CANTON, Maine — Grace Judd’s grandson remembers holding her hand, kneeling beside her hospital bed and telling her if she had anything left in her to fight for her life.
It was the fifth or sixth time she had been taken off a ventilator, James Cloutier Jr., 20, of Dixfield said. The family had been told to say their goodbyes to the 72-year-old Livermore Falls woman.
Judd suffered life-threatening injuries May 26 when she was hit from behind by a car while collecting bottles in a ditch, well off Route 17, not far from her home in Livermore Falls.
Judd’s daughter Sue Cloutier of Dixfield, James’ mother, was in the chapel at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston praying.
“I asked God if this was the way he was going to take my mother, please take her quick so she didn’t suffer any more,” she said. “We really thought we were going to lose her.”
Her mother was taken off the respirator again and Cloutier heard her say in a raspy voice, “I love you.” As she recounted those words, Cloutier’s eyes welled up.
“It has been a struggle still today,” she said. “There have been complications.”
Pneumonia and fluid in her bad lung are among them.
Judd has had extensive therapy, which continues at Victorian Villa Rehabilitation & Living Center in Canton. It is her new home. She is a fall risk and won’t be able to go home, Cloutier said.
Judd’s injuries included a broken back and ribs, a collapsed lung and stretched ligaments in her neck. She still wears a neck brace. Her back had rods and plates put in it, her daughter said.
Judd’s son Henry, 43, of Livermore Falls had been with her that day near the Moose Hill Pond reservoir and also was hit by a car whose driver, Cloutier said she was told, had a medical incident, which caused the car to go off the road.
Henry Judd’s injuries included a fractured neck, broken ribs and a compound fracture to his right leg. He is home and doing much better, his sister said.
Grace Judd said she is scared to walk on the road, scared she will take a spill. She uses a walker to get around.
James Cloutier said his grandmother took it upon herself to get out of a wheelchair and to use the walker. She walks the halls of Victorian Villa at a good pace now instead of the 6 to 7 miles she used to walk daily.
“It has been stressful for me to get going,” Judd said. “I am lucky to be alive. The day it happened they didn’t think I was going to make it.”
“It is a miracle from God,” her daughter said. “Our faith got us through it. We had nothing left but to pray. Mama’s faith is strong.”
Those prayers and many others are why Judd’s family believes she was able to pull through. They also credit emergency responders, CMMC and Villa staff for keeping her alive and moving forward, Cloutier said.
“There is no way we can thank everybody for their prayers and support,” she said.
Judd’s strong will is also a major factor.
“I was determined not to give up all my independence,” Judd said. “I like depending on myself.”
But now she has to depend on others to help with certain things, she said.
“My mother is an artist,” Cloutier said. She is able to continue with her drawings.
Through all the pain and suffering, Judd has kept trying to achieve at least part of what she was able to do before.
“I’m doing excellent,” Judd said, though admitting she has her days.