Published on July 11, 2022

Home Runs For Life: Casey Wages

When Lisa Wages arrived at the Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street, Emergency Department, she was immediately rushed back to see her husband, Casey Wages, who was severely injured in a workplace accident.

 "They started rattling off his injuries…he's got internal bleeding; he's got a brain injury. I am pretty sure it was my son who caught me, but I felt myself fall down as I took it all in," Lisa said.

 "I just laid my head on his chest and asked him not to go anywhere and to hang in there," Lisa said choking back some tears.

 A moment later, Casey was airlifted to Iowa City, and so began his year-long road to recovery.

 The Moline resident has been digging and clawing his way back to health since the accident on June 18, 2021. He suffered multiple skull fractures, brain bleeding, and frontal lobe brain damage. The 54-year-old husband, father, and grandfather has also endured six surgeries to repair the multiple fractures to his left leg and ankle.

Casey was nominated for Genesis Home Runs for Life by Lori Dryg, a Genesis LIFT program speech therapist. LIFT (Learning Independence For Tomorrow) is a comprehensive rehabilitation program for patients with brain injuries.

 "The best thing about Casey is that he is a fighter. We gave him the tools and the strategies to improve, and he did it. One day at a time, he just kept getting better," Dryg said.

 "When Casey first came to Genesis, he was in a very different place. He was very foggy, very not Casey. I never expected to work again. I thought I would have to stay home and care for him. I certainly didn't expect him to drive again," Lisa said.

 After 10 months of both mental and physical rehabilitation with the Genesis team, Casey can drive himself from Moline to Bettendorf for his regular therapy appointments. Lisa is back to work.

 "When I first got here, I was struggling. I couldn't focus or complete tasks. It really frightened me," Casey said. "But the reason why I like this place so much is that they never gave up, and they never got mad. They never got frustrated with me. They just kept at it. Every time I was here, they just kept at it and kept pounding it into my brain. I wouldn't be where I am without the Genesis LIFT program.

He added, "I couldn't be more grateful to everyone here at the Genesis Physical Therapy and Wellness in Bettendorf."

One of the things that kept Casey going throughout his recovery was the goal of attending his daughter Tori’s wedding in May 2022.

"I told my doctors and therapists I don't care what you need to do, but I have to walk my daughter down the aisle and do the daddy-daughter dance. Being able to do that meant the world to me," beamed Casey.

Casey and Lisa sat in the LIFT Program classroom, holding hands for 45-minutes while they slowly relived their family's journey. "It's been a real team effort," Casey said with a smile.

"It was very scary at times, and I did a lot of research into brain injuries. Plus, we weren't sure he was going to keep his leg," said Lisa. "He battled with various infections. But the little things keep you going, like when he could stand up and hug me for the first time since the accident. He hadn't done it in eight months. So that felt good.

"From where he was to now, it's like I have my husband back. I missed him," Lisa said.

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