooses not to dwell on the negatives or to be brought down by the enormity of the situation.

"Things are easily on your mind and you wonder how you're going to get through the next few years. The human part of you wants to ask God to remove these obstacles from you," she said. "I know there's something that the Lord is trying to teach us.

"I'm just asking Him to give us the strength through the Holy Spirit to get through it. ... We definitely learned that His grace has been sufficient to meet every need."

Floydie, who had been a self-employed general contractor, has done "wonderfully" throughout, Mrs. Harris said.

"Spiritually and emotionally he's done exceptionally well," she said. "He wants to walk. He wants to get on with his life."

The couple remain steadfast in their belief that God is going to see them through whatever lies ahead. It's an important lesson not only for them as husband and wife, Mrs. Harris says, but as parents.

"The only way our children are ever going to be able to handle things in life (is) by seeing faith in action represented before them," she said.

As for Floydie, he said he is anxious to do the work necessary to get back on his feet.

"It's a great thing to be able to celebrate Christmas with my family again," he said. "It's been a tough year but God has seen us through. We look forward to the things that are coming as far as the prosthesis. We still have a lot of hard work (ahead).

"I know I can get through it. I'm looking forward to (seeing) what the new year holds."