Randy Travis may have survived a near-fatal stroke, but the beloved country music singer isn't celebrating.
The 57-year-old told The Tennessean, in his most in-depth interview since the 2013 health scare, that his speech is halting and he mostly gets around his Nashville condo by using a wheelchair.
When asked whether he was happy, Travis paused for several seconds before answering, "Well…no." After another long pause, he admitted, "Damaged."
Travis is still working on regaining his conversation skills and he can sing a few songs.
"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,” explained his wife, Mary Travis. “I know the world when they hear him, they can tell its Randy Travis, and the more he does it, the better it’s going to get."
On July 4, 2013, Travis spent his usual three to four hours working out in his gym. On July 5, he sat through an all-day business meeting. The following day, he complained of congestion in his airways and went to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. Then on July 7, Travis complained to his wife that he couldn’t breathe.
When she took him to the hospital, both his lungs were filled with fluid. Travis was then transferred to a larger hospital, where the singer flatlined. It took doctors nearly four minutes to revive him. On July 8, he was put on life support.
At The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, Dr. Michael Mack diagnosed Travis with viral cardiomyopathy, a virus that settles in the heart. However, it wasn’t until he came out of a coma 48 hours later that doctors realized he had suffered a stroke, which required surgery. Travis had only a 1 to 2 percent chance of living.
“At this point, the 1 to 2 percent chance is 100 percent chance over zero,” explained Mary. “I prayed hard, ‘God please let me have him back, any way, shape or form.’”
After surgery, Travis spent six months in hospitals between Texas and Tennessee, where he fought for survival. Mary credits faith and Travis' love for music for pushing them forward.
“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,” said Mary. “If it’s back up on that stage singing, hallelujah.”