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Daryl Ruesch recovering at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital

January 10, 2013

By Norma Dittman
Daryl Ruesch, 58, a former Fulda resident, was severely injured during a hit and run accident that occurred on November 21st. He suffered major brain trauma and has been working toward recovery at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln, NE.

Ruesch and his wife, Cathy, are residents of Hasting, NE. He was on his way to work when the accident took place. He was riding a motorcycle and wearing a full face helmet that he had just received for November 5th birthday.

Ruesch was taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital , Kearney, NE, where examinations and testing indicated that the left side of his brain was badly bruised and he was experiencing brain bleeds and swelling. His skull was fractured as well as two ribs.

To help reduce the swelling and fluid build-up on his brain, Ruesch’s doctors inserted a neuro bolt into his skull that reached to his brain. They also placed him into an induced coma to allow his brain to rest as much as possible.

With his family beside him, (Daryl and Cathy have three daughters: Sarah, Sandra and Selina) Ruesch has experienced some progress as well as some set-backs. His recovery journey has been detailed on He has experienced the start of a bowel obstruaction that medical staff quickly rectified, as well as difficulties with his lungs due to his aspirating chewing tobacco at the time of the accident. The formation of a blood clot required the insertion of filter within a large vein to block the clot from traveling through his body.

One week after the accident, his Caringbridge site stated, “Praise Jesus!! Dad tried to cough which is a sign that he may be coming out of the coma soon!!!

His lower leg is looking much better. His upper leg is still very swollen and inflamed, so they are keeping it elevated and watching it.

His lungs are holding their own. They are watching his pneumonia to make sure it doesn't get worse.

We are celebrating every small victory along the way. Thanks SO much for all the support. We believe in the power of prayer!!”

“Daryl has been put on a number of prayer chains. We are so grateful for all of the prayers and support from eyereone. They have been a great blessing,” Cathy stated on Monday morning.

On December 3rd, the doctors put in place both a tracheotomy and a feeding tube. They began the process of reducing sedation medication so that Daryl would be more alert.

The day that the family had been waiting for came on December 5th when Daryl opened his eyes and moved about both of his arms.

He was transported to the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln, Nebraska, on Monday, December 10th. Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital has twenty-two brain trauma unit.

Daryl is a long-time fan of country music. On December 16th, the Caringbridge journal post read, “Dad continues to respond to music. He specifically likes country western favorites like Hank Jr., Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash. He likes tv show theme song favorites also like Star Trek and Dukes of Hazzard.”

Visits from family have been very important and grandchildren visits prove to bring about many benefits.

“We have been celebrating the small victories. Each time some a small accomplishment is made, it is another sign of healing,” Cathy stated. “When we first arrived here at Madonna Rehabiitation Hospital, they asked me what my goal was for Daryl. My response was, ‘A miracle.’ We are taking the good with the not-so-good.”

Christmas for the Ruesch family was celebrated by singing carols around the piano at the hospital. The family noticed that Daryl’s eyes were wide open and he was able to move his left arm quite a bit as well as moving his right arm and leg some. They were excited when he grabbed daughter Sarah’s hand and brought it to his mouth like he was kissing her hand!

Daryl’s rehabilitation includes many types of therapies. On Monday, Cathy said that Daryl was able to eat applesauce and mashed potatoes. “Even though he is not yet talking, he is more alert and more responsive. On January 10th we will have been at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital for one month. Daryl has a tracheotomy and a neck brace that the doctors tell me he will be wearing for up to three months. His right arm is getting more and more movement. It all means that the brain is continuing to heal,” Cathy explained.

Cathy, who is a nurse at the Mary Lanning Hospital, Hastings, NE, is currently taking a family medical leave from her job. She said that she will need to report back to work on February 18th.

“We are very grateful for the support that comes to us through visits and through Daryl’s Caringbridge site,” Cathy commented. “The entries help to keep us encouraged and it is the best way for people to contact us. We read the posts and are thankful that we have such caring family and friends.

To visit Daryl and his family through the Caringbridge site, enter and enter Daryl Ruesch in the box that asks who would like to visit.

Cards can be set to Daryl at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, 5401 S. Street, Lincoln, NE, 68506, Attention: Daryl Ruesch.

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