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‘Hi, Mom!’ Ellsworth out of coma

By Staff | Jan 23, 2009

Mason Ellsworth

Last Wednesday, Sylvia Ellsworth was headed out the door to visit the Robert Mondavi vineyard in California when she got one of the most important telephone calls of her life.

On the other end, the familiar voice of the “great big wonderfully obnoxious nurse Brian” at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, said, “Okay, Mason, say hello to your mom.”

A brief silence.

Then an airy whisper: “Hi, Mom.”

“I just burst into tears,” says Ellsworth. “I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ He formed the words, and pushed the air out of his mouth.”

Mason continues to recover from his devastating collision with a commercial truck on Country Club Road last July. For months, he lay in a coma, communicating through eye contact, and hand movements. Last Wednesday’s “Hi mom” marked a major milestone – the first words he’s spoken in nearly six months.

And this week, on Monday, he spoke again, this time to his father Brian Ellsworth.

“He gave his dad a ‘Hey’ this morning,” Sylvia Ellsworth said during a brief telephone interview from Philadelphia.

A dedicated team of nurses the Ellsworth family calls “The Superstars” is helping Mason recover.

“He has nothing hooked up to this body, except a feeding tube,” Ellsworth said. “He’s out of the coma. He’s past minimally conscious. He’s past vegetative. What they’re saying is he’s a healthy young man in recovery.”

Ellsworth was “taking a breather” in the Napa Valley after months of remaining at Mason’s bedside – with brief trips back to Shepherdstown to help keep the family’s catering and music store businesses afloat – when she got the call with Mason’s first words since the accident.

The next day, she was on a flight back East. “I couldn’t get back fast enough,” she said.

For now, the Ellsworths are celebrating a small victory on their son’s hard road to recovery.

“We know it’s serious, but we don’t know how serious,” Ellsworth said of Mason’s condition. “They told us in the beginning it was baby steps. And they weren’t kidding.”

Since the accident, the Shepherdstown community has banded together to help the Ellsworth family. Numerous benefit concerts have been held. And business throughout the area continue taking collections at their sales counters through the Mason Jar project.

– To make donations to help the Ellsworth family’s medical expenses, checks may be sent to: The Ellsworth Family Fund, c/o Kim Ellsworth, 3201 Ramsland Way, Frederick, Md. 21704. To learn about Mason Ellsworth’s recovery progress visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/masonicyouth