Outpouring of support from community provides lift to family
Blake Muller’s recovery is a day by day process, something Priscilla Thibodeaux-Horn has had to learn to accept — difficult as it may be.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said the mother from Luling. “The doctors have told me that from day one, and I’m starting to see it … as a mother, you just want it to be all good, good, good, but it’s a process.”
Muller, also of Luling and who works in St. Charles Parish as an environmental inspector, suffered significant injuries when he was involved in an accident while traveling with fellow motorcyclists in Oklahoma.
“He missed a curve … it was nobody’s fault, just an unfamiliar landscape,” Horn said.
The bike fell on top of him, causing the most serious of his injuries, including severed and fractured vertebrae, broken ribs and a severe concussion.
Horn traveled to Fayetteville, Ark. to be with her son, who underwent treatment at Washington Regional Hospital where he required intensive care.
“They saved his life,” Horn said. “When he arrived, he wasn’t expected to make it.”
He’s undergone back surgery to repair his spine, and has had screws placed into his back to stabilize him. He’s had movement in his legs and suffered no sever to his spinal cord, positive for his outlook. Also, though he did suffer a severe concussion and the trauma that comes with that, he did not endure a coma or have injury necessitating brain surgery.
She called Muller a fighter who is staying positive, though she admits some days, of course, are better than others.
“Some days he isn’t as engaged, some days he is. It’s to be expected after the concussion,” Horn said. “Every day we see progress, though. Sometimes it may seem minute, probably, to some people, but they’re all very significant steps in the process.”
Their stay would last approximately a month before he was transported back to Touro Infirmary Hospital in New Orleans. While in Fayetteville, Horn said the people there earned a place in her heart forever.
“The random strangers who opened their homes to us … our friends, our family. (Washington Hospital) was just amazing. Fayetteville, everyone … those people are amazing,” she said.
Muller has also touched the lives of others. Donations to a GoFundMe page (titled “Help Blake with medical expenses”), a Venmo account and another account at First National Bank USA in Boutte (donations can be made at the bank by those requesting funds be directed to the Blake Muller account) have shown strong support for Muller, who also worked as a DJ on weekends. Those proceeds are going toward his medical expenses, including his transport home. His weekend co-workers also started a collection for his wife, who has taken on the responsibility of earning income as Muller recuperates.
“His wife has been working so much to ensure they don’t lose their home … it’s been hard on her,” Horn said.
While it’s hard, Horn believes her son is still alive due to nothing short of a miracle. A woman of deep faith, she said trying to maintain that connection between her children and their faith has always been a priority for her.
To that end, a small gesture goes a long way in this trying time for the family. She recounted how, before the accident, she had given her son a magnet with The Divine Mercy imagery and prayer to put on the refrigerator.
After his accident, she learned he had carried the magnet — and the prayer — along with him in his saddle bag.
“There’s no doubt in my mind … it was a miracle in itself that he had it with him. Ever since the day of the accident, that picture of Divine Mercy has been popping up over and over again in my mind,” she said.
Horn continued that theme of faith when speaking of her belief that Muller will make a full recovery – “by the grace of God, he’ll return soon,” she said.
But for a mother, the knowledge of a child in pain is a heavy burden to bear in itself. Others know it. That’s why Horn, a longtime employee of the St. Charles school system who retired last year after more than 33 years, recently received visitors of her own — and hands full of cards offering support — from her former coworkers at the School Board office.
“Oh my gosh, the outpouring of concern … they’re my family. They still continue to be my family,” Horn said tearfully. “I’m so forever grateful to this community. I’m so touched by it all. I wish I could thank everyone.”