This Christmas will be a special one for the Moss family of Chelsea.

Teresa Moss always knew her husband had a risky job working as a lineman for REC-Northeast Oklahoma Electric. But it wasn’t until the evening of Dec. 11 that she realized the consequences of the risk.

“I got a call around 6:30 that night saying Jerry was hurt,” Teresa said. “I had just gotten home with the kids when I got the call. Then an REC employee came and picked me up and took me to Pryor.”

With no cellular phone service in the Chelsea area because of power outages, Teresa said it was “just luck” that she was home at the time of the call.

When Teresa arrived at Mayes County Medical Center, she was told what she had always feared.

“They took me in a room and told me if Jerry had any family members there that they needed to come in and see him,” she said. “That was very scary.”

What Teresa learned in the next few minutes was that Jerry had been seriously injured and doctors did not know what the outcome would be.

According to Teresa, Jerry was hoisted up in a bucket to a power line and became pinned at the neck between the bucket and the line where the tension was the greatest. The line had to be cut before Jerry could be rescued.

“He was strangled,” Teresa said. “It took them a few minutes to get him down, and they said he was dead for about four minutes.”

Jerry had to be resuscitated and was taken to the hospital in Pryor. He was then taken by ambulance to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa where he remained for eight days, some of those in the Intensive Care Unit.

During that time, Teresa said several things occurred that changed her family’s life forever.

“It was bad. The doctors told me they had put him in a drug-induced coma and paralyzed him and that they were planning on bringing him out of it in a few weeks,” she said. “They also told me that once he woke up, he may not be able to recognize me or the kids or anyone, and that he might not be able to walk or talk.” Jerry received several medications, according to Teresa, and was breathing through a ventilator because his throat had collapsed.

Telling the couple’s children, Andrew, 11, Katlin, 9 and Mason, 4, was a difficult thing for Teresa. She softened the blow for the two younger children, but told Andrew exactly what had happened and what the doctors had said.

“I told each of them in a way I thought they could handle it,” she said. “I told Andrew everything because I knew he could understand. Then I told Katlin and Mason in a softer way and Katlin took it the hardest.”

Miraculously, Jerry woke from the coma on his own and tried to speak.

“He kept trying to talk with the ventilator down his throat, but he couldn’t,” Teresa said. “I was in his room with some of his family members and he started pointing at the wall.”

Teresa figured out that he wanted to write something. He was pointing at the marker board hanging on the wall.

With marker in hand, Jerry wrote the letter “I” followed by a heart and then pointed toward his family.

“Then he grabbed my hand,” Teresa said. “I told everyone it was for all of us. My world lifted right then.”

Even though Jerry was out of the coma, doctors told Teresa and her family it could be sometime in February before he would be home again because of necessary therapy and recuperation. Still not knowing what to expect, things got better and better for the Mosses as the days in the hospital went by.

Jerry was taken off the ventilator after four days and eventually, he walked. He also recognized everyone and even thought about his job.

“He was persistent about everything,” Teresa said. “He even said, ‘I’m on call on the 24th.’ I told him he probably wouldn’t be going back to work and he told me he couldn’t wait to go back to work. He loves his job.”

Prayers, friends and family support have kept Teresa and the Moss family in high hopes during Jerry’s hospital stay. Teresa said her view on life has changed.

Teresa and Jerry have always been involved with the youth in the Chelsea community, including volunteering as board members with the Chelsea Summer League last year and coaching a Chelsea Summer League baseball team. And their children are involved in sports and other activities as well. But Teresa said the rushed pace of life for her family will be a lot slower now.

“My priorities have definitely changed,” she said. “This taught me to slow down and enjoy what I’ve got.”

Jerry was released from the hospital Wednesday and is now home recovering. He doesn’t remember a lot about the accident or what transpired at the hospital. Teresa said he will need a lot of therapy because he cannot move his left arm, but he can move his left hand. Nonetheless, the family is happy that Jerry will be alright, including Jerry.

“I’m glad to be home,” he said.



Contact Krystal J. Carman at 341-1101, ext. 242, or e-mail newsed@swbell.net.