SOUTH BEND, Ind. — “Most importantly we are on day 120, today, day 120 in the hospital since the accident on June 6, says Jodie Dittman, mother of Keller.
120 days, that is 2,880 hours, that Jodie Dittman has sat next to her son, Keller, at the IU Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
“He was actually just enjoying the day on the way to the beach with his friends, he was going to pick up a couple friends, and go to the beach,” says Dittman. “He just graduated high school that is what he should have been doing.”
On Sunday, June 6, at 12:07 in the afternoon, life for Keller Dittman and his family changed. That day, Keller was in a car accident in Elkhart County resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Doctors told Jodie his chance of survival was low to none.
But Keller is a fighter.
“Along the way, his first list of injuries, I mean we had multiple broken bones, a lacerated liver, lung problems, all kinds of different biological problems in addition to the brain injury,” says Dittman.
Jodie explains Keller is now minimally conscious, meaning a stage of a coma where there is some activity, but he is nonverbal and minimally responsive.
“It is so hard because the trajectory,” says Dittman. “It is not like any other illness where you can say ok you have the flu 7- 10 days, or whatever illness you do this then we do this and you’ll be better by fill in the blank. It is nothing like that. We have no idea how slow or fast he will progress through the stages.”
Because of hospital restrictions, Keller has only been allowed a few visitors. His younger sister, Alanna, being able to see him on occasion.
“But in the hospital, it is very difficult, I think it is most difficult for the children, like my 8-year-old daughter,” says Dittman. “We had to really beg and plea for her to get a couple minutes to see her brother. She has only seen him twice in 4 months.”
So now, Keller and his mom are fighting to go home. The Facebook group ‘Keller Strong’ was first created as a way to communicate with Keller’s friends and family. The page consists of nearly 1,000 people in the community and serves as a source of prayers, and hope. People all uniting to work to bring Keller home.
For Jodie, she prays that once again she can hold her two children together under the same roof.
“Getting my family back, being with my children again, and I think about that day, I try not to think about far it is, I just know we are going to get there, and I pray a lot,” says Dittman. “I pray a lot. Sometimes all day, for that peace, for that comfort that can only come from God, that it is going to be okay no matter what happens it is going to be okay. I really look forward to going home.”
Support Keller Strong through their Facebook page here.