A father of seven who suffered a massive brain aneurysm at the age of 37 has defied his prognosis and gone home after four months in intensive care. He is now crediting faith, family, and his doctors for saving his life.
Doting dad Angel Apreciado of San Antonio, Texas, now doesn’t want to miss a beat.
“He should have been brain dead and ‘just a vegetable,’ is what I was told,” Angel’s wife of two decades, 38-year-old Maria Apreciado, told The Epoch Times via email. “There is a God, and he is not deaf. Always keep your faith.”
Angel discovered he had high blood pressure when he visited the dentist in October 2020 for a root canal. He had a painful, swollen jaw that went down to his neck. He was sent home with antibiotics and blood pressure medicine. As the swelling went down, he didn’t return.
In early April 2021, the problem resurfaced, and Angel had a repeat experience at the dentist’s office. Yet on April 20, the night of his son Jonah’s baseball game, he complained of a massive headache and wasn’t able to sleep.
“At about 4 a.m. I told him, ‘Go take a shower,'” said Maria. “It didn’t help, so at 8 a.m. I took him to the ER.”
“I only remember the day of the baseball game and having blackouts while I was driving,” Angel recalled. “Maria tells me that I walked into the ER, was able to talk to the nurse, and was aware of the brain aneurysm and said, ‘Okay I got this,’ but I don’t remember.”
With his blood pressure reading 230 systolic and him showing signs of a stroke, Angel was rushed into a series of tests. Maria called her father-in-law, a pastor at a Pentecostal church, and asked him to come to the hospital to pray.
She echoed her husband’s words: “We got this.” However, after going home that night, little did she know how different the next day would be.
Angel “was able to sit up, with assistance, and all his words that came out of his mouth were just slurs,” she said. “Doctors gave me three days to decide what I wanted to do with him.”
Asked to choose between hospice care, a ventilator, and a tracheotomy, Maria talked to her kids. “We went with option three,” she said, “knowing that he could pass away at any time.”
Angel had suffered a series of strokes. He remained in the surgical intensive care unit at San Antonio’s Metropolitan Methodist Hospital until June 4, transferring to two different facilities over the course of the next 10 weeks. Words and prayers from daily visitors, said Maria, helped her and her kids cope as they discussed the battle ahead.
“We would sit outside his window and talk about who was going to change his diapers, brush his teeth, comb his hair, and basically take care of his personal hygiene,” she recalled. “I would tell my kids that I needed to be left alone, and would take long drives just to cry.
“Doctors would come in and tell me that no progress was being made,” she went on. “I would see him open his eyes very little, and close them, but to doctors, that was just reflexes, it wasn’t his brain.”
Then one day, as Maria was on the verge of giving up, she confided in her husband that she missed holding his hand. As the words left her mouth, Angel squeezed her hand. Trying again, she felt him squeeze once more.
“From that moment, I held on too, and knew that a miracle was going to happen,” she said.
Angel remembers this moment. “I didn’t want her to give up on me, because I was still alive, just not able to move or speak,” he said. “But I could hear everything.”
Angel was discharged on Aug. 20, and Maria shared a video of her husband’s incredible, emotional journey on Facebook.
As Angel’s condition slowly improved, a helping hand reached out. Laura Ruiz and Joe Sanchez of Jr. Voks, a football and cheerleading alliance for whom all seven of the Apreciados’ kids have played, called Maria and told her they wanted to hold a raffle to help with mounting medical bills.
She protested, but the pair wouldn’t take no for an answer. They raised close to $10,000.
Despite wanting nothing in return, Laura and Joe were recognized by Fox 29’s “Cash for Kindness” initiative and promptly gifted their $500 cash prize back to the little league for helmets and uniforms.
Office manager Maria, and Angel, a former production manager at a water restoration company, live with four of their seven kids: Alexis, Malachi, Angel Jr., Jonah, Genesis, Addie, and Chris. The eldest is 23 and the youngest is 9.
Angel, who is now able to walk and talk, feels his life is coming back together and is filled with gratitude, marveling, “God sent an army to back me up and fight for me. Miracles do happen, and I’m a living testimony.”
Reflecting back on the hard journey, Maria said: “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, because not everyone is strong enough to receive what was coming to my family. I’m blessed and just forever grateful to God, and I believe that someone reading this will get touched by God and start believing in Him.”
(Courtesy of Maria Apreciado)