THE STEVE AND ROXANN REE STORY OF PERSEVERANCE
Imagine starting married life, attached to a respirator, paralyzed, and delirious with pain. That’s exactly how my wife began our life together, just a few weeks after our August 1st Wedding.
You never know what curve balls life may throw you.
College sweethearts, we were married in Jamestown, ND. surrounded by family and friends. We were excited to start our life together. Both young, 23 and 22, we enjoyed a weeklong honeymoon in northern Minnesota. Unortunatley we both got the flu towards the end of the week. This proved to be an illness that would forever change our lives,
Roxann started her second year of teaching at an Elementary school in Little Falls Mn. and I just started a career in sales. Coming home from my first day of training, she complained of tingling in her legs and arms. We decided she should stay home the next day and see a chiropractor.
That evening, she was getting out of our car when she fell. Not a good sign. The next day, the chiropractor adjusted her, saw there was more than just being out of adjustment, and suggested she go to the hospital immediately. Thats where she stayed for three and a half months.
The doctors were perplexed at first, thinking it was stress related or a virus. A neurologist had a hunch and spinal tap confirmed: Guillain Barre’ (Also known as French Polio).
This was not good news. Although rarely fatal, the disease paralyzes its victims to varying degrees over the course of a few days. For Roxann, it was total paralysis and she was placed on ventilator in intensive care. The machine breathed for her for 6 weeks. She could not move except her eyelids, her only form of communication. One blink for yes, two for no.
Because of her youth and overall good physical condition, the doctors assured me her chances of survival were excellent unless——she got pneumonia. Three weeks into her nightmare, pneumonia set in.
Few people with severe G. B. survive acute pneumonia.
Perseverance, prayer and God’s will kept her alive. A few weeks later they were able to take her off the vent. However, the ordeal was far from over, with one of the worst aspects yet to come.
Addiction. To alleviate the intense pain Roxann had been given high doses of painkillers. The time had come to detoxify Rox’s system. Imagine spiders crawling everywhere, nightmares and all kinds of wicked hallucinations. It was forty-eight hours of hell for both of us. I stayed with her in the hospital to help her through withdrawal.
December 31st was her last day in the hospital. Months of rehabilitation followed as she re-learned how walk, how to talk, even how to tie her own shoes. Roxann graduated from a wheelchair to a cane to finally walking on her own once again. By early summer she was mostly back to her same active self, anxious to go back to teaching in the fall.
Because I spent the first several months of 1982 helping Roxann rehabilitate, I had lots of time to think. Lots of time to dream. Lots of time to plan. My entrepreneurial spirit emerged.
Jennings Decoy Company was started with $500.00 and a dream. (Jennings is my middle name) With a business partner, the company became successful and very profitable, It also became a BRAND. A brand buyers sought out. With five divisions (5 income streams) a team of dedicated employees, and innovative products, Jennings flourished.
Adversity to Prosperity through Prayer and Perseverance. Never give up. Never quit.
You may have to change direction. There may be a bump in the road. Never give up.
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