A 41-year-old Port Alice man found in a ditch off a remote logging road, pinned for days under an all-terrain vehicle, remains unconscious as his mother holds vigil at his bedside.
“He’s my only boy — I can’t let him go,” said Marilyn Horsley of Veteran, Alta., speaking from her son’s bedside at Victoria General Hospital. “But I’m willing to let him go if God decides he’s had too many injuries.”
Andrew Horsley, a father of three, was found on Oct. 22 in the bush near Port Alice by a man out for a drive with his daughter.
“He found Andy rolled down in the ditch with the ATV on top of him, but he thought he was gone — dead,” Horsley said.
The man returned to Port Alice to report a bloodied body to the RCMP, and a search and rescue team was sent out. “The best we can figure is he was out there seven days at least,” she said.
A week earlier, Andrew was scheduled to meet a friend in the area, but the friend got lost and left, thinking the road was too remote, said Horsley.
No one reported Andrew missing. His three children — ages 10, 14 and 17 — live with their mother in Port Hardy.
Discovered unconscious but breathing, Andrew was airlifted to Victoria General Hospital. He was put on life support and placed for a time in a medically induced coma.
Still, there have been “blessings among all the bad stuff” and daily improvement beyond all expectations, Horsley said.
“The doctor said he’s never seen a case this bad and have them recover. He was on kidney dialysis and life support. His heart was in jeopardy. He had blood clots and dead skin cells leeching potassium into his bloodstream.”
His left leg was amputated at the knee.
Doctors recently found a blood clot in his lungs and performed emergency surgery.
His mother said the doctors are amazed at her son’s progress. “They can’t believe he’s recovered from what he started with. We told them Andrew is a fighter and if he wants to live, that’s what he’ll do.
“The specialist who operated on him yesterday said: ‘This kid has got fight in him. He wants to live, so let’s save him.’ ”
A friend drove Horsley, 67, to B.C. Her husband, 70, is on his way and is expected to be here on Friday.
The couple, now pensioners, lived in Nanaimo and then Port Alice during Andrew’s elementary and high school years before returning to Alberta, where Andrew and his wife had three children together.
When the couple separated, she moved back to Port Hardy and he moved back to Port Alice.
Andrew, who did construction work, has never found full-time employment since moving to Port Alice about three years ago, said his mother.
“He’s always been a poor boy. What else is there to do in a small town like Port Alice? Everybody’s either got cancer or in the hospital or they’re old or they’re young and there’s nothing to do there except party.”
Horsley said friends from Alberta and Vancouver Island have prayed with her by her son’s bedside. She has borrowed money from family and received “little donations” to make the trip and stay in a hotel.
“People are reaching out to us from all over and from when he went to school in Nanaimo, even.”
She described her son as an easygoing person who is easily led astray. “He has a kind heart.” He doesn’t have a vehicle or a licence, she said, which is why he uses the ATV.
At his bedside, Horsley prays often for her son. “I’m just trusting God. I know he wouldn’t have brought him this far and saved his life if he was just going to let him go now. So I’m just believing.”
Andrew’s children have talked to him by phone, in hopes that he’ll recognize their voices. He has yet to wake up, but he has some eye movement, she said.
Horsley also talks to him, reminiscing about his childhood, and she sings You Are My Sunshine to him, as she did when he was a boy: “You’ll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”