Timothy Berty, of Pittsburgh, was setting up the firehouse where he volunteers in preparation for the 220-guest wedding reception when he found himself falling asleep on the floor and tables, according to South West News Service, a British news agency.
The next day, when their rehearsal was scheduled, Berty was talking “gibberish” to his fiancé Jessica, who said she was so preoccupied with the wedding she didn’t think much of his odd behavior, but called his mother to check on him while she was running errands with her own mother.
“Amy called me an hour later and told me that there was something wrong with Timothy and that we needed to take him to the hospital,” Jessica Berty told SWNS.
According to SWNS, the groom-to-be was airlifted to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a sinus infection that wasn’t draining due to his deviated septum. Berty said she was told his brain was swelling and at 6:30 a.m., on their scheduled wedding day, he was rushed into surgery to deal with an abscess.
“Honestly, I wasn’t really thinking about the wedding at this point,” she told SWNS. “It was more like, ‘How is this happening? We are supposed to be starting our lives and he could die.' It was scary and I cried a lot.”
Sinus infections afflict an estimated 31 million people in the United States each year, resulting in 16 million doctor visits, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Symptoms usually include headache, facial pain, runny nose and nasal congestion. In rare cases, if not treated, the infection can spread to the brain, which can be life-threatening. Patients with allergies, structural blockages in the nose or sinuses, or those with weakened immune systems may be at greater risk.
Doctors removed the left side of Timothy’s skull to relieve pressure and he was placed in a medically induced coma for two days. Meanwhile, the couple’s parents told the guests to go to the firehouse and enjoy the food and cake that had already been set up.
Timothy wound up spending 23 days in the hospital and was devastated to learn that the wedding hadn’t taken place, SWNS reported. When he woke from the coma, he reportedly told his fiance, "You, me, forever."
But rather than reschedule their big day, the couple got married at his bedside with the help of a friend who is an ordained minister.
He was discharged weeks later and in January underwent another surgery to have his skull restored. He’s continuing his recovery and the couple hopes “that the worst is over.”
“Our wedding was really just about us,” Jessica Berty said of their impromptu nuptials. “It wouldn’t have mattered if there were 220 guests or no guests.”