Wife Fought to Keep Accident Victim Alive

IMG_2139Mark Jones adored his wife Lisa before she saved his life. Now his gratitude is unbounded.

“She is the only reason I’m alive today,” he told Lantana Living.

Lisa credits faith in God and support from neighbors for giving her the strength and confidence that she was making the right choices when medical teams were ready to pull the plug on extensive life-saving efforts required to keep Mark breathing after a motorcycle accident left him broken and bleeding on Feb. 8 of this year. Mark’s amazing recovery now has him back home in Lantana, regaining strength and communications skills, grateful for his life and his wife’s undying love. He was finally able to come home on Sept. 11.

The Jones family, created by the second marriage for each in November 2013, moved to Lantana in August 2014. Though Mark and Lisa had not yet joined Valley Creek Church, they were regular visitors for several months. On the Sunday morning of the motorcycle accident Mark had attended Valley Creek Church in Flower Mound. He told neighbors that day he had found the message especially uplifting and felt like he was “filled up with the Word” and that for some reason he felt he had needed to be filled. He came home wearing a band on his wrist with the word “Awaken.”

At the time Mark was merely a friendly acquaintance with a neighbor couple – Janyell Koren and Vince Palmby – who also were new to the area and looking for a church. Events that happened later that day have drawn the families close together.

Today Janyell and Vince belong to Valley Creek Church and lead a small group that Mark and Lisa attend. The couple visited Mark every Sunday during the weeks he was recovering.

Twenty minutes after the conversations, Mark took off to ride his Harley on one last excursion before getting the motorcycle ready for sale. The afternoon was sunny and warm for February, but neither Lisa nor Mark’s stepdaughters Emma Spurlock, 11, or Sophie Spurlock, 12, were up for a ride. However the girls needed a sports jersey and Mark thought maybe something appropriate would be for sale at the Roanoke Albertson’s. From the supermarket he called Lisa and discussed options, then headed homeward.

Just a few minutes after he left the store, Lisa got a call from Mark’s cell phone, but it wasn’t Mark’s voice. The man on the phone let her know Mark had been in an accident, his motorcycle colliding with a car entering Highway 377 from a side road. Lisa rushed to the scene and arrived before air ambulance left to take him to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth for trauma treatment.

Suffering severe head trauma, broken ribs, a collapsed lung and most seriously, a crushed pelvis, Mark was thankfully mostly unconscious for the next days and weeks. Unable to locate the source of internal bleeding, emergency room personnel cut into Mark’s abdomen for an unobstructed view of is major organs. Determining the source of bleeding was his pelvis, they closed some arteries, explaining that needed blood could be routed to the pelvis from other sources. The resulting blood deprivation later resulted in large open wounds that wouldn’t heal.

The message from doctors was far from encouraging. Lisa was repeatedly told what a daunting recovery Mark would face and was offered the chance to pull the plug on heroic lifesaving efforts. Unwilling to make that choice alone she read her Bible and prayed for guidance. When her doubts were strongest, messages that Mark should live came through clearly.

“My prayer would be: ‘God what do you want for his life? I can’t make that decision,’ ” she said. “Every time I prayed that I would get a sign.”

The first time she prayed it was after a long difficult day. When she returned, Mark was the sickest he had been, suffering from infections so severe a sour smell permeated the room. As was her habit, Lisa would massage his face and hands but detected no voluntary movements. Finally, just before 4 p.m. when she would have to leave the ICU, she grabbed his hand and asked repeatedly, “Can you squeeze my hand.” She thought she felt effort. Then, just as she started to let go she felt a strong squeeze. “I nearly peed my pants,” she said with a laugh. Now she had the confidence that God wanted her to keep fighting for her husband.

While Lisa had certainty, medical officials had doubts. One night she stayed at the hospital because ice storms made travel home to Lantana unsafe and because of repeated questions about her understanding about what a difficult recovery Mark faced. She wondered if God had changed His plans so she prayed the prayer again. She stayed with Mark until 6 a.m. and left during the two hours the ICU is closed to family. When a nurse let her back into the hospital at 8 a.m. Lisa asked “how is he doing?” The nurse said “He’s sitting up in bed watching TV.” Lisa was amazed. Mark’s eyes were open and he was looking at the television. He still couldn’t yet speak nor do other things the doctors wanted to see, but Lisa never again doubted God wanted Mark to live.

Mark still faces more surgeries. A small gold plate in his eyelid that was put there so an eye would close has to be removed. Other challenges are removal of a colostomy bag and improved feeling in his right leg. Lisa said that for much of his recovery Mark has been unable to feel his right side, but now feeling has returned to about the ankle. He needs feeling in his feet to get around safely without a walker or wheelchair.

The Lantana community and family provided amazing support. Lisa’s hairstylist, Gina Wilson, a Lantana resident who works at Sola in Highland Village, was especially helpful, organizing meals and gift cards. Neighbors in Lantana came by and prayed.

“Everything was appreciated and it all was helpful,” said Lisa.

Lisa said she was told by one of Mark’s high school classmates that Mark always had excelled at everything, Lisa and therapists still marvel as Mark works tirelessly to regain his mobility and speaking skills. Formerly a sales manager in the grocery business, Lisa described Mark as a man with a golden tongue. Her expectation is that God will restore that eloquence so Mark can give Him glory. Already Mark is expressing his gratitude to God, his wife and his neighbors, Janyell and Vince, who visited him and prayed every Sunday since his accident.

The family faces some financial challenges since medical expenses long ago exhausted the liability limits of the driver whose vehicle struck Mark’s Harley. Together Mark and Lisa look forward with hope, joy and confidence they are where God wants them to be.

By Eric Williams

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