Hayden’s Huyser on road to recovery | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden’s Huyser on road to recovery

Recovery slow for 20-year-old after brain disease

Zach Fridell

Hayden resident Clayton Huyser smells flowers given to him by his grandmother, Katy Archer, and his mother, Kristy Stinnett, as he lays in bed at St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver.

— Spirits were high and doctors were hopeful the day Clayton Huyser was supposed to be released from Denver hospitals to move to a rehabilitation facility at Craig Hospital in Englewood.

But Huyser and his mother’s hopes were crushed as one doctor, the neurosurgeon, decided at the last minute that he should undergo one more additional MRI before doctors cleared him of major complications from a rare brain disease that struck him Jan. 29.

It appeared the fluid building up in Huyser’s spinal column had backed up, putting pressure on his brain.

Since that day at the end of March, Huyser, 20, has undergone three major surgeries. The most recent was the reattachment of a piece of bone that had been removed from his head to allow doctors easy access throughout the process.

Huyser’s rehabilitation has taken big strides in recent weeks, his mother Kristy Stinnett said.

“This was the first day he could actually sit on the side of the bed and hold himself up. They were, of course, bracing him : but it’s almost like now that the bone flap was put back on, things are definitely improving,” she said. “It’s been a snail’s pace for so long.”

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Huyser’s girlfriend, Darcy Wisecup, said the progress was dramatic compared to the slow steps Huyser had taken before.

“(Thursday) was amazing. He sat up on his own. : He could hold himself up, he could move his head around, and he was talking like crazy to me and Mike (Huyser, Clayton’s father),” she said. “He started crying, saying, ‘This feels so good.’ Even the physical therapist cried, she was so happy.”

Huyser’s speech still is hindered by a tracheotomy tube inserted in his throat to allow him to breathe, but Wisecup said she still can understand him as he whispers his words. The next surgery, with a throat specialist, will attempt to repair the scar damage caused by nearly five months of having the tube in his throat.

That also will allow Huyser to eat solid food for the first time. Stinnett said she plans to get her son a large combination pizza all for himself to make up for lost meals.

Stinnett said she hopes to try the move to a rehabilitation center again after the next surgery.

“I don’t think he was ready for rehab a month ago,” she said.

Huyser not only will have to rebuild muscle mass and coordination, but he’ll also undergo mental rehabilitation as he attempts to rebuild his short-term memory. Stinnett said his long-term memory appears to be intact but that he often forgets things in the short-term. Doctors told Stinnett it may take as long as a year from the time he was stricken to rebuild the memory skill.

Wisecup, who often spends weekends at the hospital, said the compassion from fellow Hayden residents and friends has touched Huyser.

“He gets so emotional whenever I tell him someone loves him or misses him,” she said. “He’s so happy everyone cares.”

How to help

Donations to help pay Huyser’s medical bills can be made at any branch of the First National Bank of the Rockies or at donation boxes in Planet Powersports.

On the ‘Net

Clayton Huyser’s mother, Kristy Stinnett, created a Web site with a frequently updated blog to allow friends and family to follow Huyser’s progress. Visit CarePages.com and complete the free registration to visit Clayton’s page. Once registered, go to http://www.carepages.com/carepages/ClaytonsAngels

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