By Trinity Martin
Dillon Lewis, 27, is returning home after a three-year recovery from a horrific wreck he experienced when he was just 24-years-old. Lewis, who is from Madison, will finally be reunited with his family full-time. To celebrate, his family is hosting a “drive-by” parade in his honor on Friday, August 28 outside the Wesley Building of Madison First United Methodist Church in Madison from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For the last three years, Lewis has navigated a difficult road, living in different rehabilitation centers, after suffering severe injuries from a car wreck in Madison.
On July 9th of 2017, Lewis was driving along the bypass when a tractor trailer ran a red light and t-boned him. Lewis’ truck flipped, and he had to be life-flighted to Atlanta Medical Center. Although he had no external injuries except for a few scratches, he was in a coma and had internal bleeding and was rushed into an emergency surgery where doctors discovered he would need his spleen to be removed.
“I went back with the surgeon to see Dillon after surgery and as we viewed him, he had no external injuries except for some small scratches on his knuckles and another small cut on his neck. Otherwise he looked perfectly okay.” Laurie Lewis, Lewis’ mother said.
But, Dillion’s case was more than a few scratches. Doctors believed Lewis wouldn’t survive with the amount of internal trauma he incurred.
“It was a wait and see for weeks as I sat by his bedside in the ICU and read to him and sang hymns and prayed and talked with him and God and tried to spend time with friends and family who came to visit.” Laurie Lewis said.
After spending weeks in ICU, Dillion slowly started to show signs of waking up.
“I thought I was delusional as one night I thought I saw Dillon’s eyelashes move. I waited until the next morning and the nurse who had become my steadying influence from the beginning was attending Dillon and she saw them move too. She started crying and picked me up off the ground in a hug as she said, ‘He’s in there and fighting. We have something to work with now!’” said Laurie Lewis.
Dillon Lewis was able to slowly wake up in the next weeks, and machines were removed from him as his body became more dependable. Afterwards he underwent an MRI scan, where a torn aorta was caught and had to be surgically corrected. Lewis then stayed in the ICU for two more weeks before transferring to Southern Crescent in McDonough, totalling 40 days in ICU. Although he was unstable and had an infection when he arrived, doctors removed his trach and he was able to recover and start eating after seven months on a feeding tube.
“That was a happy day when I got to see him enjoy food again” Laurie Lewis said.
Dillon Lewis went on to spend months at Southern Crescent, receiving visitors almost everyday.
“Dillon’s grandparents and friends were weekly guests at the center. They made his days there tolerable as he worked on gaining his strength back. His grandparents brought their dog Buddy to see Dillon when they came and they visited so regularly that the ice cream shop around the corner knew their order and had it and Buddy’s favorite flavors waiting on them when they stopped by on their way back to Macon. His friends would borrow their grandmother’s car on their only day off in the week and trek to see Dillon,” Laurie Lewis said.
Although, the times still presented hardship. Dillon Lewis developed a disorder which made him aggressive and his speech repetitive, affecting his therapy. But, Lewis’ family found a program called “Restore” that would help him communicate, and find his voice.
“It is still a work in progress but that first breathy “I Love You, Mom” had the whole staff in tears as I was so overwhelmed.,” said Laurie Lewis.
After spending a year and a half there, Lewis has rehabilitated enough to return home. “We have retrofitted the main house of a farm we bought in Watkinsville to accommodate him. We are building him a separate home attached by a breezeway that is 100 percent wheelchair accessible” Laurie Lewis said.
Dillon Lewis’ family can not wait for his return, especially after having limited communication with him due to Covid-19 restrictions. To celebrate his homecoming, join the family for a special parade outside of the Madison First Methodist Church, from 6 p.m to 8 p.m. on August 28. Folks are asked to decorate their car or bring a card to welcome Dillon Lewis home.