In the last month, Bowman’s daughter, Emily, has made the latest of many recent strides in her recovery from the February 2013 hit-and-run that left the 20-year-old Woodstock resident with severe brain injuries and in a wheelchair.
Now, the former Kennesaw State University student can speak, stand, read, write and answer basic math problems. All this for the young woman who was in a coma for weeks after the accident in Athens and, doctors said, wouldn’t likely survive.
“She’s doing excellent,” Debbie said Friday.
Though Emily still needs constant help from Debbie and her father, Dale, for a long time they didn’t know if the milestones would ever be possible. So they’re doing their best to preserve the moments.
Last month, Debbie posted a video of Emily speaking a few of her first words on a Facebook page dedicated to chronicling her recovery, “Bows for Bowman.”
“Can you say ‘Hi,’ for me?” Debbie asks Emily in the video.
The 20-year-old, lying in her home hospital bed and wearing a slight smile, replies, “Hi.”
Debbie continues to encourage Emily to speak and has her say names of friends and family members.
“How excited are you to be talking now, pretty girl?” the mother excitedly asks Emily, to which the daughter simply raises her right index finger. Debbie then asks for a smile, which Emily quickly delivers.
In the video, Emily scarcely resembles the fully disabled young woman who returned to her home on Woodstock’s Rising Drive in June 2013, after more than four months in the hospital. Her face has more color and isn’t as stiff. Her neck seems looser and without the tense posture it held last June.
While Debbie is excited by the “awesome” improvement, she’s realistic Emily has a long way to go to return to the active person she once was, and she still needs help when using her newfound skills.
Debbie says Emily answers questions, but doesn’t initiate conversation. Her voice is different, and her parents have trouble understanding all her words.
Sometimes, Debbie says, “I really feel like she’s with it, but she’s not real with it.”
“She’s very confused, but yet she knows people,” she added.
“All her friends, she seems to know everybody. It’s just weird how some things are kind of there, some things aren’t there.”
When speaking, Emily also raises her voice occasion-ally, seemingly out of frustration. But Debbie says she can’t blame her.
“Bless her heart; she probably wants to say so much right now,” she said.
But even with the difficulties and halting progress, Debbie is hopeful for what triumphs, big and small, might lie ahead.
“Now, it’s kind of getting down to let’s see what we got here,” the mother said. “We still don’t really know.”