Union County native Randy Travis had “flatlined” and his wife was told by doctors that she should “pull the plug.”
That’s how Travis and his wife, Mary, summed up the aftermath of a 2013 stroke he suffered in an article published Tuesday in the Nashville Tennessean.
Mary Travis said specialists believed her husband was suffering from an infection and had virtually no chance of surviving. Even if he did, they told her, he would likely be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
But last fall, Randy Travis made headlines when he walked on stage to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
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In his most in-depth interview since the stroke, Travis told the Tennessean that he nearly took his life because of the impact the stroke had on his body. His speech is halting, and he mostly maneuvers around his upscale Nashville condo via a wheelchair, the newspaper reported.
Asked if he’s happy, the Marshville-born singer paused for several seconds.
“Well … no,” he admitted, before another long pause. “Damaged.”
His wife is credited with defying doctors’ advice and fighting to keep her husband alive. She says that she believes he will sing again, but he isn’t so sure.
“There is a perfectionist in him that knows he’s not singing exactly like he used to that keeps him from enjoying it like I wish he would,” she said. “I know the world, when they hear him, they can tell it’s Randy Travis, and the more he does it, the better it’s going to get.”
Travis’s health troubles began on July 7, 2013, when he told his wife he was having trouble breathing. He was later diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a virus that settles in the heart. His heart had started to shut down, the Tennessean reported.
He spent nearly six months in hospitals in Texas and Tennessee, including six weeks in a coma, Mary Travis said. He had two brain surgeries, got pneumonia three times, was intubated seven times, had three tracheotomies and a feeding tube.
Travis can now walk, shower unassisted and get himself dressed. He told the Tennessean he remembers all of his song lyrics and can use his left hand to run the chords on his guitar neck. He’s still regaining use of his right arm and leg, the newspaper reported.
Randy Travis honed his music skills in local Charlotte nightclubs before moving to Nashville, where he became one of the biggest hit makers in country music. He still has many relatives living in the Marshville area of Union County.
What’s their five-year goal? “I think our goal for five years is to remain hopeful and keep our heads up high and not throw in the towel and be happy with wherever God has us,” Mary Travis said. “If it’s back up on that stage singing, hallelujah.”