HORACE, ND (Valley News Live) — Life is far different than Eric O’Meara ever imagined.
“I will never be 100% again. It’s one day at a time, which I’m not used to doing,” O’Meara said.
66 days after crashing hard into the sidewalk of I-29, O’Meara’s road to recovery is far from over. O’Meara was thrown from his motorcycle on July 19 on I-29 by an erratic driver who officials said was traveling nearly 100 mph. After the hit-and-run, the driver, later identified by authorities as 28-year-old Maichael Yousa, committed a 30-minute spree of crimes across Fargo before having two more crashes and shooting a soldier. State of North Dakota.
The accident left O’Meara with a few broken ribs, a severe rash, and a traumatic brain injury that left O’Meara unable to work or drive. It is unclear how long these restrictions will be in place. O’Meara says he has a follow-up appointment with doctors in late November.
” It is very frustrating. Every day is so different,” he said. “I no longer have the physical strength. It hurts to lift things. It’s better, but I have no stamina at all.
For someone who used to go, go, go, the extreme fatigue, brain fog, mood swings and sometimes slowed speech and mobility caused by his brain injury cause O’Meara to sometimes feels defeated. One thing O’Meara credits for accelerating the hardest parts of his recovery is his time at Swanson’s Hyperbarics. Studies show that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can dramatically and permanently improve symptoms of chronic TBI months or even years after the original head injury.
“I like to think I’m getting back to normal, but I see every day that’s not the case,” O’Meara said.
Rather than being bogged down by all the setbacks, O’Meara says he chooses to see the positives. One such bright spot is the woman who stood by his side throughout his recovery; Heather Brouillet, his longtime girlfriend of almost a decade.
“I remember watching Heather (in the hospital) and there was this moment where I was like, ‘Now I’m going to propose to her,'” O’Meara smiled.
And on Saturday, the couple will make it official in their backyard in Horace.
“The one thing I’ve told people is if you love someone, if you care about them, just tell them. You might not have tomorrow. I almost haven’t had another day to tell Heather I love her, but now I love her,” O’Meara said.
O’Meara says their nuptials will not just be a celebration of love, but of the life he fought so desperately to keep living.
O’Meara and Brouillet add that they wish to thank the community for their financial and spiritual support in the days and weeks following the accident.
Copyright 2022 KVLY. All rights reserved.