Injured sheriff's deputy Nick Tullier is learning to live again
HOUSTON – The days are long and the improvements are coming slowly, but there's never a lack of hope and thankfulness among family and medical staff working with injured sheriff's deputy Nick Tullier.
“You can see there are miracles happening here,” Tullier's father, James, told WBRZ's affiliate in Texas recently.
Deputy Tullier was shot and injured in the ambush in July on Airline Highway. He spent months hospitalized in Baton Rouge before moving to The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) at Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston's Texas Medical Center.
“I knew (when seeing his improvements), I picked the right place," James Tullier told the area's ABC affiliate, KTRK.
On the day the Tulliers allowed a reporter to visit, Nick Tullier was taking short, grueling steps down the length of a small gymnasium. His body was suspended in a swing attached to the ceiling to help support his weight.
"Are there angels about?" his father asked surrounded by all the shipment. "Oh yeah, definitely," he answered himself.
Medical staff are working with Deputy Tullier, where he nods to answer questions and does some limited vocalization.
KTRK reported, the work is painstaking and there have been infections and other setbacks. Tullier's communication is limited to "yes" or "no" answers, indicated with a slight head nod up and down or a small head shake to the right.
"For him to do a very simple action would be like you or I having a one hour workout at a gym, just for him to reach over two or three times and grab something," said Dr. Sunil Kothari, Medical Director of the Disorders of Consciousness Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann.
Family members – his dad, mother and fiance Danielle – spend as much time as they can with Deputy Tuillier.
His doctors don't know how fully he will recover.
"What we do know is that he can understand us, he can see, he can read, he's able to recall things shortly after telling him," said Katherine O'Brien, Tullier's Clinical Neuropsychologist. "We're still in the process of assessing all the things he can do.”
Still, the Tulliers are keeping the faith.
"He's been given every roadblock possible and he has passed every roadblock possible, so we don't know an end point," James Tullier said.
"It's between Nick and God."
KTRK chronicled a day in Tullier's recovery. You can click HERE to read the report.
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