T. Scott Marr has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.
As he prepared to host Thanksgiving dinner, the former Creighton radio announcer was thinking about the family and friends who helped him through a major medical scare.
Last December, Marr’s son found him at home, unresponsive but breathing. Doctors initially said scans appeared to show signs of a severe stroke. Marr, who spent about 16 years calling Creighton men’s basketball games, was nearly brain-dead.
Before his family made funeral arrangements, they wanted one last visit with Marr. When they went into his hospital room, they were surprised to find that he was responsive. He smiled, wiggled his toes, moved his thumbs. Marr had woken up.
Doctors diagnosed the Omaha man with posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, or PRES. He spent weeks in the hospital being monitored and going to therapy sessions.
Without his family and friends, Marr told The World-Herald, “I would not be here today. From day one, when I became unconscious, until today, without their support, their help, their encouragement, I would not be here. That’s what I’m thankful for. They protected me. They supported me. What more could you ask?”
When he left the hospital in early January, he had to be supervised at all times, daughter Preston Marr said.
He couldn’t drive while he recovered, so friends and family ferried him to doctors’ appointments and on outings. He spent time in outpatient physical therapy and speech therapy.
Marr, 61, was monitored for his cognitive abilities. Could he add numbers? Could he remember a sequence? He worked on his balance and walking, too.
“It was normal, everyday things that you take for granted,” Marr said. “I’m very lucky. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, quite frankly.”
Marr said he wanted to rush through the recovery process, but he learned to take his time.
It was challenging for his kids, too.
Preston Marr said she and siblings Drew, Lauren and Ryan were overprotective and worried about losing their dad.
“He’s our caregiver, and we kind of had to switch,” she said. “We were his (caregivers).”
The time in the hospital and recovery was a blur, Drew said. But each time he sees his dad, he sees improvement in his condition, like balance and walking.
“It was a whirlwind,” Preston Marr said. “He’s 100% now.”
Marr said doctors told him the incident was caused by hypertension. Now he regularly checks his blood pressure and takes medication to control it. Otherwise, he said, he’s pretty healthy.
He’s back to work as an independent asphalt contractor and has been planning vacations with family. He’s stayed in touch with his friends from Creighton and landed tickets to a Jays game. Oh, and he plans on teaching grandson Josiah, 18 months, how to shoot hoops down the road.
“I’m blessed. I’m lucky. I’m thankful for every day I get now,” Marr said. “What I really want to do is make everybody understand that they also need to appreciate each day and make the most of it.”