Mark Greene-An Inspiration To Me
Four year old Mark Greene never cried about going to the sitters until that day in 1978. His Mom remembers him crying and saying he did not want to go, but she had to work. The next time she saw him she did not recognize him.
He was at the sitter's home in the front yard near the sidewalk riding an Evel Kneivel big wheel when a drunk driver hit him. The impact threw him over the car and he landed on his head causing a closed head injury. This happened in Union, S. C. and he was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Spartenburg as soon as they had him stabalized. He would be in a coma for four months.
A shunt was implanted in his brain to relieve the pressure and the neurosurgeon told Mark's mom that she should pray that he did not survive. He said that Mark would be a vegetable if he came around at all. Helen stayed at the hospital for the next four months and she prayed, a lot. But she never believed that Mark's life was over.
Mark's twin brothers were roughly nine when the accident happened. They visited often and recorded cassette tapes their Mom played for Mark when they were not there. They read stories to him and sang and we still have the tapes.
Mark's family and pretty much everyone in Union was puling for him but two people stand out in this story. Jack and Birdie Bates were constant, loving, and supportive friends during this ordeal and remained close as long as they lived.
When Mark finally left the hospital he was basically a baby again. He had to wear diapers, eat baby food, could not speak and had very little control over his arms and legs. Four years passed and the family moved to Lancaster because Mark's father took a job here.
I fell for Helen, that marriage ended, and we were married the day after the divorce was final.
When I first became involved with Mark, I was amazed. I still am. He had trouble communicating and would basically crawl to his closet and take out every single toy and show it to me. He would wait for me to make some comment and then put the toy aside and go to the next one. He would do this for hours, pulling them all out, putting them back and then pulling them out again. He was driven to communicate and did it in the only way he could.
Mark went to a school that had been designated for "special" students. During most of his time at this school he had the same teacher. Mrs. Hinson was wonderful and helped Mark learn to read, do simple math, etc.
He was tested often during these school years and reads on a fifth or sixth grade level. But he comprehends so much more than that. One guy who tested Mark told us that he would never be able to remember three numbers in sequence. Mark can tell you his address, his phone number and I often ask him the year and date of his birth at the doctor's office and he always gets it right!
Mark was the first student to be mainstreamed at the local high school. Everyone knows that kids can be ruthless and cruel but Mark's experience at Lancaster High School was terrific. The kids treated him well and he was accepted. His last year was sort of a bummer for him because his class was mixed with some troubled kids. Mark loves to learn and could not understand how some kids could misbehave.
I made a slideshow of some of the pictures of Mark for this Hub. I added a song that was written by Beau Beaumont who is a local artist that went to church with us. Mark loves music and we took him often to see Beau preform. The first time Beau sang the song in public was one Sunday at church. There wasn't a dry eye in the place.
"An Inspiration To Me"
Mark is an inspiration. He goes to physical therapy twice a week at USC-Lancaster. He reads. He listens to music. He sings karoke because he likes it and to help his speech. He walks on a treadmill in the basement with supervision. He plays blackjack on his computer. He builds cabins with his Lincon logs. He loves his cousins and spending time with them. He puts puzzles togather. His favorite show on TV is Smallville and we watch it every week. He is a huge Carolina Panthers fan.
Mark loves his life. He thanks me for every cup for tea, every bowl of cereal, and every time I help him get cleaned up and ready for his day he calls me back to his room to say thank you.
I have seen him morose exactly once. Mark likes to go to the mall and a few years ago we were there watching people from the second floor. He turned to me with tears welled up and asked if I thought he would ever learn to walk. I didn't know the answer to that question. Still don't, but I do know that he has been told "no" often in his life and has always proved people wrong. That is probably why he is an inspiration.
I wrote this in 2010 and yesterday (5-19-13) Mark got a surprise. Jana Mashonee made him her "Fan Of The Week" and he didn't have a clue it was happening! He was tickled! I took him to see Jana last year in Pembroke, NC and he got to meet her and have this photo made. If you're new to Jana Mashonee's music below the photo are a couple of links to hubs I've written about her.